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Old 03-09-2006, 07:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Multiple BES - Multiple Exchange over WAN

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We just setup a second Exchange2003 server at a remote site over a WAN with latency around 150-200ms from our main office. We are about to setup a second BES 4.03 server (same LAN as 2nd ExchangeSvr) and are weighing pros and cons of different BES setup configurations.

Independent BES install vs Multi-BES install

1) With BES v4.03, will latency directly affect performance if using the same BESAdmin account for the MAPI profile? (Isn't MAPI now used just for opening other mailboxes?)
2) How will performance affect the 2nd BES when connecting to a central SQL config DB over a WAN?
3) Does the remote BES server become functionally dead if the WAN link experiences an outage?

For BESMgmt, re-using the same BESAdmin account and single SQLDB would be the most ideal, but if poor performance is expected, then an independent install might be best.

Anyone have suggestions or experience on which option might be best?
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If I am not mistaken, slow latency is bad for BES servers. I dont know the specifics, but I know that the information has been posted previously. Try searching for it.
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Old 03-13-2006, 02:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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how many users will you have?
I run a server with abou 210 users. About 160 at headquarters and 50 around the world.. we have multiple exchange servers operating in multiple countries with 1 BES at headquarters all connected by a strong MPLS network. We get up to 180ms delay which RIM does not like, but things run well. Unless you have a large number of users or a poor WAN I do not see the need for the 2nd server at all.

So far the only issue I have seen is if a remote exchange server has issues or there is a WAN issue. It causes high mem usage on the BES (double normal usage). According to RIM it is related to timing out threads. The fix? reboot the BES. Not the best solution, but it happens very very very infrequently.
Keep in mind everything continues to operate fine even with the high mem usage. (We have enough memory to cover it anyway)

Hope this helps and i would be happy to hear feedback if anyone else is running this config and what their experience is.
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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As per the recommendations by RIM.....the latency between the BES and Mail servers should be <35ms, and the BES and Mail servers should be on the same LAN. If you expect to have a large # of users at respective locations (remote sites), then it may be preferable to have a local BES to facilitate those users.
The BESAdmin service account is used to monitor the users mailboxes for new updates and also the BlackBerry Messaging Agent (see MAGT logs) is used to provide email, calendar, address lookup, attachment, and wireless encryption key generation services.
As for the config db, it's ideal if the SQL db is central to all the BES in the environment. That way if one BES goes down, then users can be "moved" over to another BES without incident (seamless/transparent to the users).
If the SQL db goes down, it only affects moves, add or changes as far as new users or existing users are concerned. That is, you'll not be able to add/modify a user, create/modify IT policies, or any other administrative tasks on the BES. If you should restart the BES during this situation, it'll not start the Dispatcher service and all users will be negatively affected.
If the WAN link goes down, then monitoring of the users by the BESAdmin service account will be stopped. The only messages that they'll receive are those in the "pending queue" and those already sent to the wireless network (described as "sent" in the logs). PIN-to-PIN will work...useful in emergency cases, but not practical in business-related cases.
The latency described above affects mail redirection....this translates into mail delivery delays. It all depends on how tolerant your users are with respect to mail delivery on the devices. A good test is to send mail (from any fat client) to a user's device with the <config> option in the subject line and see what the return (round-trip) timestamp indicates. This would give you an indication of the time it takes for a user to receive a message(s) on average.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like the "shared" ConfigDB won't be a major issue for email delivery if the WAN link goes down briefly between sites, but instead sharing the BESAdmin service MAPI account will.

If we setup a different BESAdmin service MAPI account with a local mailbox on the remote exchange server (while still using the same shared ConfigDB), then will the remote BES performance be optimal outside of BB users "mgmt-type" changes even with WAN hiccups?

We only have a very small number of BB users on the remote exchange server currently (only 5), but that number will grow to up to 20 as we migrate more exchange mailboxes to the remote exchange.

Overall, I think we might just be trying to figure out how to eliminate the high bandwidth(and/or latency dependent) communication requirements of the BES while keeping a single BES mgmt domain.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We have 60 users on one BES that speaks to 3 Exchange servers, 1 on the LAN, 1 @ 85ms and 1 @ 170-200 ms. (MPLS) Have been stable for the last 2 years.
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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After re-reading your original post....I don't think you've much of a problem since you're already prepared to setup a 2nd BES server - if I read it right. The question I believe you were asking is whether latency issues will affect the 2nd BES with respect to a central SQL db. The simple answer is no, since the central db does not involve message flow but is related to master keys and encryption key verification between the device and the Blackberry Infrastructure - at the point of mail redirection. It is however involved in the administration of the users and BES server (adds, moves, deletes, IT policies, EA....etc)....you get the picture.
The major issue (or more noticeable effect) of latency, tends to be between the BES and the Exchange server if they are remote to each other. Simply because of the MAPI calls over the WAN to the user mailboxes. The polling interval of the BES server also affects the latency issue. The default is 20secs I believe. As the number of BB users increase on the remote Exchange server (also if their mailbox size is significant, also PIM data), the time taken to scan increases as well. The savvy users will recognize the issue - mail arrives in Inbox several minutes before mail appears on device.
As for the question of setting up a 2nd BESAdmin account with a local mailbox on the remote Exchange server - this might be a good idea from a DR perspective. Problem here is that this account must have the same permissons as the original service account. What this translates to is the probability that both service accounts may poll the same user mailbox simultaneously...since you're using the same config db. I don't believe the single config db is architected to allow this dynamic interaction.
One last thing...yeah I know I'm long-winded...don't think of the BESAdmin account as being "shared"- it's local to each BES server - but central to the single config db which eases administration.
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