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Old 09-07-2007, 10:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My company is currently running one active 4.1.2 BES using an external SQL server for configuration DB. We have another server that exactly mirrors the first, including SRP, with all services disabled as a DR box (if primary fails, we'd manually start all services on the 2nd one). We have about 1500 users on the server, and are looking at adding about 300 more in the near future, possibly over 1000 over the next year, so we are planning to add at least one more BES.

First off, I've seen a number of posts from users running BES on VMWare ESX that say its great, but how many users do you have? We're considering a VMWare instance for the addtional server (or possibly make the standby server a VM machine and repurpose that physical server as another BES) and I'm trying to figure out how many users to plan per box, realistically.

Also, how many BES servers can share a SQL configuration DB (or is there no limit)?

I have heard from RIM that the suggested limit of # of users per server is 2000, but we are seeing performance hits already with 1500. Additionally, the last time I rebooted it, it took over 4 hours to scan all handhelds. For those with multiple BES, how many users do you have per server?

And finally, how are others setup as far as DR and have you ever had to use it? Since we've grown so big lately, I'm starting to wonder if our setup would be adequete in the event of disaster and haven't been able to test it to see.

Thanks for reading the long winded post--any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You did not mention what platform you are running (Exchange, Domino, Groupwise).

We run 1 of your BES in VMware ESX but only supporting less then 10 users. This server is mainly for trial runs of Service Pack before applying the SP to our main server.

I would not run BES for Domino in VM due to too much disk activity. BES for Domino has a db for every BlackBerry users. For every message sent to the handheld information is written to the db.

For DR, we use Neverfail to mirror our BES and manage failovers.
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Old 09-07-2007, 11:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My bad--knew I was forgetting something.

We use Exchange 2003 SP2.
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Old 09-07-2007, 11:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry this post doesn't answer you question - but I have to ask, how do you do that many users per server, I thought there was a 400 user MAPI limit per server?
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you have the resources to throw at it, by all means, I think it's a great idea. But in an overtaxed ESX environment with limited resources, it's not really all that good of an idea. With the number of users on your BES right now, then I'd likely lean towards the latter line of thought.
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmithcanyon View Post
Sorry this post doesn't answer you question - but I have to ask, how do you do that many users per server, I thought there was a 400 user MAPI limit per server?
Never heard of the 400 user MAPI limit--are you referring to a limit per BlackBerry Agent? I've been told by RIM support that 2000 per server is their recommeded maximum, and seems like a lot of posts here say 500 is the limit.
As we've increased, we have seen an increase in the number of blocked worker thread issues, and as I mentioned, it takes for freaking ever for all handhelds to be scanned after a reboot, but otherwise its been running alright.

Our company is trying to make a big push for using VMWare, and many of the apps running on it in our environment seem to be fine. I'm just nervous because I see how resource intensive our physical server can be at times.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We generally don't recommend adding more than 1000-1200 users on a given server; here's why:

1) Mailbox sizes always grow; so any benchmark you take will be out of date soon enough
2) More and more messages have attachments; and people want to view them
3) MDS is being utilized a lot and with lots of companies restricting usage to the MDS Browser its even more load on the BES
4) Your Exchange mailbox servers may have more than just Exchange on them; such as A/V scanner, Spam filters, Archiving, Agents ... each of these things adds more overhead for Exchange which hits BES harder.
5) If one of your BES dies, you have enough theoretical capacity to move the rest of the users over if you can't get a server up and running quickly

With all that said, if you're ESX servers are 8-way multi-core processors with 64gig of ram attached to ridiculously fast arrays, then you should seriously consider virtualization for at least the following:

1) RIM Supports it
2) If you have to fail over, failing over a VM _can_ be cake compared to failing over hardware

You certainly don't need that much HW for a VM either; but just giving an example of what some places are doing ... virtual EVERYTHING.
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