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View Poll Results: What is the best BES Monitoring tool?
NeedTEXT 6 17.14%
BoxTone 6 17.14%
GSX 1 2.86%
NetiQ 0 0%
ServersAlive 1 2.86%
MobileAnalyzer 0 0%
B*Nator 14 40.00%
The BES itself has sufficient monitoring 7 20.00%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-23-2006, 02:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do you use a BES Monitoring tool? What's your favorite?

Our company is looking into purchasing a monitoring tool and wanted to get some feedback from fellow BES users.
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Old 05-24-2006, 10:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I find the best BES monitoring tool is for the company to give me a blackberry for my use. I know when I stop getting mails (problem with BES, corp mail, or internet connection) to attachments stop working (attachment conversion service not running) I know about it pretty quickly since I have my own device. I'm usually able to notice it within a couple hours and provide the corrective action.

In the past users would just assume I know about the problem (either do to monitoring tools or just assuming someone else already reported the problem) so i might not find out for a couple days. Mostly stemming from the fact I'd either not be monitoring the server (bad Aroc!! for not doing his job) or fact that we didn't get the OK to spend money on tools to monitor it and just put up with downed service when it happens. Usually only a few users use PDAs or BlackBerrys.

Although the audience does tend to be higher profile people. It all comes down to costs / benefits. I let them know what it is they can buy, how much each level of service costs, inform/educate what the tradeoffs/benefits are, and ultimately let the choose the level of service, (get it in email/writing), and make sure the purchase orders are signed and faxed.

There's a happy medium somewhere. We're an 11-user BlackBerry deployment and a 10-user mNotes (Palm and Windows Mobile) deployment on a 250-user Lotus Notes/Domino environment. So what I have wouldn't scale to a larger environment. but for us, it is fine. I find having my own, live blackberry on the BES be the best monitoring tool. I catch the major outages. Individual problems are either related to me directly via call to my blackberry or relayed thru their secretary to me. Not the best yardstick. But it works.
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Old 05-24-2006, 10:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So what happens when your BES monitoring software goes wrong!!!! The best tool for monitoring the BES is the BlackBerry and the emails it receives. Several of my servers run reports overnight, so if I get up at 7am in the morning and I don't have those emails on my device, I know there's a problem with my mail server or my BES. What more could you need!
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am sure everybody that participates in these forums has a good idea about what monitoring and I just wanted to add my 2 cents to the discussion.

To me any monitoring solution should timely alert me when there is a problem with the hnadheld or the infrastructure and if it can,resolve the problem or atleast recommend a solution to the problem.

Though this may seem simple, there are many variables that are contextual.
Timely can mean ( as some of you have pointed out) whenever an outage happens or within 2 hours after an outage or to some mission critical systems it could mean an early warning as the system starts to degrade.
Alert could mean visual display, email, sms, pin, snmp,opena trouble ticket or other notification or in some cases an inference made due to a non-occurrence.
Infrastructure could mean just handheld, BES or the entire messaging infratructure.
Problem can mean outage, or degradation of services or non-compliance of an SLA.
Resolution could mean repairing or restarting the service or failover.
(Monitoring solutions also help in capacity planning and other maintenance aspects, but that is another day)

Hence monitoring needs are contextual.

The need for monitoring software is based on many factors

1. The number of blackberry users.
2. How mission crictical is the blackberry usage
3. The resources allocated to manage the blackberry environment.
4. The expertise available in house

More the number of users, the bigger the infrastructure needed and more likely problems occur and more resources are needed to manage your infrastructure and handle issues.
If blackberry usage is mission critical, then one needs a quicker turnaround time to fix the problem or an early warning to take care of the symptom before it escalates. Failover systems need to be in place so that service is not interrupted.
If enough resources in terms of (hu)man power and/or time and people with the right skills, then one could do without a thirdparty solution by using those resources to handle day to day administration needs as well as building and supporting inhouse monitoring tools. Good inhouse solutions were presented at WES 2006. These solutions developed over years seemed to satisfy their needs. They had the time, resources and expertise to do their job. This is a typical make v/s buy decision that a company has to make base on whether they have adequate resources to manage their blackberry environment.
A third party monitoring solution that fits your needs helps take care of the mundane tasks and helps provide better quality of service with fewer resources.
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very good point dineshhbhat.

We have only one BES with around 100 devices. I'm the only person in house that knows anything about it, but I only touched a Blackberry for the first time 9 months ago. Pretty much I've had to teach myself and there is a lot of trial and error involved.

In everyone's opinion, would a third party monitoring tool be helpful in my situation to quickly pinpoint problems and suggest solutions or should I seek more training on the BES itself and do my own monitoring?

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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For only one BES, if you have a BB on it, I don't think it would be worth investing in a 3rd party monitoring solution. As mentioned above, you can test things on the fly with your own device. BesAlert is built in to the BES and that will monitor SRP connection and services for you as well. When you get to multiple BES servers with multiple exchange servers and hundreds of BBs, a monitoring solution becomes more viable. That being said, they all pretty much do the same thing. I've looked at NeedText and Boxtone and both are good. The main issue for me cost. Most of the solutions are pretty expensive, in my opinion, for what you get.
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It all depends on the current resources available and the future resources needed to support the growing adoption of blackberry in your company.
Typically in an environment like yours, I would assume that the BES Admin is also the Exchange (Domino?) admin. The BES Admin is solely responsible for all blackberry related tasks, including activation. Also he/she is responsible for all help desk calls regarding blackberry and exchange issues. If the blackberry adoption is growing at a rapid rate, more resources are needed to support activation and upgrade of the infrastructure , leaving very little time to debug and resolve issues.
In some cases, blackberry is so critical to the top executives that you want to resolve the problem way before they call you.
A monitoring solution that reports on outages and system degradation will allow you to focus on other high priority tasks.
Hence a monitoring solution will always help. Also if the solution grows with your growing needs even better. Of course all of this depends on the budget allocated. Typically a monitoring solution should always cost less than a human resource (in the long run). If your situation matches what I have described then you should evaluate using a monitoring solution.

Now for the plug,
Obviously I have a special interest in this as I am one of the architects at BoxTone. You could evalutate our product and see if it fits your needs.

Thanks
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