Plugging the BlackBerry Support Gap

If you've felt that wireless email-device use in your company is expanding faster than IT can keep up with it, you're probably right. In a November 2006 study, the Radicati Group predicted that the market for "push" email devices and services will grow by an average of 103 percent a year between 2006 and 2010. What started as a minor IT annoyance—managing a relative few corporate wireless devices, typically used by executives and senior-level managers—will soon mushroom into an out-of-control, full-scale headache if IT resources aren't equipped to deal with the email-device "surge."


has jumped in to fill what it perceives as the wireless–email-device support vacuum by adding support for Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to its flagship Zenprise Microsoft Exchange troubleshooting product. "Exchange administrators are also becoming full-time BlackBerry administrators. IT is being asked to increase the number of BlackBerry users but isn't being given an incremental headcount so they can maintain SLAs," said Ahmed Datoo, Zenprise's vice president of marketing.

"From a performance and availability standpoint, the interaction between the BlackBerry server and Exchange is the biggest source of \[troubleshooting\] problems," Datoo said. Like the Zenprise Exchange troubleshooting product, the Zenprise for BlackBerry module scopes the entire infrastructure—including Exchange and BES as well as other components, such as Active Directory (AD), DNS, and Microsoft IIS—identifies potential problems in real time, and recommends solutions. Administrators can look at 35 performance counters to view trends in Exchange and BES server performance.

Other BES-monitoring solutions exist, such as those offered by Conceivium Business Solutions and Ancoris, but Zenprise does more than just monitoring, said Datoo. "Our competitors monitor the BlackBerry infrastructure, but they don't tell you why something broke or how to fix it or help to automate management of it." The Zenprise BES module offers businesses a more palatable alternative for coping with increasing mobile email usage than adding more IT staff or simply gearing up to handle larger numbers of user complaints.

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