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My company has requested me to come up with a disaster recovery plan for our ... Server Admins forum

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    dmagee1111's Avatar
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    Disaster Recovery Plan for BES

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    My company has requested me to come up with a disaster recovery plan for our BES. They would like, in the event of a disaster (we are located in Florida so they are thinking of a potential hurricane) to be able to ensure all the users that their blackberrys will still work if the main server goes down. This would involve some sort of simultaneous, off-site server to take over if the primary server is no longer working. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks for your help.

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    Wow good topic. Will watch this one close.....

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    dmagee1111,

    Hope all is well. Planning a disaster recovery plan is always a good idea. Here's my thoughts... = )

    If I recall correctly, the registration key that's entered in your BES server can be used once. If you have another BES server onsite and you enter that same key, it will cut off all access to your BB users. This is for security purposes, because the provider doesn't want any one to reuse this key on a second server. So one key for one server only.

    What I would do is find out from your BB provider, (cingular / t-mobile or whoever), ask them for a backup registration key for an offsite server for your disaster recovery plan. I'm sure your provider rep. can give you a temporary key for you to use.

    Does this make sense? Hope this helps. = )

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    Sounds like a good plan...just makes you wonder if our carriers have such a plan in place? Why not give them a holla on that issue as well...may just save you some research time!

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    I work in south Louisiana and we have the same concerns as well for our BES. I spoke with one of the SysAdmins with a bank here and he said that they are going to use MessageOne as their offsite provider. For my company, I am looking at converting BES to a virtual server and put its image on an iSCSI SAN so I can move it (along with other vital servers) to our Houston location in case of a disaster. It's a more elaborate solution but we want to have more than just email running in case of another hurricane or other disaster.

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    One thing we have tried to ensure in our DR plan is the availability of PIN to PIN messages for essential users.

    PIN to PIN can get through even if the BES is unavailable (any non 4.1 BES sites may have to live with the loss of PIN message logging/recording in such an emergency).

    BB messages only take up a tiny amount of the network carrier's capacity, so if the network overloads or is running at reduced capacity, which often happens in times of crisis, the BB messages can still get through.

    A prime example was during the recent London Underground bombings, nobody could make voice calls but BB messages got through.

    I also seem to remeber BlackBerry had a demo "push" application on their website for disaster/emergencies - some sort of contact list application.
    Could be useful...

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    I just get all my BES customers to backup the database files nightly and keep them offsite. On firday a customer who runs 300 BB devices had a server crash, basically I restored the database file back to another spare server and installed BES again and the site was back up an running within 20 minutes (After it took me 25 minutes to get there). The database file the BES uses stores all users and licensing info so that all you need to restore a BES server.

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    RIM reccomends two types of disaster recovery plans. One is having two BES in the same BlackBerry Domain with less then 500 users on each. In this senerio you need two Licenses. Since the two BES share a common DB file is one server goes down you can move your users from one server to another with ease via the manager GUI. The other senerio is to have the DB synced with another server that is ready to run BES but is not currently running all the time. With Domino you can replicate your state DBS and SQL DB to this server on schedule. When your primary goes down you bring up the secondary. I prefer the two server senerio. Yes i understand the cost of a second license but its a much more solid "live" solution. Hope this helps. FYI i have used both and enjoyed the results from the two server plan rather then the cold spare

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    Lightbulb DR for the BES.

    Just gone through that - basically, you have 2 choices:

    1. Install a second BES in DR (use the same SRP key) and keep its services off. Create a regular backup for your database and import it into the DR DB (say nightly). In case of emergency, if your main site is down - bring up the services in the DR.
    Pros:
    a. Cheap and easy to set-up
    Cons:
    a. Manual intervention required;
    b. What do you do with the mail system?
    2. Use geo-clustering solution like XOSoft or NeverFail to replicate your databases and control the state of the services in real time.
    Pros:
    a. Works well
    b. Automatic failover
    c. Can do the same for Exchange
    Cons:
    a. May be tricky to set-up
    b. Expensive
    c. Expensive
    d. Expensive!
    Hope this helps!

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    Dirty Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmagee1111
    My company has requested me to come up with a disaster recovery plan for our BES. They would like, in the event of a disaster (we are located in Florida so they are thinking of a potential hurricane) to be able to ensure all the users that their blackberrys will still work if the main server goes down. This would involve some sort of simultaneous, off-site server to take over if the primary server is no longer working. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks for your help.
    dmagee1111,

    I just ran across this piece of information and remembered your post concerning this subject. Give it a read...it may be of value to you!!!

    Enjoy!

    Creating a Secondary Server
    For example below, I am assuming that you have a Blackberry Enterprise Server and you are running SQL Server on a different host.
    In order to create a Blackberry Enterprise Server Disaster Recovery solution, it is recommended that you have a SQL Server separated from the Blackberry Enterprise Server.
    The following step should be performed on the machine that you want to create the DR instance of your Blackberry Server. It is important for both server to have the same exchange service pack, cdo.dll files, and the same OS service pack levels. In short you will be setting up the Blackberry Server using the same information as the production environment, but with a different Windows Hostname.
    1. Install the same Blackberry Server versions as that of your production environment. When prompted, type in the name of the Blackberry Server Instance used in your production environment.
    2. When prompted, enter in the Blackberry Service Account Profile information. It should be the same account being used for the Production environment.
    3. When prompted, enter in the Database Server that will be shared between the Production and DR Blackberry Enterprise Server environment.
    4. Once the setup has been completed, you will want to apply the Blackberry Service Pack levels installed in your production environment.
    (Please note that you will not want to start service on the DR Blackberry Server during the installations, as you will disable the SRP umber. When rebooting the server between reboots, you will want to ensure your services are disabled.)

    Failing Over Blackberry Services
    In the event that you want to failover the Blackberry Server to the secondary server please do the following steps. It is very important not to start the same Blackberry Server instance on both the primary and secondary servers. Starting Blackberry Services on two different machines with the same Blackberry SRP/Name with result in the SRP number becoming disabled.
    1. Log on to the Blackberry Server machine that is serving primary BES instance.
      • Go to Control Panels/Administrator Tool/Service
      • Locate the Blackberry Server services for that BES instance.
        • BlackBerry Mobile Data Server XXX-XX (Where XXX-XX is the name of the BES instance)
        • BlackBerry Server XXX-XX (Where XXX-XX is the name of the BES instance)
      • Open up the properties for each service and set the 'Startup Type' to Disabled.
      • Next, stop both services
    2. Log on to the Blackberry Server machine that is serving secondary BES instance of the server wanting to failover.
      • Go to Control Panels/Administrator Tool/Service
      • Locate the Blackberry Server services for the BES instance.
        • BlackBerry Mobile Data Server XXX-XX (Where XXX-XX is the name of the BES instance)
        • BlackBerry Server XXX-XX (Where XXX-XX is the name of the BES instance)
      • Open up the properties for each service and set the 'Startup Type' to Automatic.
      • Next, start both services

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    garycutri's Avatar
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    The only major concern for disaster recovery is having multiple backups (daily or hourly etc) of the BES database/s. As an example I support a site with 250+ handhelds. Last week this sites server crashed, and within 35 minutes I had installed the same version of BES on another server (has to be exact same version with the exact service pack), opened up the port on the firewall and the customer was fully operational and only 1 user noticed a delay in messages. The total downtime was 48 minutes. (This server was running BES for Exchange)

    Other sites I look after have a spare BES setup on another server with all BES services and MSDE stopped. In the event of an issue on the main BES server the backup of the BES database is restore to the backup server. Then all the services on the problem server are stopped and the standby server started (this can be an issue only if both server are running at the same time with the same SRP ID).

  12. #12
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    Re: Disaster Recovery Plan for BES

    hi all,

    I want to know a general server crash plan and how I create one for me.

    Regards,

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    Re: Disaster Recovery Plan for BES

    My company Neverfail has a product that will allow you to deploy an active/passive BES cluster. Our software basically clones your existing BES onto a secondary server, which can be deployed locally or across a WAN. The secondary sever is a hot standby, and can take over automatically and transparently if the primary BES fails. Best of all, the Neverfail for BlackBerry solution is priced for the small and mid-size market.

    Here is the link to the Neverfail product page in the Blackberry Solutions Guide. This product has been deployed in hundreds of locations around the world, including the customer in this case study.

    PM me if you'd like more information.

    ps. Neverfail really isn't "expensive. expensive. expensive" as alluded to by an earlier post! Truth is, it probably costs less than your original BES/CAL licenses.
    Last edited by Neverfail; 12-04-2006 at 02:43 PM.

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    Re: Disaster Recovery Plan for BES

    My company's setup is similar. We have clusters for Exchange 2003, and SQL. Additionally, we have a standby server for BES (switchover will require manual intervention).

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    Re: Disaster Recovery Plan for BES

    Quote Originally Posted by robc2585
    My company's setup is similar. We have clusters for Exchange 2003, and SQL. Additionally, we have a standby server for BES (switchover will require manual intervention).
    Noooo!!! Manual switchover is bad! Use Neverfail, and the automatic failover will allow you to stay in bed and fix the problem in the morning.

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