From the BlackBerry Connections Newsletter: The BlackBerry Enterprise Server version 5.0 launch is just weeks away! We've met with the product experts to create a series of articles about new features, migration planning, manageability, and other topics to help you prepare for the transition. Here, we cover the areas that will see the most significant new features in version 5.0: manageability, reliability and high availability.


Web-Based Interface and Role-Based Administration
In BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0, the admin console will switch from a desktop administration client to a web-based client, allowing for greater flexibility in how and where the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is managed. All administrator permissions and domains are set based on a system of flexible user roles in order to support a much wider range of administrators and help desk personnel. For instance, with the new functionality, you will be able to create a junior administrator role that has access to only a certain group's profiles—your sales team, for example—and can create and modify user profiles but cannot set group-wide IT policies.

Nested Groups
The functionality of user groups has been enhanced in BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0. Groups can now belong to groups, allowing for a nested structure to reflect the sometimes-complicated nature of a corporate structure. Groups, like individual users, can be assigned roles, IT policies, and software configurations. A single user or group can belong to multiple groups, as well, inheriting the roles, policies and configurations of each parent group. In cases where inherited policies are contradictory, the policies from the group with the highest priority are applied.

Self-Service Options to Free Up Your Help Desk
Universal tiered access to the BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager means that a much greater degree of self-service is possible with BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0. Users may be allowed to upgrade their own software and activate their own devices and passwords. This self-service translates directly into a smaller workload for your IT staff and pronounced savings in time, money and resources.

Reliability and High Availability

Failover Options
Server downtime can represent a major loss of productivity and money. With BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0, it's easier than ever to ensure maximum uptime for your BlackBerry environment. New high-availability options allow you to configure primary and standby BlackBerry Enterprise Servers for automatic or manual failover. Failover thresholds can be defined by the administrator to more reliably meet the demands of any server model, from the very simple to the very complex. Manual failover support allows for minimal-downtime server upgrades. Note, there are no licensing fees for additional BlackBerry Enterprise Servers running in standby mode.

System Health Checks
When the BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0 is running in High Availability mode, there is no single point of failure. To ensure a rapid, graceful response to problems as—or before—they occur, system health checks generate scores that are shared amongst systems, components and administrators.

Wireless and Scheduled Upgrade and Application Deployment
With BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0, software updates, applications, and even entirely new OS versions can be pushed to BlackBerry smartphones wirelessly, dramatically reducing the need for IT face time. These upgrades can be made automatically, based on user profiles and groups. Updates can be pushed in batches and can be scheduled to happen during off-peak usage hours in order to limit the productivity effects of downtime.

Applications are published via .zip files and can be made optional, mandatory or disallowed, based on the permissions associated with the user. Pushing applications wirelessly is now even more reliable, with dependency checks to make sure that all needed applications are installed and always in the right order. Additionally, new contingency-based software upgrades ensure that events such as changes in device hardware or carrier trigger appropriate software updates automatically.

The Months Ahead
We've covered in general terms the most important enhancements coming with BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0, and you can expect to learn about these new features in more detail over the coming months. Next issue, BlackBerry Connection will cover the upgrade path to BlackBerry Enterprise Server v5.0, including planning advice and tips for migrating to this new release.

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