BlackBerry: BES Architecture and Implementation Planning

Dan Renfroe

December 2007

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Components

BlackBerry Enterprise Server is not a single service. Like many complex application servers, BES is comprised of a number of services and components that are integrated to deliver the full feature set. Below is a list of the components and a description of their function.

Component Name

Component Function

BlackBerry Attachment Service

The BlackBerry Attachment Service converts email attachments into a format that can be viewed on BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry Collaboration Service

The BlackBerry Collaboration Service encrypts the communications between instant messaging servers and the instant messenger client on client on BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry Configuration Database

The BlackBerry Configuration Database is a relational database that stores the configuration information for the BES components, using either Microsoft SQL Developer Edition (MSDE) or Microsoft SQL Server.

BlackBerry Controller

The BlackBerry Controller monitors BES components and restarts any stopped services.

BlackBerry Dispatcher

The BlackBerry Dispatcher handles compression and encryption for BlackBerry data.

BlackBerry Manager

The BlackBerry Manager is used for administration of the BES.

BlackBerry MDS Connection Service

The BlackBerry MDS Connection Service is used to connect BlackBerry devices to online content and applications.

BlackBerry MDS Services

The BlackBerry MDS Services provide connectivity between BlackBerry MDS Studio Applications on BlackBerry devices and enterprise applications.

BlackBerry MDS Studio Application Repository

The BlackBerry MDS Studio Application Repository stores and manages BlackBerry MDS Studio Applications.

BlackBerry Messaging Agent

The BlackBerry Messaging Agent serves as the connection between the email server and the other BES components.

BlackBerry Policy Service

The BlackBerry Policy Service manages the IT policies for the BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry Router

The BlackBerry Router connects to the BlackBerry Infrastructure and communicates with the BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry Synchronization Service

The BlackBerry Synchronization Service syncs organizer data (tasks, calendar, etc.) between the email server and the BlackBerry devices.

The component-based design of BES provides flexibility and scalability as you plan your implementation. This is due to the fact that the components can be installed on a single server or distributed among several servers based on your needs. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server components are integrated to deliver the desired services to your handheld clients.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Requirements and Prerequisites

The BlackBerry Enterprise Server system requirements vary based on the number of users supported. Below are the recommended minimum requirements for a BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.1 for Microsoft Exchange that supports 500 users. Refer to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Version 4.1 for Microsoft Exchange Server Capacity Calculator at the BlackBerry Technical Solution Center ( to calculate the system requirements for your environment.

  • Intel® Pentium® IV, 2 GHz or better.
  • 1.5GB RAM.

BES supports specific Microsoft Windows and Exchange environments. Following are the basic software requirements.

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003.
  • Microsoft Exchange 5.5 (SP4 or better), Microsoft Exchange 2000 (SP2 or better), Microsoft Exchange 2003, Microsoft Exchange 2007.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or better.

In addition to the basic hardware and software requirements, there are a number of prerequisites for BES. Some of the prerequisites are installed as a part of the BES setup program, but others must be installed prior to starting the BES installation. Below is the list of prerequisites.


Required/ Optional


Microsoft Messaging Queue (MSMQ) Version 3.0


This is required for installations that will use Microsoft Windows Messenger.

Microsoft .NET Framework Version 1.1


This may be installed during BES installation. SP1 is required to use Microsoft Windows Messenger.

Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) Version 2.8


This requires either Security Patch MS04-003 (Version 2000.85.1025.00) or SP2 (Version 2000.86.1830.00) for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1.

Java® 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SETM) Runtime Environment Version 5.0 update 9


This may be installed during BES installation.

Internet Service Manager for Internet Information Services


This is required for Microsoft Exchange 2007 support.

Microsoft Exchange administration tools


The appropriate tools for your Exchange version should be installed.

Microsoft Exchange Version 5.5

Administrator Microsoft Exchange 2000 System Manager

Microsoft Exchange  003 System Manager

Microsoft Exchange Server MAPI Client and Collaboration Data Objects 1.2.1

For Exchange 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server MAPI Client and Collaboration Data Objects 1.2.1, or Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 System Manager with SP2

Refer to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft Exchange Installation Guide for your version of BES for an up-to-date list of system requirements, especially if you are planning to implement additional services above and beyond the basic messaging and collaboration.


BlackBerry Enterprise Server Network Requirements

The network requirements for a typical BES implementation are relatively simple. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server should be installed in a high-speed, switched network environment. The number of hops between the BES and the messaging servers should be minimized in order to ensure optimal performance. The other basic requirement is that the BES should be able to initiate outbound connections to the BlackBerry Infrastructure on TCP port 3101. Chances are that you won’t need to modify your network configuration, as most firewalls are configured to allow this type of connection by default.

RIM recommends that BlackBerry Enterprise Servers should be installed behind the corporate firewall; this placement typically doesn’t require any changes to the network, while still ensuring the security of your BES implementation. Placing BES in a demilitarized zone (DMZ) is not advisable, as it may require numerous changes to your firewall and other network configurations to establish connectivity between BES and the servers behind the firewall, including messaging and collaboration, application servers, etc.

However, RIM does provide options if your network environment that requires traffic from the BES passes through a host in your DMZ before being routed to the BlackBerry Infrastructure and onward to the client device. As previously discussed, RIM has divided BES into functional components, one of which is the BlackBerry Router. The BlackBerry Router is the component that manages the communication between the other BES components and the BlackBerry Infrastructure, and the client devices. Security is maintained even though the BlackBerry Router is placed in the DMZ because all communications with the BlackBerry Router component are encrypted. For more information on this configuration, refer to RIM’s documentation titled Placing the BlackBerry Router in the DMZ.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Database Requirements

The BlackBerry Enterprise Server stores information in a component known as the BlackBerry Configuration Database. This component relies upon a relational database management system (RDBMS) for storage and retrieval of configuration data. BES 4.1 supports the following RDBMS applications.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000).
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 SP3a.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard, Enterprise, or Express editions.

The RDBMS selection will have an impact on the future growth and scalability of your BES environment. MSDE is a lightweight version of Microsoft SQL Server that can be installed during the BES installation process. The ease of implementation makes it a popular option, especially for small BES implementations. The database size for MSDE is limited to 2GB, which will limit the number of users you can effectively support. The rule of thumb is that the base configuration Database is approximately 100MB and each additional user requires 1MB, restricting BES implementations with MSDE to less than 2000 users. You are not locked in if you opt to use the MSDE for your initial BlackBerry Configuration Database, as RIM provides detailed instructions on switching from MSDE to the SQL Server.

Using Microsoft SQL Server to house your BlackBerry Configuration Database provides greater flexibility and scalability, especially in the area of disaster recovery. RIM does not support MSDE for standby Configuration Databases, which means that you’ll need to be more proactive about backing up the Configuration Database. Also, SQL Server is typically installed on a different server than BES, which frees up the system resources to support BES.


In this article, we have discussed the components that make up the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. In addition, we have provided an overview of the system requirements for installing BES, including the hardware, software, network, and database requirements.


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BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft® Exchange

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