RIM announces BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

For the past few years, RIM has offered BlackBerry Professional Software to SMB customers as an alternative to BlackBerry Enterprise Server.  BPS was more or less a watered down version of BES (latest version was 4.1.4) with a hard limit of 30 users.  The server software was free, and included 1 CAL, and you could add up to 29 additional users by adding BES CALs.  Sadly, RIM killed the project a while ago, and while BES kept getting service packs and new features, BPS was starting to get stale.  My biggest pet peave was that BPS did not support Server 2008 (which was a big problem for SBS 2008 customers).

RIM just announced BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, which seems to be the replacement for BPS (and I can’t even find BPS on www.blackberry.com anymore).  It won’t be released until next month, but as far as I can tell, it is basically BPS with a new name, and the following features added:

  • 30 user limit has been increased to 75 (or 2000+ if installed on dedicated server)
  • Works with *BIS and BES data plans, software and CALs seem to be free
  • Remote file access (Windows Shared folders)
  • Support for SBS 2008 and Exchange 2010
  • Web-based administration

This means that the BlackBerry solution for SMB customers will be ABSOLUTELY FREE.  There is no cost for the software, and CALs are even free.  Also, no longer will end users need the enterprise data plan, which most carriers charge an extra $10/month per line for.  This will mean new features and a much lower cost for SMB customers!

*EDIT: I just read on the BES Express documentation that a BES data plan is needed for wireless enterprise activation, as well as: “Over-the-air (OTA) updates require a BlackBerry Enterprise data plan.”  This means BIS users will need an updated data plan if they want to stay wireless :/

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  1. March 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

    BES Express was released 3/1/2010! Grab your copy here: http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/business/server/express/

    Like

  2. Shino
    October 12, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Hello,

    I have some questions, and despite all my researches I coulnd find anything interesting…
    First of all, as you said “30 user limit has been increased to 75 (or 2000+ if installed on dedicated server)”, the 75 users that can access BESX using the message server, of which server are we talking to? Do we have to get one? Is gmail enough?
    Also, I would like to know which kind of dedicated server has to be used and how much it costs…

    And 🙂 to end this 😛 :
    What is really missing from BES express in comparison with BES ?

    Thanks a lot for everything.

    Like

    • October 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

      I’m very sorry for the delayed response, but I did not get an e-mail notification that someone commented on the blog. As for the 75 user limit, this only applies if you install BES Express on the Exchange server itself. If you install BES Express on a separate server, the licensing will support up to 10,000 users, but you will likely hit the hardware limit long before that. At the moment, BES Express is only supported in a Microsoft Exchange environment, so you will need a server running Microsoft Exchange or Windows Small Business Server (which includes Exchange); BES Express is not compatible with GMail. If you are in the Cincinnati area, I can have my supervisor quote you on a server and any associated consulting fees, but if you are not in the area, you will need to look for a local Microsoft Partner.

      Also, while BES Express may support thousands of handhelds itself, a Small Business Server organization will not allow more than 75 users. I run BES Express in my office with 3 users connected to it, and many of my customers also run BES Express (anywhere from 1 handheld to 35 handhelds), and the biggest differences between BES Express and full BES would be e-mail platform support (full BES supports Lotus Notes and Groupwise) and IT policies (used to control what a BlackBerry can and cannot do, as well as deploy managed settings to the handhelds).

      Like

  1. March 8, 2010 at 10:57 am

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