exchange

Microsoft Exchange

How to set up a Blackberry with Exchange (without using Blackberry Enterprise server)

Since this article was written in Jan 2007, it is now possible to do the following:- 

  • On the Blackberry- an application called NotifySync* has been developed which can be installed on the Blackberry and uses ActiveSync for full mailbox synchronisation over the air. We use this for our own customers and recommend it as a solution.
  • On your Server - BlackBerry Professional Software Express which provides the functionality of 'Blackberry Enterprise Server for Exchange' for small businesses and it comes with 1 free user and can grow up to 30 users.
  • With your mobile/cellphone provider - IMAP and Outlook Web Access (OWA) have been made available via the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) with mobile/cellphone providers. This supports synchronisation of your mail with move/delete (not calendar/contacts/tasks though)

which all provide a superior solution to this setup. However not all situations are equal and there may sometimes be reasons for reproducing the setup below and is kept for historical reasons and for its comments.

Most individuals that use their Blackberry in a small businesses environment would not buy Blackberry Enterprise Server for Exchange as it is simply too expensive and quite pointless for one or two users. Here is one method to bypass this and use the (UK) mobile phone providers Blackberry infrastructure and run it in conjunction with your Exchange system. (I'll also mention here that runPCrun can provide fully managed Microsoft Exchange hosting*  with the ability to add full "over the air" Blackberry synchronisation - starting at £14 p/mailbox/month, call us if you are interested in this.)

The main main advantages of the following set-up compared to just setting up standard POP3 collection are:-

  • immediate (push) delivery of messages (rather that waiting for the Blackberry service to poll the POP3 provider)
  • No need to open POP3 ports through your firewall
  • Items sent via your Blackberry are kept in your Sent Items in Outlook/Exchange.

This is attained with a little bit of tweaking and performs very well, although (obviously) the calendar,notes and tasks are not synchronised over the Internet as with the full blown server. In a small company this is not an issue and the synchronisation can occur easily using the cradle.

What this method does in a nutshell - when an email is received, it is forwarded immediately to a mobile providers blackberry address. When a new mail or reply is sent from the Blackberry, it is sent masquerading as the Exchange email, and a copy is BCC'ed to the Exchange email address. This email is the sorted into the Sent Items folder using a server side rule.

The steps to attain this are thus:-

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Removing the 16Gb limit in Exchange 2003

Our company supports a number of Exchange servers for our clients and up until recently one of the bug bears we had was the hard encoded 16Gb database limit.

This meant that as soon as the combined total of the users email hit 16Gb, Exchange would shut itself down. There is a way to temporary increase this limit to 17Gb to allow you to delete emails and run the defrag utility to free up dead space but as soon as the server has been rebooted it's not long until it hits 16Gb and the problem returned.

Since these days 16Gb is not a massive amount of data, users send and work with large attachments in some of the industries we deal with and it started to become an issue. However, Microsoft in a rare moment of actually listening to its customers decided to increase this limit to something with a little more headroom.

Hence, from Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 you can set the limit to up to 75Gb. Microsoft decided that having a simple tab in Exchange System Manager to set this limit would be too easy, you have to set it via a registry hack.

Once you install Service Pack 2, the limit is set at 18Gb and you have to choose a new limit depending on storage space you have.

The Keys that need to be changed are for the Private mailboxes:-

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AOL Email test relays

Sending email to AOL customers can be a tricky business. Especially if you are say running your own mail server on an ISP connection like a lot of small businesses do, typically with Exchange on Windows 2003 Small Business Server.

AOL have given one minor tool to help you avoid the bouncebacks, (typically by changing your configuration so your email is sent through another SMTP 'smarthost' like an ISP's SMTP server)

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