KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER BUSINESS VALUE WHITEPAPER Double-Take Software, Inc. Published: January 2008 Abstract Customers and coworkers expect that you are accessible and responsive, regardless of the infrastructure and technologies you have in place. Wireless email might arguably be the greatest enhancement to employee productivity since the cell phone, enabling employees to keep up with email when traveling. With its prevalent use today, the expectation is that users will have anywhere/anytime access to messaging systems such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes®. It is more important than ever to ensure that messaging systems and wireless email services are protected from disasters and other outages. www.doubletake.com 888-674-9495 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Introduction Your entire team's productivity has been increased with BlackBerry™ handhelds - but what if the server and software that powers these devices goes down? Wireless email might arguably be the greatest enhancement to employee productivity and flexibility since the cell phone. It enables employees to keep up with email when traveling by allowing them to remain connected to coworkers and customers as if they were sitting in their offices. A 2006 Gartner report states that there are approximately 12 million wireless email users worldwide, but predicts that by 2016, all mobile phones will have wireless email functions - making all 2.4 billion phone users candidates for wireless email use.1 However, as is the case with most technologies that are designed to help companies work smarter and faster, there are new issues and concerns to consider. For example, information on mobile devices can be erased if the device is damaged (or lost). Depending on the industry, the data on a BlackBerry may be subject to corporate backup policies and should not be left in the hands of the user.2 Additionally, now that customers and employees expect to have anywhere /anytime email access, it is crucial that the system is protected from failures and other outages. As employees have become dependent on this new freedom, BlackBerry Enterprise Server and handheld deployments have gone from being convenient to being expected. In the event of a system outage, it's not likely that users will even know that the communication link is down. Employees may make critical decisions based on a lack of information and your customers and partners may simply assume your company is unresponsive. How do you protect the investment you have made in these mobile systems and ensure that BES is always available? 1 Dulaney, Ken. "New BlackBerry Device Portends Change in Direction for RIM." Gartner. 11 September 2006 2 Troni, Federica. "How to Support PDAs and Smartphones in Business." Gartner. 28 August 2006 2 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER BlackBerry Enterprise Server - An Overview In order to implement a plan for protecting and backing up BlackBerry handhelds, it's important to understand how the BES solution works within an existing email environment. Traditional corporate email is based on one or more mail servers, each running an email application such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes. These mail servers may serve multiple roles in the messaging system including acting as a mailbox server, routing internal messages, providing web-based access or acting as an internet mail gateway. The internet mail gateway sends and receives mail from the internet allowing email communications with others outside of the company. For employees, accessing the email server is as simple as pointing a web browser or desktop mail client to their specific mail server. The productivity tax with this scenario is it requires the user to be connected to the corporate network, which isn't always possible when traveling. In this situation, email piles up until the user can get to their computer. The success RIM has found in designing and marketing their BlackBerry handhelds and server software is that they both allow companies to cut these ties and extend corporate email capabilities to any location that provides a cellular connection. By providing microcomputer devices (complete with full keyboards and send and receive capabilities), users can be connected to the email server from just about anywhere. When using a BlackBerry handheld, email goes from the handheld to the BES, which in turn sends the email to the mail server for normal processing. Figure 1: How Blackberry works within the existing email solution 3 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Wireless email Protection Considerations Implementing a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan means changes to corporate culture, additional processes, technologies, documentation, identifying key personnel and their emergency roles, and provisioning an alternate infrastructure. End users may think of a disaster as something dramatic, like an office fire or flood. However, IT professionals may consider a disaster to be something as simple as a blown power supply or a server shutdown. When planning for protection against a disaster, it is important to understand the level of protection necessary for your business, and for each of the scenarios outlined above as each has its own specific needs. For instance, while having a local mirrored copy (via hardware RAID) of email data would help to recover from a local disk failure, it would not help in the event of an outage that affects the entire building or even the region. Replicating or backing up data offsite would address this concern. However, it may not be practical or efficient to recover a local disk failure from a set of data that is hundreds or thousands of miles away. Often it is important to have multiple levels of protection to ensure the most rapid recovery from an outage. When choosing a solution, it is important to consider not just the actual technology but also the reputation and the level of experience the vendor has in implementing such solutions, as they will often be the ones assisting you to ensure that the right solution is deployed and the implementation is successful. Implementing the wrong solution can be as harmful to your business as not implementing any solution. While different options and solutions can provide a very highly protected email system, it is important to weigh the different variables of each solution (cost, complexity, results, etc.) against overall business needs. A Holistic View of Wireless email Services While the entire IT group may look at individual components as being "up" or "down", users and customers only understand whether email is working or not. This includes everything from the wireless handheld, to the BES, to the email server. From their perspective, the entire email system is down - even if they just can't access email from one of their many different client interfaces. Since BES relies on the data that resides on the email server (email messages, addresses, public folders, etc), part of ensuring the availability of wireless email access is the absolute requirement to provide protection for the email server itself. Without an Exchange or Lotus Notes system to interact with, BlackBerry Enterprise Server will not function. Regardless of specific goals, all availability efforts start by ensuring the resilience and availability of all email data. Having a readily available copy of this data is the first step in protecting these applications. In the past, the two most common options available for data protection were tape backup and hardware disk mirroring. However, these two options have some major shortcomings that may result in less-than-satisfactory results when deployed as part of a high availability solution. Because every business has its own service levels and business needs, each will have unique requirements for the level of data protection needed, which will often result in different implementations of the selected technologies, or possibly even alternate technologies. What's good for one company may not be appropriate for another. Your specific business needs will determine what solutions are right for you. Tape Backup With tape, backups typically are performed once per day with cartridges being shipped to a storage facility or vaulting service. One of the major issues with tape backup is that it leaves large windows of unprotected data in between backups. This can leave up to 24 hours of lost data should a recovery from tape be necessary - as a failure during the day would result in lost data back to the point of the last successful backup. Another major concern with tape backup is that recovery time is often well beyond many businesses' recovery time objectives. While tape backups are still necessary for long-term archival purposes, this solution is often inadequate as a high availability and disaster recovery solution. 4 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Hardware Disk Mirroring Hardware disk mirroring, when done synchronously, can provide zero data loss in the event of a hardware failure, as data is mirrored to a secondary storage device. However, the cost often exceeds many IT budgets. Many disk-mirroring solutions require identical hardware systems, impose performance overhead due to the "round-trip delay" between systems, and require significant bandwidth since full disk blocks (including unused blocks) have to be mirrored. Due to the technical nature of these solutions, both copies of data are typically in the same power grid, weather zone and municipality due to inherent distance limitations between devices. In fact, some industries have started mandating that synchronous mirroring must be supplemented in order to meet disaster recovery and data protection requirements. Even if cost were not an issue, it is likely that synchronous mirroring would not provide adequate protection and availability of the email system. So then, if you conclude that "tape does not provide fast enough recovery and is not routine enough for adequate data protection" but "synchronous is too expensive and doesn't provide enough distance" what other option is there? Asynchronous host-based replication. Host-Based Replication Enterprise-class host-based replication solutions offer the best of many worlds, including heterogeneous hardware and storage support, unlimited distance replication, real-time protection, and many options for customization to meet the varying needs of businesses in any market. Typically, host-based replication solutions use existing IP-based networks, eliminating the need for proprietary or dedicated networks while allowing for virtually unlimited distances in which data can be replicated, thus providing an excellent disaster recovery solution for all critical data. As the leader in host-based replication solutions, Double-Take Software has been protecting email and data for over 10 years, with proven skills and experience to help ensure success in implementing business continuity solutions. 5 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Double-Take: Proven Protection Today, Double-Take is the most relied-upon solution for real-time replication of critical data and automated failover for application availability. Double-Take is Microsoft® Windows® 2000 and 2003 certified at all levels, one of the few replication products to have achieved this level of certification. It delivers protection that is better or comparable to many hardware based solutions, but costs tens of thousands less. Double-Take replicates changes to files at the byte-level from any Windows Server to any other Windows Server across any IP-based network. It installs on each server and uses a file system filter driver to determine what changes are occurring to files and it Figure 2: How Double-Take Replicates replicates those file operations to another server and applies them to a secondary copy of the data. All changes are sent and applied in the exact order that they occurred on the production system, guaranteeing a crash-consistent copy of data on the secondary system. One of the strengths of the replication technology from Double-Take is that it protects files at the byte level, regardless of the application. In the case of email systems, when any of the email files and/or databases are changed (new mail, deleted mail, moves, etc.) only the actual byte-level changes (not whole blocks or whole files) are copied to a target server. This greatly reduces the amount of traffic going over the network to minimize any possible performance impact, while ensuring the lowest possible latency between the production data and the remote replica. Once the data is protected on the target server, multiple solutions are available for achieving availability goals. And because these solutions run on the host server, they are completely hardware and storage independent; capable of replicating data between any storage device in any configuration, including Storage Area Networks (SAN), Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Network Attached Storage (NAS), and iSCSI. With thousands of deployments, Double-Take has become the leader in protecting critical email environments, including Exchange, Notes, BES, and others. With asynchronous solutions such as Double-Take, there aren't inherent performance implications of other synchronous solutions, nor are there any distance limitations which restrict the level of protection they can offer, allowing them to be deployed for complete disaster recovery protection from local and regional outages. The host-based solutions from Double-Take can replicate email and BES data to any location across the city or across the country. By taking advantage of its built-in bandwidth controls, compression and extended queuing features, Double-Take uses current infrastructure to protect existing email environments while having minimal impact on production servers, applications and networks. Because there are no proprietary hardware requirements or the need for particular types of storage at either end of the replication stream, you are free to use any servers and storage hardware whether it's components you already have or new purchases you plan to make. If you already maintain multiple data centers, you can simply replicate data between them, using each as a DR site for the other, further reducing overall costs and complexity and increasing the ROI on existing equipment. If you have a relationship with a disaster recovery vendor or a storage service provider, you can use Double-Take to replicate data directly to your facility over a VPN or other secure connection. Figure 3: Remote Replication 6 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Keeping BlackBerry Users Connected While it is crucial to ensure that the data is readily available, another factor that must be considered is the amount of time that it takes to recover data after a failure. Downtime can quickly result in many lost dollars. The actual time to recover and rebuild from this replicated data may be greater than a business can afford. So although email and BES data is being replicated to one or more remote locations, will users be satisfied waiting until the data is restored and the application is brought back online? This leads to the next step to ensuring recoverability: ensuring availability. In the end, ensuring availability is what matters most - ensuring not only that the data is available, but that the application itself is available. Both are needed to allow users to continue working in the event of an outage. However, the question remains - how can you ensure that in all scenarios the email system and its wireless enhancements continue to be available to users, even during a failure? Protecting BlackBerry Enterprise Server Once a BlackBerry is on a carrier's network, it is linked to RIM's Network Operating Center (NOC), which has direct connections to all of RIM's carrier partners and to BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) all over the world. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) software is middleware that links handheld devices to corporate email services such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.3 Figure 4: BES Configuration Typically, BES is deployed on a separate server from the actual mail server, although Lotus Notes does allow it to coexist on the same server as users' mailboxes. When ensuring the availability of BES, typically there are the same challenges as with the email server itself. The BES protection requirements are likely going to be the same as email requirements, so similar solutions can be deployed. BES uses Microsoft SQL Server to store its configuration information. Without this data, the entire BES application is inoperative, resulting in BlackBerry users being "down". While BES is designed to allow a simple manual failover process of its services to a backup server should the production server or services fail, it does not provide data replication to protect against a failure or corruption of the SQL Server database. In order to have a fully protected BES environment, you must ensure that the SQL Server data is readily available and that a redundant server with the BES application installed is ready to go should it become necessary. 3 Mahmoud, Qusay H. "Programming the BlackBerry with J2ME." April 2005 7 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER High Availability with Double-Take Whether BES is running on the mail server or on a separate server, Double-Take can ensure that all of the data is protected on a secondary server and can facilitate the failover should a failure occur. First, a new server (either a physical machine or virtual machine) is provisioned at the recovery site. BES is then installed on the new recovery server along with any requisite software such as Microsoft SQL Server. Then Double-Take is installed on both the production and secondary servers. When not being used for failover purposes, the BES services are stopped on the secondary server and are automatically started only when an outage occurs. Double-Take is then configured to replicate the BES configuration database and other related data files from the production system to the secondary system using its real-time, byte-level replication. Double-Take is also configured to continuously monitor the availability of the production BES. If a failure is detected, it can automatically switch BES processing from the production server to the backup server, start all BES services on that server, and run all necessary maintenance jobs required by BES. This provides a quick, efficient and automated method of ensuring that the Blackberry system is back online and available to users in the fastest possible manner, often before users are even aware there was a failure. Most importantly, the architecture does not require the reconfiguration of any BlackBerry handhelds or the RIM BlackBerry service. More detailed configuration and setup information for protecting BlackBerry Enterprise Server is available in the Double-Take Software Application Note entitled, "Guidelines for using BlackBerry® Enterprise Server with Double-Take®". Figure 5: Protecting BES with Double-Take 8 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER Summary When considering the myriad of technologies and applications used in many corporate environments, it can be difficult to find vendors and solutions that support a wide range of different needs. Because Double-Take replication technologies provide the flexibility of being application independent, the same level of data protection used in tens of thousands of deployments to protect business-critical applications such as Exchange, SQL Server and Lotus Domino can be used to provide the same level of protection and recoverability for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. By replicating BES data continuously, in real-time and combining that up-to-date copy of the data with the ability to monitor and failover the BES application, mobile users can remain connected to co-workers, partners and employees, even during any disaster or outage. 9 WHITE PAPER: KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS EMAIL CONNECTED: ENSURING THE AVAILABILITY OF BLACKBERRY ENTERPRISE SERVER About Double-Take® Software Double-Take® Software provides the world's most relied upon solution for accessible and affordable data protection for Microsoft® Windows® applications. The Double-Take product is the standard in data replication, enabling customers to protect business-critical data that resides throughout their enterprise. With its partner programs and professional services, Double-Take delivers unparalleled data protection, centralized back-up, high availability, and recoverability. It's the solution of choice for thousands of customers, from SMEs to the Fortune 500 in the banking, finance, legal services, retail, manufacturing, government, education and healthcare markets. Double-Take is an integral part of their disaster recovery, business continuity and overall storage strategies. For more information, please visit www.doubletake.com. Double-Take Software Headquarters Double-Take Software Sales 257 Turnpike Road 8470 Allison Pointe Blvd. Suite 300 Southborough, MA 01772 Indianapolis, IN 46250 Phone: +1-800-964-0185 or +1-508-229-8483 Phone: +1-888-674-9495 or +1-317-598-0185 Fax: +1-508-229-0866 Fax: +1-317-598-0187 Or visit us on the web at www.doubletake.com Get the standard today: www.doubletake.com or 888-674-9495 © 2007 Double-Take Software. All rights reserved. Double-Take, GeoCluster, and NSI are registered trademarks of Double-Take Software, Inc. Balance, Double-Take for Virtual Systems, and Double-Take for Virtual Servers are trademarks of Double-Take Software, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.
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