A Tale of a BES Activation Nightmare…

A client of mine wanted to add a Blackberry to their existing Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).  It should be a quick buy the license, add it to the server and Activate the Blackberry – after all, the end user had just purchased a new Blackberry Storm and was ready to harness the power of the BES on it.  Well, as you guessed, not all went smooth.

The company had a BES SBE (Small Business Edition) server which was the predecessor to the BPS (Blackberry Professional Software).  I had installed it for them a year and 1/2 or so earlier.  I ordered the license for the BES SBE and went to install it on the server.  When to my surprise a message pops up…

“The license key being entered is not compatible with existing keys in the license manager.  Please contact point of sales or BlackBerry Support for assistance.”

Being that it was after hours, I sent off an email to where I had ordered it and waited until morning.  Fortunately, a response email was in my Inbox when I woke up and that told me that I needed to upgrade my BES SBEto the BPS and all licenses would work.   If that is’t a big suprise that takes a bit of the wind out of your sails.  I had no choice – I began the download the upgrade and waited until after hours to do the upgrade since there was going to be a server reboot involved.  That evening, the upgrade and server reboot appeared to go smoothly.  I added the license, sent an Activation email to the end user so they could do the BES Activation 1st thing in the AM and went to bed.

The next morning another email was in my Inbox – this time it was from the end user stating that the BES Activation had failed and now nobody was receiving emails on their Blackberries.  Panic set in and I quickly remotely logged in to see what was going on.  Sure enough, the Blackberry Manager showed that none of the Blackberries had checked in since the prior evening.  I checked the BES to make sure all Blackberry services were running which they were but the SRP Status was Unknown.

After digging through Event Logs and scouring the Internet to try to figure out what could have gone wrong, I finally compared the Windows Services for the Blackberry against another machine that I had upgraded successfully and found that the Blackberry Router service was no where to be found.  Now why that Service was removed and not added back during the upgrade, I have no idea.  The only way to get it back that I could think of was to run the upgrade again.

Now if you have a Windows Server that everyone depends on for Exchange, file sharing, and the works, you know that having to reboot the server in the middle of the day is the last thing you want to do.  Well, I bit the bullet and called the company and let them know that a server reboot was needed to get the BPS up and running.  Fortunately they were able to reboot it and I kept my fingers crossed.

When the server came back up, the Blackberry Router service was there and I manually started it.  A minute later, Blackberries were starting to check back in and I let out a huge sigh of relief.  I had no idea if running the upgrade was going to fix the problem – or why the upgrade didn’t upgrade properly the 1st time.  What should have taken 30 minutes took 2 1/2 days.  It’s one of those things beyond your control that starts going wrong.  Fortunately, with persistence, patience and some luck,  my BES Activation Nightmare came to an end …

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