The musings of an IT Consultant


August 24, 2008  4:51 PM

How to configure your BlackBerry to delete messages on the BlackBerry device and in your Outlook Inbox in a BES environment



Posted by: Raj Perumal
BES, BES environment, BlackBerry, Blackberry Enterprise Server, Email Reconciliation settings, Mailbox and Handheld, Mailbox Wins, Message reconciliation, outlook inbox, synchronize deletions, wireless reconcile, wireless reconciliation settings

One of the simplest configuration checks you should do when having BlackBerry synchronization issues with deletions in a BES environment is to check your reconciliation settings.

First go into the Messages section of your BlackBerry. Then click on the BlackBerry button to access the menu for Messages. Then click on options and select Email Reconciliation which will take you to the appropriate settings. Ensure that the settings look as follows:

Delete On: Mailbox & Handheld

Wireless Reconcile: On

On Conflicts: Mailbox Wins

 If these settings aren’t set, then go to each field and change them to match my settings. That should do the trick!

-RP

August 24, 2008  4:37 PM

Deleted messages on BlackBerry are not showing up as deleted in Outlook Inbox and read messages are not showing up as read.



Posted by: Raj Perumal
BES, BES synchronization, Blackberry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry reconciliation, BlackBerry synchronization, CDO versions, cdo.dll, deleted messages not deleting from inbox, deleted messages not synchronizing, deletions not synchronizing, dll version mismatch, MAPI32 versions, mapi32.dll, read messages not synchronizing, register dll, regsvr32

Another common BlackBerry synchronization issue is also when you delete messages on the BlackBerry and the message does not get deleted from your Outlook inbox even if you click on “Reconcile Now” from the BlackBerry menu. Also another common effect is that when you read a message it doesn’t show up as read on the other side and still shows up as a ‘NEW’ message.

This problem usually stems from a DLL mismatch. There are two very important DLL files that are integral to the proper running of your BES server and those are cdo.dll and mapi32.dll. The versions of these DLL files need to be the same on your BES server and your Exchange server. The easiest way to do this is when you are patching your Exchange server you ensure that you patch your BES server with the exact same patches. This will ensure that things are always in ‘sync.’ :) You can check the version of a file by right clicking on it and going to it’s properties and then checking the ‘Version’ tab.

Now if you think you have patched everything and the DLL files are still mismatched, then you can just copy the DLL file from the Exchange server to your BES server and then register the DLL file using the regsvr32 command and then the path to the DLL. For example, to register cdo.dll you would type: regsvr32 cdo.dll ‘C:\program files\exchsrvr\bin\cdo.dll’.

I of course would like to remind you that before doing any of this to ensure that you always have a full backup of the server you are working on in case you blow something up. Also I would not copy DLL’s from the BES server to the Exchange server, that can cause some interesting results and it is probably a path you do not want to go down. Instead make sure you are copying from the Exchange server to the BES server as I had mentioned above.

After the DLL files that have the version mismatch have been copied and registered, then reboot the BES server and test out deletions and read messages again. You should see that things work as intended now.

-RP


August 24, 2008  4:19 PM

Shift deleting of message in your inbox not deleting on your BlackBerry?



Posted by: Raj Perumal
BES, BES synchronization, BlackBerry, BlackBerry Doc ID KB14142, Blackberry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry synchronization, hard delete, hard delete reconciliation, hard deletions, outlook inbox, shift deleting, synchronize deleted emails

Another common BlackBerry question I get is regarding deletion of messages. I could probably write a whole novel about all the different issues you can run into with BlackBerry synchronization but I’ll spare you the pain and just mention a few things. :)

When people hold the shift key down and hit delete to permanently delete items in their Outlook it doesn’t give the BES server (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) time to process the deletion so the deletion doesn’t synchronize and in turn your BlackBerry still shows the message as available. How do you fix this? You need to turn on “Hard Deletions” in your BES server. What this does is it allows the BES server to process the shift-deletion of emails so they synchronize properly.

You can do this by following the instructions at this Blackberry Knowledgebase Article Doc ID KB14142.

-RP


August 23, 2008  9:17 PM

Remote access when on the road



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Access Essentials, Citrix, Citrix Access Gateway, Presentation Server, published applications, SSL VPN, www.citrix.com, XenApp

So I thought i’d talk a little bit about remote access since I was just away on vacation for a week. There are a lot of technologies out there you can use for remote access, all of them promising complete access to your network while you’re on the road. I’ve always found adopting multiple technologies for a good comprehensive remote access strategy works well.

One of the easiest things to implement for the network administrator on the road is Terminal Services. As long as you own Windows Server you can purchase terminal services licenses to give you remote access to your network for multiple users. If you just want administrative access then you can just use RDP (remote desktop). However if you want extra control and power then I would suggest using a product like Citrix to achieve your goals. For the small business Citrix Access Essentials is a great single server product you can use to give you access to published applications and granular control over what users can access remotely. You can also combine this with the Citrix Access Gateway and give yourself SSL access to your network and everything integrates quiet nicely.

You can get more information regarding Citrix at http://www.citrix.com.

 -RP


August 17, 2008  4:11 AM

Intel releases USB 3.0 Spec



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Intel, spec, specification, USB 3.0, USB Controller

Hi folks, it looks like we have yet another new technology on the horizon, the next USB spec, USB 3.0! Intel just recently released the spec.

The new USB 3.0 spec suggests speeds of up to 4 GB/second. This is great news for the IT industry as USB has quickly become the predominant connection standard of choice for users looking for a way to connect their peripherals to their computers.

 You can read more about it here.

-RP


August 16, 2008  2:57 PM

VMWare Update 2 Bug Fixed



Posted by: Raj Perumal
August 12th bug, http://kb2.vmware.com/kb/1006716.html, Hyper-V, Update 2 Bug, Update 2 bug fix, Update 2 bug resolution, Update 2 time bomb, Virtualization, VMWare, XenServer

As you may have now heard, VMWare has fixed the bug with update 2. They pulled the update and were finally able to release a fix. What does this tell us?

Even the largest of companies can have issues with their Q&A processes. No matter how perfect we endeavour to be there is always the human error factor. Does this mean you should abandon all your VMWare projects and head to greener pastures with Hyper-V and XenServer? I’m sure with the FUD machine in full swing, quite a few people from opposing camps will advise you to do this.

The fact of the matter is that will serve you no good as all of these companies will be sure to run into their own problems at some point in time. Like I’ve said before, if you adopt a proper patch management strategy you can avoid 99% of these problems.

Here is the link to the knowledge base article that outlines the issue and the fix with VMWare.

http://kb2.vmware.com/kb/1006716.html

-RP


August 12, 2008  3:10 PM

VMWare – Major Bug with ESX 3.5 Update 2



Posted by: Raj Perumal
3.5, ESX, ESX 3.5 Update 2, patches, Update 2, VMWare, VMWare bug

Hi folks, breaking news in the virtual world! Apparently ESX 3.5 Update 2 is wreaking havoc with people’s ESX servers. According to reports it is throwing “A general system error occurred: Internal Error”. This is a known problem at VMWare and there is no known fix as of yet.

 You can read more about it here.

 This goes back to a rule of thumb I always like to follow with patching. When a patch comes out, don’t apply it right away. Sit on it for awhile and adopt a wait and see approach to see if there are any ill effects experienced by others in the industry before you apply to your production systems. Also install the patch in a sandbox environment and do a flurry of tests to see if you can get it to break.

After it seems that the patch is acceptable then you can apply it to your production systems. This will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

 -RP


August 11, 2008  4:28 AM

Packet sniffing is your best friend…



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Ethereal, Network Monitor, Packet Sniffing, Wireshark

Sometimes when you are troubleshooting network issues, you just can’t seem to put your finger on the source of the problem. Whatever it is that is causing your network issue is evading you and you’re wondering how are you going to track it down.

I find using a packet sniffer to actually look at the traffic flowing on the network is helpful at this point. You will most likely have to configure your switch to mirror all traffic to one of the ports on the switch so you can plugin a laptop with a packet sniffer onto that port to monitor the traffic.

One of my favourite packet sniffers to use is Wireshark, formerly known as Ethereal. You can also use Network Monitor which comes builtin with Microsoft’s operating systems. Once you have it up and running you can watch network traffic scroll past your screen live and hopefully find the source of your problems.

-RP


August 10, 2008  4:08 PM

Unified Messaging



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Active Directory Integration, Asterisk, IM, instant messaging, Jabber, Open Protocol, Open Source, Openfire, PBX, single sign on, SMB, Spark, SSO, Unified Messaging, VoIP, XMPP

Unified messaging means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To me it means the ability to communicate with people using one centralized system but with any device or means with relative ease. In this day and age, with the plethora of digital communication devices available out there today, this has become a reality.

 One of my personal favourite VOIP solutions is Asterisk. Asterisk is an open source PBX which is in my opinion the most flexible non-proprietary piece of VOIP software out there. If you haven’t heard of it, or would like ot check it out, you can get more info here. With Asterisk you can take a call anywhere at anytime and you can even get your voice mail to show up in your e-mail inbox.

One of the things that is required in Unified Messaging is instant messaging(IM). If you are running an Asterisk VOIP system, one of the good IM solutions out there is Openfire and Spark. Openfire is the server side component and Spark is the IM client that runs on your user’s desktops. This server can be easily setup and integrated with Active Directory for Single Sign On (SSO) support. Then you can install the Asterisk component that allows it to integrate with your Asterisk VOIP system! Openfire server supports the open protocol called Jabber.

 All in all this is a great solution for SMB offices that don’t want to spend too much money on a VOIP system but still require all the features of one.

 -RP


August 9, 2008  2:43 AM

VMWare Virtual Machine Backups



Posted by: Raj Perumal
ESX, vCharter, vEssentials, virtual machine backups, virtual machine replication, Vizioncore, VM, VMWare, vRanger, vReplicator, www.vizioncore.com

I am often asked, what do we do for backups in a virtual environment? One of my favourite methods is to use a product called vRanger Pro from Vizioncore.

 Vizioncore makes a great product called vEssentials which consists of vRanger Pro, vReplicator, and vCharter Pro. The Vizioncore offering is a lot cheaper than some of the competitor offerings.

 vRanger Pro backs up the entire VM allowing you to restore it if something happens to it. vReplicator replicates the entire VM to another site for a great disaster recovery alternative and vCharter Pro provides a great solution for performance monitoring.

 You can check out their products here. Despite using these products for virtual machine backups, I would still use a normal backup product to backup the individual data inside the virtual machine so you can do granualar restoration. Virtual machine backups are more for the situation where you lose the entire VM not for when you just need to restore an individual file.

 -RP


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