RIM has officially taken the wraps off the latest version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).
BES 5.0, unveiled at the company's Wireless Enterprise Symposium in Orlando, will bring a number of new features aimed at IT admins.
According to Alan Panezic, vice president of platform product management at RIM, 5.0 is the most "significant, substantial release of a BlackBerry Enterprise Server" to date, with the new IT admin features inspired by the growth in the largest BlackBerry deployments — topping 50,000 or 100,000 devices — and the issues that accompany such large rollouts.
Among the IT admin tools to make it into BES 5.0 is BlackBerry Administration Service, a web-based interface for supervising BlackBerry deployments; role-based access controls to allow admins to open up particular functionality to other IT staff and groups; and the addition of job-scheduling and throttling for over-the-air application rollouts.
BES 5.0 will also let admins keep a close eye on the health of a company's BlackBerry fleet with a colour-coded view of how the smartphone environment is doing, as well as reporting features to analyse its performance.
The latest BES can also support a number of features in BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 — set to be released this autumn — including remote access to Windows network file-shares, letting BlackBerry users get their hands on documents kept behind the firewall.
Among the organisations that have already made the switch to BES 5.0 are retailer Metro Group and Tayside Fire and Rescue.
BES 5.0 has its own migration tool, Enterprise Transporter, for organisations seeking to upgrade from an older BES.
According to Panezic, the tool lets companies take users "from their existing environment and move them without any disruption. If for whatever reason it doesn't work out, you can move them right back".
According to RIM, nearly 200,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers have been deployed around the world.