BlackBerry Enterprise Server High Availability Manual Failover and Failback

INFORMATION

As stated in RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server Planning Guide, ” High availability is designed so that no single point of failure exists in the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution that could break the messaging data flow and application data flow to and from BlackBerry devices.” Failovers can be configured to be either automatic or manual. In this blog, I will demonstrate the process of performing a manual failover for BES.

BACKGROUND

The environmental settings that were used to perform testing are as follows:

  • 2 physical locations/AD sites
  • 2 Exchange 2010 servers configured in a DAG with one server active and the second passive (one server per site)
  • 2 BES 5.0.3 servers (one server per site – server at SITE01 is primary and server at SITE02 is standby) – lets call them BESPRI and BESSEC
  • Each of the BES servers was running on Windows 2008 R2
  • Each of the BES servers had its own instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 installed
  • BES configuration database (BESMGMT) has been mirrored between the 2 SQL instances.

MANUAL FAILOVER OF BES SERVICES TO STANDBY SERVER

The following two methods can be used to perform a manual failover of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. This procedure is used to force the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to complete a failover process when the active BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BESPRI) is not running as expected or if the BlackBerry Enterprise Server requires maintenance and may be offline for a prolonged period of time, yet BES services are to remain operational. This process involves two steps – first the SQL configuration database (BESMGMT) must be failed over followed by the BES services:

  1. Log on to BESPRI with the BES administrator account.
  2. From the start menu, open the SQL Management Studio and connect to the local (BESPRI) server instance
  3. Expand Databases, and select the database to be failed over (BESMgmt)
  4. Right-click the database, select Tasks and then click Mirror. This opens the Mirroring page of the Database Properties dialog box.
  5. Click Failover to initiate the process.

A confirmation box appears. The principal server begins by trying to connect to the mirror server by using Windows Authentication. If Windows Authentication does not work, the principal server displays the Connect to Server dialog box. If the mirror server uses SQL Server Authentication, select SQL Server Authentication in the Authentication box. In the Login text box, specify the login account to connect with on the mirror server, and in the Password text box, specify the password for that account.

If failover succeeds, the Database Properties dialog box closes. The mirror database becomes the principal database and the principal database becomes the mirror. If failover fails, an error message is displayed and the dialog box remains open.

This following procedure is used to force the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to complete a failover process when the active BlackBerry Enterprise Server is not running as expected, or if the BlackBerry Enterprise Server requires maintenance. There are two possible methods for this procedure.

Method 1 – Fail over the BlackBerry Enterprise Server manually using the BlackBerry Administration Service:

  1. In the BlackBerry Administration Service, on the Servers and components menu, expand High availability then Highly available BlackBerry Enterprise Servers.
  2. Click the name of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server pair.
  3. Click Manual failover. Choose the standby BlackBerry Enterprise Server instance.
  4.  Click Yes – Failover to standby instance.  Verify that the failover event occurred.

Method 2 – Fail over the BlackBerry Enterprise Server manually using the BlackBerry Server Configuration Panel:

  1. Make sure you are logged onto the standby BES (BESSEC)
  2. In the BlackBerry Server Configuration Panel for the standby BlackBerry Enterprise Server, on the BlackBerry Server tab, click Make Primary.
  3. Click OK.  Verify that the failover event occurred.

Please allow up to a minute after activating the standby BES server for the BlackBerry Administration Service (BAS) web site to become active.

MANUAL FAILBACK OF BES SERVICES TO PRIMARY SERVER

After the primary server maintenance has been completed, it needs to be returned as the primary server running BES services. First step is to restore the SQL database on the server as primary.

  1. Log on to BESSEC (since it is now the primary server) with the BES administrator account.
  2. From the start menu, open the SQL Management Studio and connect to the local (BESSEC) server instance
  3. Expand Databases, and select the database to be failed over (BESMgmt)
  4. Right-click the database, select Tasks and then click Mirror. This opens the Mirroring page of the Database Properties dialog box.
  5. Click Failover to initiate the process.

A confirmation box appears. The principal server begins by trying to connect to the mirror server by using Windows Authentication. If Windows Authentication does not work, the principal server displays the Connect to Server dialog box. If the mirror server uses SQL Server Authentication, select SQL Server Authentication in the Authentication box. In the Login text box, specify the login account to connect with on the mirror server, and in the Password text box, specify the password for that account.

If failover succeeds, the Database Properties dialog box closes. The mirror database becomes the principal database and the principal database becomes the mirror. If failover fails, an error message is displayed and the dialog box remains open.

The following procedure is used to restore the BlackBerry Enterprise Server services to the primary server. There are two possible methods for this procedure.

Method 1 – Fail over the BlackBerry Enterprise Server manually using the BlackBerry Administration Service:

  1. In the BlackBerry Administration Service, on the Servers and components menu, expand High availability then Highly available BlackBerry Enterprise Servers.
  2. Click the name of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server pair.
  3. Click Manual failover. Choose the standby BlackBerry Enterprise Server instance.
  4.  Click Yes – Failover to standby instance.  Verify that the failover event occurred.

Method 2 – Fail over the BlackBerry Enterprise Server manually using the BlackBerry Server Configuration Panel:

  1. Make sure you are logged onto the Primary BES (BESPRI)
  2. In the BlackBerry Server Configuration Panel for the standby BlackBerry Enterprise Server, on the BlackBerry Server tab, click Make Primary.
  3. Click OK.  Verify that the failover event occurred.

Please allow up to a minute after activating the standby BES server for the BlackBerry Administration Service (BAS) web site to become active.

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