With the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system there is much confusion around what people will and won’t need and what will be compatible with what. So I’d like to help clear some of this confusion up.
Today we have BlackBerry Smartphones typically running BlackBerry OS 4, 5, 6 or 7. There are a number of ways that these devices can work. Firstly there is the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), offering full security and lock down of devices for large enterprises. Then we have the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express (BESX), a free server which is a trimmed down version of the full BES aimed at the small to medium sized business. Finally, we have the consumer offering which requires no server and you simply setup via your mobile carrier and use your phone on the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS).
So what changes with BlackBerry 10?
Well to start with the devices. BlackBerry 10 devices will be much more powerful than the current range of BlackBerry devices and will be running a completely new operating system. This isn’t the same as upgrading from OS 6 to OS 7, it is entirely and fundamentally new.
Now to manage a BlackBerry 10 device you will need a different server as the current BES and BESX systems won’t be compatible. The server itself will be called the BlackBerry Device Service (BDS) and the management console of BDS is another server called BlackBerry Fusion.
So what is Fusion?
Fusion is a web server that allows you to manage your BDS server, however if you have a BES and/or a BESX server you will be able to manage all servers from within the Fusion console without having to log into each server individually. But there is also another part new service called Universal Device Service (UDS), this allows you to manage both iOS and Android based devices. Again you administer the UDS server from within the Fusion console.
The best way to think of Fusion is a single console overlaid across your other BlackBerry servers that allows you to carry out your day-to-day functionality from one location.
So how many servers will I need then?
For companies who already have BES or BESX you’ll still need these servers running to support existing BlackBerry devices up to OS 7, that is unless you want to wholesale upgrade to BlackBerry 10 devices straight away. You’ll then need another server to support your BlackBerry 10 based devices, Playbooks and if you want to manage iOS and Android devices. So that’s 2 potential servers for your mobile devices? Well almost, because you also need to install the Fusion web server, but the good news is that this can be installed either on the same server as the BDS and UDS components.
What about licensing for all these servers?
Today you will have purchased your BlackBerry BES Cals or have your BESX licensing free. However the bad news is that you have to start again, you cannot carry unused BES licenses to BDS or UDS. You have to purchase Cals for either BDS or UDS (and they aren’t interchangeable). But the good news is that BlackBerry has introduced a new subscription based model for licensing, so you subscribe for a specific period and as long as you are subscribing you receive any available upgrades. However, subscriptions aren’t for everyone so you can still purchase a perpetual license but that’s around double the cost upfront compared to the annual cost of a subscription and you don’t get upgrades.
So if you managed to follow all of that the short answer is that to use BlackBerry 10 devices you’ll need new servers and new licenses, to maintain existing BlackBerry devices you’ll also need to keep the current servers running.