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The key feature in the server is its new administration component, which can be accessed by IT departments via Web browsers such as Internet Explorer. The Web-based interface provides IT departments with "centralized management, monitoring and control of smartphone deployments," the company says. This is significant because it lets users manage enterprise devices on just about any computer without having to install a separate desktop client.
The enterprise server's other key administration features include role-based access controls that let IT departments control which employees get access certain functions; application deployment and software updates that are delivered to devices over the air; and a mobile application management program that lets IT administrators push updates and applications out to their users and block prohibited applications.
BlackBerry's enterprise server system is primarily used to provide a link between secure enterprise IT systems and company-approved smartphones. The server is primarily responsible for integrating with collaborative software programs such as IBM Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise.
The newest version of the server has been used on a trial basis over the past year by IBM and other select enterprises in North America and Europe. IBM CTO Todd Belt says that the new version is of "tremendous significance to our enterprise customers as they continue to adopt mobile applications to meet their business needs." RIM is also offering several services intended to help users migrate over to Enterprise Server 5.0, including migration planning services to help companies with their transition to the new server, as well as training and certification programs that give users tutorials on the new server.
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.