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Blackberry issues for a client

A client of mine, whose has about 5 Blackberry users contacted me early yesterday morning in a panic. They were reporting that no one was receiving emails on their blackberrys anymore, and that it’s been happening since last Friday. Here’s the back story, on Thursday of last week I promoted one of their servers to a domain controller as we’re getting ready to decommission an older server. So the client was quick to blame my changes for the blackberrys stopping to work. Now this client does not run a blackberry enterprise server, and I really had no idea how they communicating with the Exchange server. I’ve heard they connected through Outlook Web access, and OWA was working fine.

I spent the majority of Monday digging through server log files searching for anything that could be causing the issue. We rebooted every server and their Cisco, and the Blackberrys still were not getting email. My onsite contact was freaking out because the blackberry users are all upper management and she was under a lot of pressure to get them working again as all the users were traveling and were relying on the phone for email. At some point in the afternoon, she asked if I could revert the changes I made to the one server. I told her that I didn’t believe the issue was caused from my change and I didn’t think it would be wise to demote the server back to a member server. As the day ended, we got new reports from the users that their email was working until sometime Saturday morning. Now I was more confident it wasn’t because of my changes. I told her I would come onsite the next day and work with one of the blackberrys and blackberry support and get it figured out.

So today I drive an hour to their office and with blackberry in hand begin looking in to how they are setup. Find that the email setup happens through a blackberry website that is particular to their provider. While in this setup, there is an ‘Advanced Settings’ area, and that is where I found the issue. I find a form that has their OWA URL, except that it was wrong. The URL that was listed was almost right, but was simply missing an s, as in https://. Once I added the s and saved it out, they phones started syncing again. I have their OWA requiring and SSL connection and it has been that way for a long time, which makes me ask, what happened? Did the URL in the setup change for 5 users on 3 different providers? Or was that address always missing the s, but it was smart enough to redirect to the https page and that broke on Saturday? Regardless of what it was, it wasn’t my fault or related to promoting a server on their network.