How to plan your upgrade to BES12 cleverly?

The GSX Blog
BES12 resized 600

Let’s start with a quick introduction to BES 12. BES 12 is the latest EMM solution from BlackBerry, it helps you do the following:

  • Manage mobile devices for your organization to protect business information
  • Keep mobile workers connected with the
    information they need
  • Provide administrators with efficient business tools

Key features on BES 12 which helps you decide why you need to upgrade are:

  • Now with the BYOD trend you can manage BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry OS (version 5.0 to 7.1), iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices
  • You can view all devices from one place and access all management tasks in a single, web-based UI
  • Device control gives you precise management of how devices connect to your network, what capabilities are enabled and what apps are available
  • BlackBerry Balance and Secure Work Space technologies are designed to make sure that personal information and work information are kept separate and secure on devices
  • In-built Security features make sure unauthorized access to the corporate Network and Email infrastructure is avoided

Comparing BES 12 with BES 5


Supported Devices


BES 12

BlackBerry 5

BlackBerry Playbook

BlackBerry 10



You can manage all devices
from a single instance, advanced UI.
There is no need of separate installation
of Management Studio like in
BES 10 versions

BlackBerry Enterprise
Server 5

BlackBerry 5 only

You can manage the server, devices,
and user accounts with the BlackBerry
Administration Service.
For high availability, you can
install standby instances of most
server component

BES 12 installation and Upgrade

You can install BES 12 if your organization has:

  • BES 5
  • BES 10
  • No EMM Solution installed from BlackBerry
  • You cannot install BES 12 on a computer that has both BES 5 and BES 10 installed on it

There is BES12 configuration tool & BES12 readiness tool available from which you can decide and calculate the number of SRP IDs you require and check system requirements before you run the BES12 setup application.

Upgrading from BES 5 to BES 12

After the upgrade, distributed BES5 components remain in place and continue to function as usual.The BlackBerry router that you originally installed with your BES5 continues to work only for the components that are used to manage BlackBerry OS devices. If you install a new instance of the BlackBerry outer with BES12, you can configure it to work with all components.

Upgrading from BES 5 to BES 12 in an existing domain

If you install BES 12 on the same computer as the existing BES 5 database, performance issues can occur if the number of users and devices exceed the optimum for a single computer environment. Choose the option to upgrade existing BES 5 database if:

  • You want to upgrade an existing BES 5 BlackBerry Configuration Database to a BES 12 database.
  • You do not need to consolidate any domains
  • You need to retire existing BES 5 instances
  • You do not want to deploy another instance


  • The ability to have BlackBerryOS (version 5.0 to 7.1) devices supported in BES 12
  • You don’t need any other server instance to install


  • Service interruption when you upgrade the existing BES 5 Database
  • Existing BES 5 infrastructure is affected
  • Performance issues can occur if number of devices exceed on a single instance

Upgrading from BES 5 to BES 12 in a new domain

To upgrade from BES 5 to BES 12 in a new domain, install a BES 5 instance on a new computer. Note that you would need additional SRP and authentication key & CAL’s.

After this run the BES 12 setup which will upgrade the new BES 5 configuration Database to BES 12 Database.

Next use BlackBerry Enterprise Transporter to move the IT policies, profiles, users, and devices in increments from the original BES 5 to the BES 12 database on the new computer.

You can only move a batch of users from the original BES 5 database to the new BES 12 database so that service interruption is monior. Choose the option to upgrade existing BES 5 database if:

  • You want to retire existing BES 5 infrastructure & instances
  • BES 5 instance should be BES 5 version 5.0.4 MR10 or later to upgrade to BES 12 which can be very time consuming


  • The ability to have BlackBerryOS (version 5.0 to 7.1) devices supported in BES 12
  • No impact on the existing BES 5 database will occur
  • You can move users deciding the timeline and at your own pace
  • VIP users can be moved once all the testing is done with pilot/existing users


  • Need to build a new BES 5 domain
  • Need to install another server
  • Need of additional licenses, CAL etc.

To sum-up whichever method you choose it’s always advisable to have a method of returning to a previous environment.

 To prepare to return to your previous environment:

  • Back up the existing BES 5 databases
  • If you use an existing virtual environment where the servers are hosted taking a snapshot can help revert

GSX Solutions ensures business continuity by monitoring, reporting and alerting on the BlackBerry experience associated BES key usages, inclunding:

  • Messaging environments (Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino)
  • Shared data (Microsoft Sharepoint)
  • Enterprise instant messaging (Microsoft Lync, Lotus Sametime)

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