BlackBerry Connection > IT Edition > Admin Tips: Manage Your Data with the BlackBerry Synchronization Service

Admin Tips: Manage Your Data with the BlackBerry Synchronization Service

This month's Admin Tip explores the BlackBerry® Synchronization Service. The service manages the two-way wireless data synchronization of PIM (Personal Information Manager) organizer data such as contacts, tasks, and memos between BlackBerry® smartphones and the messaging server.

The BlackBerry Synchronization Service also manages BlackBerry smartphone information and wireless backup and restoration functions. You can use IT policies to control the availability of these functions for a BlackBerry smartphone user or a group of BlackBerry smartphone users.

Synchronized PIM data

Synchronized PIM data

The synchronization service synchronizes PIM items such as tasks, memos, and contacts wirelessly so that entries on the BlackBerry smartphone and in the desktop email program are consistent. By default, the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server automatically backs up the user settings and data over the wireless network. With wireless PIM synchronization and wireless message reconciliation, users no longer need to connect their BlackBerry smartphones to BlackBerry® Desktop Software to synchronize and reconcile messages and PIM data.

PIM settings

You can control the following PIM synchronization settings to manage the user experience and the use of system resources:

  • Initial synchronization: Enable wireless PIM synchronization for users so that initial data synchronization occurs between the BlackBerry smartphone and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The purpose of this initial data synchronization is to fully synchronize the BlackBerry smartphone with the desktop email program to manage the resolution of conflicting or duplicate entries to prevent data loss and is optimized for wireless transmission.

    By default, the calendar on the BlackBerry smartphone synchronizes up to 31 days in the past from the activation date, and up to 28 years into the future from the activation date.
  • Synchronization settings: Configure wireless PIM synchronization settings that apply to all users in the BlackBerry domain or to individual users. Define which PIM items the synchronization service synchronizes, the conflict resolution settings, and whether changes made on the BlackBerry smartphone and in the desktop email program synchronize in both directions, or whether only one source creates changes for the other source to receive. Control wireless PIM synchronization settings using IT policies.
  • Support for different types of user access: Define the location of the database replicas in each user's profile, create roaming user profiles, or use web access templates in your organization's messaging environment.

Automatic wireless backup

Automatic wireless backup backs up user settings and data from the BlackBerry smartphone to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server automatically. Save the following smartphone settings by using the automatic wireless backup:

Application Settings
BlackBerry® Browser
  • Bookmarks
  • Channels
  • Folders
  • Browser options
BlackBerry smartphone options
  • AutoText entries
  • Content store
  • Default service selector
  • BlackBerry smartphone agent
  • Firewall options
  • Font settings
  • Help options
  • Profiles
  • Home screen display options
  • WAP push options
Messaging
  • Attachment viewer options
  • Filters
  • Message list options
  • Searches
  • Settings
Phone
  • Recently called list
  • Phone call logs
  • Phone options
PIM
  • Address book options
  • Calendar options
  • Categories
  • MemoPad options
  • Task list options

PIM data workflows

Let's look at the data process flows for two typical setups: (1) Synchronizing PIM data for the first time on a BlackBerry smartphone, and (2) synchronizing subsequent changes to organizer data.

1. Synchronize PIM data for the first time on a BlackBerry smartphone

Step Action Description
1 The user's BlackBerry smartphone receives the synchronization service book. The user activates a new BlackBerry smartphone, or upgrades an existing BlackBerry smartphone, and receives the synchronization service book.
2 The BlackBerry smartphone requests synchronization configuration information. The BlackBerry smartphone requests the synchronization configuration information from the synchronization service.

The configuration information indicates whether wireless PIM synchronization is enabled on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and which database can be synchronized, and also to provide database synchronization types and conflict resolution settings.

The BlackBerry smartphone requests the synchronization configuration information from the synchronization service. The configuration information indicates whether wireless PIM synchronization is enabled on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and which database can be synchronized, and also to provide database synchronization types and conflict resolution settings. All data that is sent between the BlackBerry smartphone and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server is compressed and encrypted.
3 The synchronization service starts the initial synchronization. The synchronization service returns the configuration information, and synchronizes the databases using that information.

A synchronization agent on the BlackBerry smartphone tracks which databases can be synchronized wirelessly.

If there is existing data on the BlackBerry smartphone and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the synchronization service merges, adds, or updates the records during the synchronization process. If there is data only on the BlackBerry smartphone or the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the synchronization service restores the data from that location.

Neither the BlackBerry smartphone nor the BlackBerry Enterprise Server deletes records during the initial synchronization process.

After the synchronization service registers a database for wireless synchronization, it can no longer be synchronized or restored using the desktop software.
4 The synchronization service completes the initial synchronization. The initial synchronization is complete when the data on the BlackBerry smartphone and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server are synchronized.

Future changes on the BlackBerry smartphone or the BlackBerry Enterprise Server are synchronized wirelessly through the PIM synchronization process.

If the user modifies data in the BlackBerry smartphone or computer PIM application during the initial synchronization, the synchronization service synchronizes the records during the PIM synchronization process after the initial load is complete.

If the user connects the BlackBerry smartphone to a computer that has the device manager installed and running, (either standalone or as part of the optional desktop manager) the initial synchronization can occur over the connection to the BlackBerry Router instead of over the wireless network.

2. Synchronize a subsequent PIM data change

Step Action Description
1 The user saves changes to PIM data. The user saves changes to PIM data or BlackBerry smartphone settings (for example, a new AutoText entry) in the BlackBerry smartphone or computer PIM application.

The BlackBerry smartphone or the BlackBerry Enterprise Server adds the change to the change list (depending on where the change was made).
2 The synchronization service receives the changelist. The synchronization service receives the changelist, which includes the target PIM application database and record information. The synchronization service sends changes to PIM data immediately (along with other entries in the changelist for that user) in addition to other changes at the batch synchronization interval set on the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The default is every 10 minutes.

To prevent change collisions, only a single BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry smartphone changelist for each user can be sent wirelessly at one time.
3 The synchronization service writes the request to the configuration database. The synchronization service receives the synchronization request and writes a synchronization request entry in the SynchRequest table of the configuration database.
4 The synchronization service sends the synchronization data to the BlackBerry Dispatcher. The synchronization service sends the synchronization data to the BlackBerry Dispatcher.
5 The BlackBerry Dispatcher compresses and encrypts the synchronization data. The BlackBerry Dispatcher compresses the content, encrypts it with the user encryption key, and then sends the content to the BlackBerry Router for delivery to the BlackBerry smartphone.
6 The BlackBerry smartphone returns a delivery confirmation. The BlackBerry smartphone sends a delivery confirmation for each record that it receives.

Each time the synchronization service receives a delivery confirmation, it removes the corresponding synchronization request entry from the SyncRequest table and writes an entry in the SyncRecordState table.

Each PIM database record has a unique identifier that is mapped to the corresponding record on the BlackBerry smartphone.

Synchronization issues? Fret not!

Keep these points in mind if you are having synchronization issues:

  • As the PIM Sync process is Over The Air (OTA), it is dependent on the network so the time it takes an event to occur will vary.
  • A larger database with more records takes longer to synchronize.
  • The calendar is synchronized using the BlackBerry® Messaging Agent, not the BlackBerry Synchronization Service.
  • Users may need to be patient. Check to make sure all the proper steps shown above have occurred first before assuming that an issue has occurred.
  • If there is no obvious issue, then stop and restart synchronization in the configuration screen.

Troubleshooting

PIM Sync Progress Screen is Blank

Possible causes Solutions
1. Is activation completed? Check the activation screen to see the status of the activation process.
2. Is the Sync Service missing? If the services have arrived, check for a SYNC book.
3. Is this user disabled?
  • If the progress screen is still blank, check to see if the user is enabled on the server side.
  • Check if the configuration has been sent (through sync server logs).

Some of my PIMs work but not others

Possible causes Solutions
1. Did the user disable the PIM? Check the options screen for the PIM to see that wireless synchronization is set to 'Yes.'
2. Did you disable the PIM? Check the database information in the configuration screen to see if the server has enabled it.
3. Has the PIM completed a slow sync? Check if the state of the smartphone in the progress screen says completed.
4. Has the changelist been sent?
  • Check the smartphone logs for outgoing traffic or the server logs for record of a changelist from the smartphone.
  • An alternative solution is to restart the sync server.

Additional troubleshooting help

Ask a question in the BlackBerry® Support Community Forums »

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