Real-Time Diagnostic Tests

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-09-15 Print this article Print


Administrators can also run real-time diagnostic tests-they can ping the device to see if it is currently on the network or to test roundtrip delivery time for a test e-mail message to look for delivery latency or failures. On a separate tab, the User Dashboard shows information relevant to the user's Exchange instance, showing whether maximum mailbox quotas have been exceeded or whether the password has expired.

Other diagnostic screens, like the Zenprise Dashboard (which breaks down collected and identified problems by managed server), Diagnose & Resolve Dashboard (which presents the corrective workflow for found Causes) and Performance Charts, are only available to administrators in the Zenprise Administrator or Zenprise Infrastructure roles. While both roles can see all data in the Zenprise console, only Zenprise Administrators can change settings or notification rules.

I used Zenprise to troubleshoot a few issues common to BlackBerry activation and usage. For instance, Zenprise diagnosed an activation problem with a device switching from RIM's hosted BlackBerry Internet Service to the enterprise-oriented BES environment, correctly recommending that the device be wiped before activation and giving the proper steps to carry out that recommendation given the model of the phone. Zenprise also correctly identified when BlackBerry activation messages have been captured by Outlook's Junk Filter, thereby stalling the activation process.

In addition, Zenprise quickly diagnosed when mail delivery stalled due to an overflowing mailbox or when a device disappeared from the network when messages were queued for delivery.

BlackBerry users can be organized into VIP groups (Zenprise currently supports a maximum of five VIP groups), clustering together the most important users in the company so they can be monitored separately with a single console view. For instance, I could organize all my C-level executives into a group to ensure rapid response time if one of their devices experiences a slowdown.

However, I was disappointed to find that I could not set up email notifications particular to one VIP group to my satisfaction. While I could set up notifications to alert administrators when many different types of events occur, I could not localize these notifications to a single VIP group. In other words, if an IT executive wants to know when the members of the most critical VIP group (composed of C-level executives, for instance) experience an outage of more than 15 minutes, the IT executive must accept similar notifications for the members of all other VIP groups as well. While this point may be nitpicky, the lack of such granularity undermines some of the value of the VIP classification system. 

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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