Mobility

SolutionBase: Using GoodLink to make Exchange and your Treo work together

Treos work well for mobile computing users who want to retrieve their e-mail on the go. Getting the Treo to work with Exchange requires you to jump through a few extra hoops. Here's what you need to know.

Using GoodLink to make Exchange and your Treo work together

GoodLink can be used to seamlessly extend your Exchange infrastructure to your handheld devices such as Treos. The trick of getting a Treo to play nice with Exchange using Goodlink is to properly configure a Goodlink server. In this article, I'll go over, step-by-step, the installation of a GoodLink server in an Exchange 2003 environment.

Author's notes

For the purposes of this article, I'm running Exchange 2003 SP1 in native mode under a mixed-mode Windows Server 2003 domain. I'll be installing all of the GoodLink components on a single server running at 2GHz with 512MB of RAM. Further, I'm installing GoodLink into a single domain environment. If you plan to install the software in an environment with multiple domains, refer to the GoodLink documentation for information on the requisite trust relationships that must be established. Beyond that, I'm assuming you have a pretty typical Exchange environment with the latest service pack. These instructions are Exchange 2003-specific.

Before you continue with the installation, download the GoodLink software from Good's download page. Extract the downloaded file to a location you can find later. Also make sure that you've registered your software and received your license key. The email message you receive from Good after placing your order includes all of the details for performing this step.

Getting started

Before you get to the Good stuff, you need to take care of a couple of technical requirements. First, install the Exchange System Manager on the server on which you intend to install the GoodLink components. Good also recommends installing a hotfix on your Exchange management server that corrects a memory leak that occurs during programmatic synchronization, which is how GoodLink works its magic. So, install the hotfix described in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 887828 before you continue.

Exchange Manager security tab

There's one more thing you need to do before you keep going—you need to configure the Exchange System Manager to display the Security tab, which allows you to specify permissions in various areas of the tool. To facilitate this, Good ships a .reg file with the GoodLink software to populate your registry with the value required to enable this tab.

Go to the directory in which you've extracted the GoodLink server download and browse to install "\GoodLink Server" and double-click the file named ex_show_security_page.reg. The GoodLink quick start guide indicates that this file should be located in a subdirectory named "util," but this was not the case for my installation. It could be a case of the documentation not being updated to reflect a change. If you can't find the .reg file, look around a bit—it's there.

GoodLink domain user and Exchange permissions

For GoodLink to work, it needs a domain user account with specific access rights to the Exchange information store. The GoodLink documentation calls this account GoodAdmin, and I'll use that nomenclature here as well so that you can more easily refer to the full GoodLink docs if needed.

Create this account somewhere in your Active Directory organization and make sure it's a member of the Domain Users group. Don't give it any access to other groups, particularly administrative groups, since this can create problems later on. I won't go over the account creation process except to say that you should create an Exchange mailbox at the time you create this account and that the password for this user should not need to be changed and should not expire.

Now, you need to assign this user certain rights to the Exchange information store. This is accomplished via the Exchange System Manager. Right-click your top level Exchange organization and choose the Properties option from the shortcut menu. Next, click on the Security tab and add the GoodAdmin user to the list of accounts granted access to the Exchange organization. You'll see the screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A

To prevent security issues, be sure to limit this account's rights.

By default, the account is granted all rights to the organization, but the account doesn't really need all of the rights. Make sure none of the permissions are set to Deny, but also make sure that the Allow box is selected for the following:

  • Read
  • Execute
  • Read permissions
  • List contents
  • Read properties
  • Read metabase properties
  • Create named properties in the information store
  • View information store status
  • Administer information store
  • Receive as
  • Send as

Finally, make sure that the GoodAdmin account is added to the local Administrators group on each server or workstation that will have the GoodLink Server of GoodLink Management Console installed.

Install the GoodLink server

The GoodLink Server is where the brunt of the Good work happens. Before you start installing the GoodLink components, log out of the server as the administrative user you've been using to this point and log in as the GoodAdmin user you created earlier.

To install the Server, double-click the setup.exe file. The screen shown in Figure B shows up.

Figure B

The GoodLink Installation Manager helps walk you through the installation process.

The server installation is pretty straightforward. Click the Add/Remove button next to 'Install the service on this computer' under the GoodLink Server heading to start the installation wizard.

The first step of the wizard asks you for your licensing information. Enter the information obtained from Good in this area, as seen in Figure C.

Figure C

Enter the serial number provided by Good.

In order to work, your GoodLink server needs to be able to chat with servers located in Good's datacenter. If you have a proxy server installed between your GoodLink server and the Internet, the installer needs to know that. In Figure D below, notice that you're asked the typical proxy-type questions. I don't have a proxy server on my network, so I didn't need to worry about this information.

Figure D

Provide proxy server information if you have such a server.

With the proxy server information provided, the installer goes through the process of authorizing the GoodLink server to make sure it can talk to the Good servers to transmit messages back and forth.

The next three questions, ask where you want various GoodLink Server components to be installed. First, the GoodLink server itself needs a home, which, by default is C:\Program Files\Good Technology\GoodLink Server. Likewise, GoodLink Server's log files are, by default, installed to C:\Program Files\Good Technology\GoodLink Server\logs\BASE2K3.

Finally, GoodLink Server uses cache files to help make sure messages are delivered in a timely manner back and forth between the GoodLink server and the handheld device. The default cache location is C:\Program Files\Good Technology\GoodLink Server\cache\BASE2K3. Make sure to exclude this directory from antivirus and backup software. Note that, for my installation, I've opted to install GoodLink Server to its own drive, so you'll see drive E: in the screenshots later on rather than drive C:.

In order to work, the GoodLink server needs to be able to talk to your Exchange server. Accomplish this by providing the installer with information regarding your environment, as shown in Figure E. At a minimum, provide the name of the Exchange server that houses your GoodAdmin user's mailbox. Also provide the name of the admin account you created. Click the Check Name button to make sure your entries work.

Figure E

Provide Exchange connection information for GoodLink Server.

The last information you have to provide to the installer is the full username (including domain) and password of the user you specified in the MAPI profile in the previous step. Provide this information so that the GoodLink Server can log into the Exchange information store on the screen shown on Figure F.

Figure F

Provide the username and password for the GoodAdmin user.

Finally, the installer has enough information to install the software. Let it do so as seen in Figure G.

Figure G

After the installation completes, you're asked if you want to start the GoodLink Server service. Go ahead and start it now. It doesn't hurt anything.

Install the GoodLink Management Server and Console

Now that you have a running GoodLink Server, you need a way to manage it. This is where the management server and console come in to play. These components can be installed on the same physical server as the GoodLink Server component, or can be installed on their own box. I'm not planning anything massive with GoodLink, so I've installed the components on the same server.

To get started, if it's not running, run the setup.exe program again and click the "Install the Management Server and Console on this computer" link on the server installation manager's window. Check back to the Figure A for a look at the GoodLink Installation Manager window.

Once again, you'll need to full out the same MAPI profile information you did earlier including the name of your Exchange server as well as the name of the GoodLink administrative user.

You also need to choose installation locations for the management server and related logs. The default locations are C:\Program Files\Good Technology\GoodLink Management Server and C:\Program Files\Good Technology\GoodLink Management Server\logs, respectively.

One more time, provide the full domain\username and password for the GoodAdmin user, as shown earlier in Figure E.

When asked if you want to start the GoodLink Management Service, do so.

That's the last of the server components that you need for the GoodLink Server itself. Now, focus your attention on the handheld side of the equation.

The handheld

You have two options from which to choose when deciding how you want to provision software for your handhelds. You can deploy software via a cable connection to the handheld, or you can configure new handhelds wirelessly using a process that Good calls "Over the Air (OTA)". For this article, I'm going to be using the OTA option.

While this requires a step to be performed by the end-user, it's not difficult, and means that IT doesn't have to touch every single handheld to get the GoodLink client software installed. In fact, it's surprisingly painless to get working and your end of the bargain consists of just enabling a user to use the service—after you pay Good for licenses, of course.

Allow the user to use GoodLink

Using the GoodLink management console, found at Start | All Programs | GoodLink Management Console, add the new user by right-clicking Users and choosing New User from the shortcut menu Make sure you also select the method you're going to use to deploy the client software. For this example, I've opted for the OTA method as seen in Figure H.

Figure H

Find the user you want and select a deployment method.

Now, select the GoodLink server that user will use as seen in Figure I. If you have only a single GoodLink server, this is pretty easy!

Figure I

Select the GoodLink server this user will use.

As you continue, you may receive an informational message about the lack of a default software policy. This just indicates that you have not specifically selected the client software version to push to new clients. If you continue, the most recent client will be automatically sent down to your handhelds.

Deploy the GoodLink client

With the user now enabled in GoodLink, the user will receive an email message in their Outlook mailbox with an email address, PIN code and web location. This information is used by the handheld user to download and install the GoodLink client software for the handheld. The web address is https://get.good.com, and the user name field will be the user's email address. The GoodLink Server generates a random 15 character PIN for this user to download the software.

Get started by, from the handheld, visiting https://get.good.com. You'll get a screen like the one shown in Figure J followed by the one shown in Figure K asking you to approve the download.

Figure J

Tap Download Now to start downloading the Good client installation software.

Figure K

Yes, you do want to download the software.

Once the client is downloaded, your Treo will ask you if you want the installation software to be added to your list of available applications as seen in Figure L. You should allow this to happen.

Figure L

Accept the client installer into your applications.

Once the OTA setup program is added to your applications screen, tap the new program selection—OTA Setup—to continue the handheld portion of the installation as seen in Figure M.

Figure M

Tap the new icon to continue the installation.

The first part of the installation asks the handheld user for their Exchange email address and the 15 character PIN code that was emailed to them after you gave them access to the GoodLink server. That information needs to be entered before the actual client installer will run as seen in Figure N.

Figure N

Provide the email address and PIN from the original message from the GoodLink server.

Finally, the last time you have to tell the software that you really do want to install it, when you're asked if you really want to install GoodLink, do so. During this process, you'll also get a screen with a Launch Now button that connects you to the GoodLink servers to establish the communication needed to make the software work its magic. Here's what it looks like in Figure O.

Figure O

Hopefully, you'll be believed this time after you tell the software to go ahead and install.

After the installation completes, the first thing you're asked is if you want to make a backup of the software to a card. You should do this since it allows you to recover much more quickly in the event of a drained battery. After the backup is complete, the client software starts and, after a few minutes, the contents of your Exchange profile, including recent mail, your calendar, contact lists, and tasks. It's very nice!

What's even better is that it's truly complete synchronization. If you send a message from the handheld, for example, it shows up in your Sent Items folder. The two screenshots below prove you with a look at the handheld client's calendar capability.

Figure P

Here's a look at the list view for the client's calendar.

Figure Q

And here's a weekly look.

Making good on the integration

It sounds good on paper, but Good really has something great here. The software works, honestly, better than I expected it would. Overall, I'm very pleased. The worst part of the whole experience for me was trying to buy the client. Good was the first company that's ever given me a hard time about quickly getting a review copy of their software. So I decided to buy it and it took close to a week before I had serial numbers and codes in my hands. That said, it was worth the wait, and, much to the dismay of my staff, after seeing the power of the software, they might have another application to support.

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