OK, is it my imagination or is Apple suffering a bit this month from their own success? First they broke every sales record since people began holding plastic boxes to their heads and talking into them…and then the headaches started. Preorder failure, Euro release delays, yellow screenscum, Antenna problems, and now apparently a major problem for Apple’s drive to push the iPhone into the Enterprise.
Business customers and the IT departments that feed on them…I mean serve them, have long been the last big market to resist the iPhone. No less than El Jobso himself has stated that breaking into the Enterprise was one of the big goals of iPhone 4, with a slew of tools and fixes designed to improve remote management, security, and yes, integration with Microsoft Exchange servers, the lynchpin of most corporate email setups.
However, Jason Reese at the always excellent Gear Diary says from first hand experience that not only is iPhone 4 not integrating well with Exchange Servers, but is actually BRINGING THEM DOWN LIKE TEN-PINS.
Here is a portion of Jason’s post on the subject:
Once business users loaded iOS 4, some issues started occurring. A trickle suddenly became a massive tidal wave, and that wave literally started crashing Exchange servers worldwide. What’s worse is that IT departments didn’t become aware of the issue until well after it was too late. Apple did not officially communicate any information to businesses, and I’ve yet to see any official statement on the matter. IT departments had to find out from sites like MacRumors to find out this was not an isolated issue.
The problem is that iOS4 increases the times that iPhones or iPod touches try to connect to the Exchange server. Devices running iOS4 will timeout, drop sync to Microsoft Exchange, then try to reconnect every 30 seconds or so without tearing down the original network connection to the servers they way every other device will do when connecting to Exchange. This constant bombardment of connection attempts will overload corporate Exchange servers. This, in turn, impacts every mobile device platform connecting to Exchange via ActiveSync. I had firsthand experience of this problem this past Wednesday, as my employer’s servers were hit by this very scenario.
At first we had no idea what was causing the outage and impacting our users across the globe. Servers were being rebooted only to crash again an hour later. Once we determined that the problem was with iOS4 (again, through tech sites and forums — not via anything provided by Apple), we were able to locate the ‘fix’ that Apple quietly put out on their support site.
So here’s the other problem. Companies can’t deploy the fix (a profile update to the phone which lengthens the request to the server if the device times out from dropping sync to mail, calendar or contacts). The fix has to be installed individually to each iPhone or iPod touch by the end-user. The features Apple promised for enterprise mobile device management and wireless application deployment — which could have been used to send the profile update to all iPhones on a company’s network — have yet to be deployed by Apple. This meant every company impacted had to urgently send every one of their iPhone or iPod touch users the instructions to go out and download the update to their devices.
Read the full post HERE.
I can’t vouch for this one having not encountered it myself (my IT department would prefer to eat their Server Racks whole then allow anything Apple-esque directly onto the network) but Gear Diary is a highly reputable source. To back them up, Barron’s and Microsoft Exchange expert Jeff Guillet are reporting on this as well.
Anyone out there having trouble with iPhone 4 and their Exchange Server..like, ummm…it is killing it?