The Unofficial #WAAwesome guide to setting up BES on VMware for Enterprise Developers


You have got this great app built, and now you want to test it in the Work Space. “No problem, I’ll just call up my local IT admin, and have him set up my test device on his test BES, and away I go.” Well what do you do if you don’t have a great IT guy, or a test BES setup? Or what if you want to try turning on or off IT policies to test your app, but… since would affect everyone else, the IT admin isn’t so keen? Or perhaps you just want to try things out for yourself.

Well you can setup a BES for yourself of course (see the great Blog post on this by Alex and Mark). But I was thinking, wouldn’t it be more convenient if I just set it up in a VMware instance on my PC. After all, I have VMware player already for my BlackBerry 10 simulator.

Well you can. Here is my completely unofficial #WAAwesome guide to setting up BES on VMware for Enterprise Developers. If you’re doing this personally, all of this is FREE. If you’re doing this through your company, note that VMware player changed their licence and there is a cost.

Since this is really a recipe, here is what I did (may work in other configs, but I leave that to others to experiment, for example, on a Mac):


Windows Laptop with a min of 6 Gb of memory – it’s a lot, but I find it increasingly common these days for Developers. Well worth the upgrade (or even 8 or 16), tell your boss I highly recommend!)

VMware Player 6.0+

Windows Server 2008 or better – I used Windows Server 2012 R2 180day Evaluation – get the .iso version

BES 10.1.2+ – I used the 60 day trial download here.

BlackBerry 10 device – Might want to snag a 2nd test device here, don’t use your personal one if it’s already got a work space, otherwise you’re fine.

Port 3101 must be allowed OUTBOUND from your network. If you are trying this at home, its likely already open. But if trying this at the office, you might want to check. For an office that has a BES already, its likely already open.


Plan on this taking some time. Mostly it will be waiting for installs to happen. My best guess is about 4 hours.

1. Create a new VMware instance

When creating the instance, choose “I will install the operating system later.” If you try to install directly from the .iso file, you will run into a bug. The install will insist on asking for your serial number. There isn’t one for the Eval version, so this didn’t work for me. On the next screen choose “Microsoft Windows” and for Version “Windows Server 2012”.

Next give your virtual machine a name. For disk size, you want 40gb free. At the end, choose to customize the settings, change the default of 2gb of memory to 4gb.

You should now have a virtual machine waiting for an OS.

2. Setup Windows Server 2012

Start the VM, it will complain that it can’t find the OS. Point the DVD/CD connection to the windows .iso file. It should start to install.  I used Windows Server 2012 Server Standard Edition with GUI, when asked.

Once you have installed the OS, install VMware tools.

At this point, turn off windows firewall! It’s on by default, and will block connections outbound on 3101 required for the later BES install. Mine looks like this now:

Check your network is okay by opening IE and surfing around. I’m not a fan, so I also installed Chrome and tested that it was working instead.

I also changed the name of my VMware computer from the name it gave, to something I could remember.

3. Create AD (Active Directory) domain

Run the Server Manager -> Add Roles and Features Wizard. You’re going to create an AD domain controller. The BES will use this to manage adding and removing users. It’s fairly simple, but if you’re not familiar, this is a great link to basically step you through things.

4. Install BES 10

Whew, almost there! Now copy BES 10 from your pc to your VMware instance. I literally did a copy and paste from my desktop to the desktop of the VMware instance. Click on the executable and follow the instructions from the Alex and Mark Blog Post.

5. Enterprise Activate your BB10 device

Now you just have to activate your test device. To do this, open the weblink to the BlackBerry Administrative Service and Create a User. On your device, you’re going to do something slightly tricky. Open Settings > Accounts > Add Account. On the bottom of the page press “Advanced.”

On the top you should see “Work Account.” Click on that, and THAT is where you will enter your new VMware info. Enter the user you chose, the activation password and the server address of your VMware instance. Here is what the screens looks like before I entered my info:

When it’s activated, you should now have a work space on your device. Test it by trying to connect to a web page on your VMware instance, or anywhere else on the network you can see from that server.

Here is what the user I created looks like on the BES admin service web page.

6. Success!

Now find a colleague to show the BB10 device to, and brag about how you setup your own work space on your laptop, cause it’s how you roll…

Feel free to post to the comments section on your experience, love to hear from others how this works for them.

About Ed Bourne

Ed Bourne brings over 10 years of experience in mobility as a Sr. Enterprise Solutions Manager at BlackBerry. Ed manages the technical partnerships with some of our largest Strategic Partners and Customers, helping to foster BlackBerry expertise and bring a compelling mobile experience to our joint customers.

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