we're running SmarterMail Enterprise in the unlimited version and activated EWS and ActiveSync for a little bit longer than a year. We faced some unsolvable problems and the one or other business impact, still unsolved. So I'm asking myself the question: what is the Enterprise word standing for?
We're running four MX Servers, external load balanced. Because of the lack of synchronizing the choice of the global admin for the domain greylisting state there are two MX servers building a redundant pair: one pair with activated greylisting and the other without. So the customer is able to choose if he wants greylisting or not by setting the right dans mx records. Why is this option not settable and synchronized via the web interface of the central Smartermail server?
Then we have three outgoing mail servers. But when we activate throttling for outgoing mails for a domain the throttling is done on the central Smartermail server, not on the outgoing gateways. Local delivery to the mailboxes for internal mails or mails received via the MX servers is delayed because of the huge mail queue, even if the main amount of these mails are for external delivery. Adding more outgoing mail gateways didn't scale for us.
The three clamd-clamav and three spam assassin servers with linux are running fine and doing their job very good and fast. Didn't faced any problems here.
We want high availability, we need high availability, and our customers are asking for this. But the HA features of Smartermail are... well, how should I say? Not comfortable as we expected.
We set up two servers and installed Smartermail on each of them, both configured with their configuration and folder path on an UNC share. But only one of the two servers can be active at the same time - why not an active/active(/active/..) setup? In case of a failure we have to shut down the Smartermail service on the failing host properly and starting it at the standby node on our own (using a powershell script). For taking over the external reachable ip address we're using Microsoft NLB. The status of the primary Smartermail service has to be monitored on our own Smartermail isn't supporting Windows High Availability Services. For this we're using the software "Alchemy Eye" installed and running on the standby system.
Smarter mail even doesn't support Windows Storage Replica. That's why we're using two window server offering an UNC share, targeted and made high available with an external load balancer. File system content is replicated between this two nodes using the third party software Peersync. We were facing a bunch of problems until we find out the optimal settings and did some fine tuning. The Peer Software Support Desk was very helpful.
Beside the problems and compromises with setting up and keep Smartermail running, we faced some not fixable problems:
1.) EWS and ActiveSync is not running fine with Microsoft Outlook 2013. Many of our customer had several problems with it. Sometimes synchronization was not finished in time, recurring calendar events are running worse, mail replication (deleting mail in outlook was not synchronized to Smartermail) was done fragmentary. In short: we lost this customers, they are now using an original Microsoft Hosted Exchange Service. This was not what we bought Smartermail for.
2.) Smartermail loses license information and is sometimes running in Free Edition Mode when doing a failover from primary server to standby system. We have to reset the activation history in our Smartertools Customer Portal and do activation of the active server manually to fix the problem. The time period it takes to alarm the technicians, getting him out of the bed, turning on his computer, dial into the vpn, getting the RDP session up and solve the problem, our mail services are completely not available. An unacceptable business impact. This issue was escalated to Smartermail support and on its way to be fixed soon, I hope.
3.) Since the upgrade to Smartermail 13 we're facing suddenly freezes of the Smartermail process, coming back after about 10 minutes. We're thinking that this problem occur when a customer is sending huge newsletters and we have some high traffic on outgoing mails. After processing thousands of outgoing mails for hours, the Smartermail process freezes. This issue is escalated to Smartermail Support Desk, too. But this ticket is open for over a month and we're still at the beginning of getting the Support Desk understanding and confirming our problem. We moved the concerned customer to a dedicated server running linux and postfix which is doing the job very well. No time to wait, because this issue is a business impact, too.
These are the main reasons why I'm asking me (and you): "for what stands the 'Enterprise' in 'Smartermail Enterprise'?". With the term 'Enterprise' I associate a very huge, very scalable and highly redundant and available setup with millions of users and mails getting processed. Can Smartermail beat the challenge?