Lost an enterprise customer due to errors and missing features
Problem reported by Kenneth Knudsen - March 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM
Being Fixed
Hi
 
We have now official lost a 60 user and 700 GB mail hosting customer to Exchange hosting !!
 
The issues we have experienced are many, but some of them are major for an enterprise customer. This customer in less than a month received and send more than 120,000 emails. Some users have more than 70,000 items in their inbox and receive +200 emails in a single day.
 
We migrated them from an Exchange 2010 solution which was getting old and expensive.
 
The initial migration seemed to work fine, but then all the complaints started to come in:
 
If the mailbox is above 5 GB, forget about EAS, it do not work and only create a lot of issues. And EAS is only supported by Outlook 2013 and higher.
 
So we thought the solution would be to use IMAP and then email and big mailboxes would be resolved. But this just add another problem instead!  Now their calendar need to be moved to a Sharepoint list, so we did. But again we experience that users when they accept a meeting request it do go into their default calendar and not the Smartermail calendar, which breaks the sync to their mobile devices !!!
 
IMAP is also a lot slower to synchronize email, also a thing the customer picked up right away....
 
Then we were told to try the sourceforge caldav synchronizer, and this worked for about 10 people and then we are experiencing issues with other users. It syncs some of the items in the calendar but not all of them !!
 
We are so done with SM for any of the enterprise customers we have....
 
SM is not ready for any enterprise customer in our humble opinion...
 
Before we would consider going back to SM a few and for us very important things need to be fixed:
 
Support mailboxes as high as 50 GB (Exchange will go even higher), so lets not blindfold ourselves and think 5 GB will be enough! Enterprise want their email in their inbox not in archive folders and similar solutions.
 
Have calendar and contacts work flawlessly with the default calendar or the SmarterMail calendar. For some customers their calendar is their lifeline (this customer it was a deal breaker).
 
Some calendar entries especially recurring entries are moved back from 1 day to a month after the migration. So our customer experienced people not showing up to meetings, and they barely missed a meeting with clients from Singapore. Took some time to get the customer calmed down on that one...
 
Make the Global Address List available in Outlook.And the Mailing Lists need to be in there as well !!
 
I HOPE SM15 will address above issues, or SM will not be an alternative to Exchange. Would be nice to be able to compete with Exchange server.
 
frustrated regards,

59 Replies

Reply to Thread
3
Paul Blank Replied
Unfortunately, many of your concerns have been voiced on the forums, and many times over.  To name some:
 
Sync with Outlook has been dicey. For sure, Microsoft keeps changing Outlook, but many issues have existed for years, and remained that way between Outlook versions.
 
I gave up on cardav/caldav years ago, even though this has been one of ST's selling points for SM; they really never worked correctly for me.  Issues continue to be reported by others.
 
Active sync has been far from perfect in many cases.  Issues with calendar sync, groups, appointments, and the like have been reported over and over.
 
And the recent "runaway bandwidth" issue that has been reported with certain user accounts after upgrading is just plain scary.
 
It seems for some time now that ST has continued to come up with newer versions of SM without fully addressing some the issues that plagued older versions, and created new issues in the process.
 
One can only hope, as you do, that starting with V15 these issues will be addressed. Sorry to say I'm not holding my breath.  I, too, have lost SM accounts to cloud services.  I know for sure they would have stayed with SmarterMail had some of those nagging issues been addressed. And my largest SM client is now getting anxious as well.
 
So it just might turn out to be a case of too little, too late.
 
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Do we get some feedback from developers about issues raised and if they will be addressed in V15 or V16 ???
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Kenneth, I'm sorry your having issues and I'm glad you posted on the forum to initiate a conversation.

I want to provide you answers but the concerns are more general in nature. We need to focus on specific issues.

We have significant companies transition to SmarterMail. Some companies have low users and CRAZY large mailboxes. We then have companies that have CRAZY number of users and domains. The number of scenarios in which SmarterMail is used varies significantly.

Lets start with transitions.

When I consult companies when looking to do transitions for a particular company, I suggest they take the opportunity to evaluate the ENTIRE solution from server, client, and overall usage.

Why? Because clients don't know whats best for them. They don't understand the restrictions of old versions of Outlook and/or protocols etc. They don't know how or what might be best for their mobile phones etc.

I often suggested that companies take a good hard look at reducing the number of clients their users use. That WebMail become a BIG part of the solution. It is important to reduce the overall IT work and WebMail gives a consistent experience wherever they are. In most cases, this is good for 90% of users and they appreciate the simplicity and ability to work from anywhere.

Many of these users then want to connect an iPad or Mobile Phone which EAS is a solution.

There are customers that still need Outlook... and continuing to use Outlook 2010 and deprecated products really isn't a good decision when making changes to your environment.

In regards to EAS and large mailboxes. That IS NOT A LIMITATION of SmarterMail. That limitation is EAS itself as it WAS NOT INTENDED to be used that way. EAS was created by Microsoft to handle PUSH email and pass minimal amounts of information.

Microsoft completely screwed up when they released EAS support in Outlook because they FORCED ALL EMAIL to be downloaded and it wasn't designed for that.

In recent updates to Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016, they introduced a feature similar to what is on Mobile Devices and that is X days of email.

IMAP can be used but there are limitations such as attaching to the calendar in a different way.

I need more details on calendar issues etc... and if you have specific cases, we would want you to start a ticket so we can actually resolve it. Any issue that is a BUG, we refund.

Also, in regards to IMAP. Microsoft released Outlook 2016 with some significant changes to IMAP. We have had to make a number of changes to accommodate it. Those should be resolved and we have a couple more minor updates that we intend to release as well...

I need to catch a flight and can't continue on other items. If you want to give more details, I would like to continue the conversation.

In any conversion, I REALLY REALLY suggest you take it as an opportunity to reduce your overall IT burden and introduce users to updated clients, WebMail and a variety of other improvements.

Hope this helps and look forward to the discusion.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Robbie Wright Replied
We have some of these same problems Kenneht. Autodiscover and EAS doesn't work correctly, so it takes autoconfig completely out of the equation, which is bad new when we big bigger customers on. 5gb mailbox limit is an issue, as is managing environments with multiple SM servers providing different roles. I'm glad to see the spam settings getting some attention in 15 so we can upload them to other gateways. If autodiscover/activesync worked right with mailboxes over 5gb, we'd be looking pretty good.
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Tim, we cant ask a enterprise customer to use the web-mail option when they have Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016.. They are used to that GUI and they want to keep it... This particular customer actually tried to use the webmail and found it not worth their time.

So you are saying when we are dealing with CRAZY big mailboxes the only solution is webmail? Maybe 10 years ago we would get away with that, but these days the amount of email being send and received is ridiculous amounts so that why other email providers offer 50 GB mailboxes and some even 100 GB, it is a reality we need to address if ST/SM and your customers want to get a bigger share of that cake !!

Why dont SmarterTools create their own email client with support that works, it would also be a selling feature as MS charge a fortune for their Outlook client. Then ST would be able to provide an end-to-end solution. Make it look close to outlook with the same features and we will have a winner, and please do not suggest eM Client, as that has to be the worst client I have ever worked with.

IMAP is not the solution either as the users cant use the calendar and contacts the right way, and here again the Sharepoint option is not the solution but another problem the users experience when they receive meeting requests.

MAPI over HTTP(S) is that something ST is going to implement, so we can use that instead of EAS which do not work on bigger mailboxes?

On a more positive note I can only give HUGE KUDOS to:

Mailing list features (would like a user control option, for their own lists)
Report features (these are world class, and not even MS are close to accomplish this level of reporting)

2
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
We`re exactly in the same situation - we have users with 10+ GB mailboxes and they cannot sync properly with Outlook 2016 (how can we propose using the WebMail when they bought Outlook 2016 licenses?). Using ActiveSync will not work for emails and using IMAP will work fine for emails, but not for tasks, calendar, etc.. We are using a make-shift solution: Add in the user`s Outlook the same account twice: 1st with using ActiveSync, but only syncing back 1 month worth of emails, then another one using IMAP. This way the users with large mailboxes can continue using Outlook, but it`s a major hassle educating them why and when to use one or the other version of the same account in their Outlook.
 
SmarterMail desperately needs to implement MAPI over HTTPS, even if paid. I believe that all focus of SM`s developers should be solely on this until a satisfactory implementation has been achieved - afterwards bother with any other new features.
0
John Spackman Replied
@Tim Uzzanti, did you really just suggest that when bidding to provide an Exchange Server replacement, the client should be told they should switch to using Webmail or blanket upgrade to new version of Office on 200+ clients?? That has to be the clearest indication that you have absolutely no idea what it is like to be or to work with an enterprise customer (or just customers in general).

As to claims that this is all Microsoft's fault, well from Kenneth's explanation that is not the case because the customer switched to real Exchange and got their problems solved.

And by the way, I've been using Outlook 365 on Mac - which does not work with SM properly, perhaps in my case you would recommend I change operating system?

I'm wondering why on earth I pay for the license and support, if all I get is buck passing and buggy features.
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
There have been a few comments since my last post, so I’m going to reply to a variety of them in this post…
 
1) Microsoft has been changing Outlook 2016 for Mac often and it has deviated from the RFC a bit. As you an imagine, this is causing issues.  We have NOW finalized EWS internally based on the most recent update of Outlook and believe should have EVERYTHING resolved. These fixes and our various changes will be coming out in minor release very soon, but we’re still doing some internal testing.
 
2) With regards to my comments about the use of webmail...  My comments are just suggestions to help simplify your IT management.  Many people use webmail exclusively in addition to using clients on a mobile phone or tablet. This has been a significant trend in the corporate world because email servers such as Exchange, SmarterMail and a number of other mail servers provide more complete webmail solutions, and the flexibility and reliability of webmail far surpasses what you can get with a client. Plus, webmail is essentially agnostic as it only requires a web browser. In addition, management and maintenance of webmail has significantly less cost than the purchase of, and support for, email clients like Outlook.      
 
3) The cost of clients such as Microsoft Outlook can be prohibitive and managing them can be a big headache. Because of this, you find many users running legacy clients — Microsoft Outlook 2007 is a perfect example — which aren't even being supported by their developer which can open up users and companies to the potential of security issues and massive vulnerabilities. The most forward-thinking IT departments are ones that are introducing solutions that are OS/platform independent and require little to no management. Again, this is why webmail is often a solution and it’s also another reason that we are introducing an entirely NEW interface in our next MAJOR Release! 
 
4)  There is no doubt that users do have needs that can only be met with clients such as Microsoft Outlook or emClient, and clients on iOS, Android, etc. We test our products against tons of different clients and attempt to hit as many different OSes, browser versions (mobile and desktop) and more before we releases. However, while we can replicate browser and OS combinations, we can’t replicate user environments. Our internal tests using the same version of Windows and the same desktop clients can match yours — or your users’ — but we can’t replicate their combination of hardware, not to mention any third party products, antivirus, proxy solutions, etc. that are run. We test as much as we can as often as we can, make no mistake. However, there will always be issues/problems/situations we can’t replicate, much less anticipate. The same is true for any IT department within a company.  
 
5) With regards to EAS, we are aware of some instances of users having issues.  It isn't widespread but there are cases where EAS is having issues and are working with customers to understand why!  For example, I have a 50GB mailbox and use Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and every client you can imagine.  I have about 14 clients hitting my mailbox at all times.  I do this for testing and so that I'm VERY familiar with the experience each user will have with SmarterMail.   I don't have any of the EAS issues that have been reported and neither do millions of other users... but we definitely have a handful of tickets with users not working well and re-syncing from time to time.  This is being actively worked on.
 
6) We have been slowed a bit because we have so many resources on the new Interface and introducing the new API driven architecture of our products.  What we have done is pulled a significant number of resources from the re-design and moved them over to SmarterMail to ensure we have current versions of SmarterMail as solid as possible.  Expect minor releases over the next few weeks to address most of the concerns.
 
If you have any other items, let me know.
 
 
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Tim, enterprise customers do not want to use webmail. Even the newly redesigned Outlook Webapp is not always the solution for the customer either, that is why they pan out a lot of money to get Outlook as that is the defacto standard of enterprise email solutions these days...

Spend time on getting an enterprise solution from end to end to work. We really dont care how ST do it, we just want something that works is stable and reliable.

IMAP is not enterprise stuff, as these companies want to be able to sync their calendar and contacts also to their mobile devices.

I have customers with so many calendar appointments that they are not able to work if they dont have their calendar so full and are so busy. The life of a CEO from a company with 1,5 Billions in assets are a VERY busy man and also sought by of a lof of his employees...
4
kevind Replied
Tim, glad to hear that ST is focusing on enhancing the webmail experience. It's the right thing to do as desktop mail clients and protocols (IMAP, EWS) are becoming outdated. As you pointed out, email clients are expensive, difficult to set up, slow, and can't access the full feature set of the mail server.
 
My only request is that you don't impair or cripple the desktop UI so that it can run on mobile platforms. Create a webmail that is more powerful than Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. and people will stop complaining.
 
On our phones, we can continue to use an email app with ActiveSync as that's the best solution at this time. But you could make it even easier to use with this simple enhancement.
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
I too would like to see an improved WebMail in terms of functionality and not necessarily interface. But please do not ignore MS Outlook compatibility, since that is what a lot of businesses is using and it will take time to convince anyone to use something else.
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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
The Microsoft Outlook variations are getting a lot of attention right now. The EWS implementation is going to be much more solid now that Microsoft has slowed down their changes. Also, EAS implementations are going to be much faster which hasn't been critical for mobile but when Microsoft Outlook for the desktop requests ALL messages and attachments, it has been a concern. I was Microsoft would include the ability to leave attachments on the server in Outlook.... That would solve a LOT of issues for users and is a much more practical solution... to pull down attachments as needed. The minor releases will be coming soon. Also, we will be showing the new Interface in the coming weeks. Also, the new interfaces will be MOBILE friendly and we will be eliminating the trimmed down mobile interface we provide today. Lots of things going on concurrently here!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Hello!

I like this idea: "Why dont SmarterTools create their own email client with support that works, it would also be a selling feature as MS charge a fortune for their Outlook client. Then ST would be able to provide an end-to-end solution."

I do not agree on the opinion of em client and should be a good partnership for smarter email, Microsoft is always creating new problem with Outlook, maybe a email client its a battle that you should consider.

0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Its a LOT of effort to make a mail client and why companies either make a server or a client but not both.

We are required to make a webmail client as part of our offerings and provide the 9 million out of 15 million users who use webmail on a daily basis a desktop level experience. This is where our efforts are so that we can reach customers across Operating Systems, Tablets, Mobile and hope to even have offline features in the near future.

Microsoft is actually doing a good job with the Windows Mail client provided with Windows 10. I see that as being an alternative for many companies as they look to avoid the costs of Microsoft Outlook.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Tim, offline feature its a great idea, but the webmail interface it a bit far from that should be. We having hard times with SM in last months but we love the product and the company. But we need more features in the software, better scalability and a better Webmail interface. For example with a medium installation its not easy keep a good experience in webmail when we have heavy server load, the response time for server its ok but the webmail response its slow compared with an desktop client. Its not easy to work all day with Webmail. I understand that in the last months with all this thinks around outlook should consume the alot the team, but after this period please take some time to think in a better scalability and beter user experience. Change this "old" web interface and update some technology behind.
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
SmarterMail uses whatever resources your server has avaliable. Webmail uses very little resources on the server... less than most protocols. Sounds like we might need to look at the server and make sure your not running in to disk i/o issues etc. What features are missing from Webmail?
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Contact groups for one
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Kenneth Knudsen Replied
windows mail client is never going to be even close to what a serious company want these days. It is about being able to access data all the time and everywhere. There is a reason why some companies are willing to pan out whatever MS is charging for Outlook. We need to provide what the customers want, and not tell them what they can get. There is a demand and it is up to us to make sure we can deliver or the customer will find it somewhere else. This is a fact, and do we want the customers or not that is the question we need to ask? Not coming with excuses and explanations .... If we dont have the right product we need to go and get that product. And also pay the price, and there is only one to pay and that would the customer...
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
HI Tim,

2) SM users sometimes are offline, and don't have the possibility of read an email its not a great solution for most of users. But you are right that the user base of webmail clients its growing and is the trend. Because of this we need the ability of separate backend server and front end server, like in exchange. The scalability of SM cant end in the gateway service, (btw its not a great solution to handle spam I saw somewhere that we can't use payed antispam tools in gateways).
Talking about gateway it will be great that some users service can also can be done on gateways, like SMTP Auth service using the main server authentication (using the webservice). We are available to pay more licenses to distribute services.

3) I very anxious to see a Major release with Major new features! I cant wait to see new interface for webmail.

4) I understand your point, but the problem that ST introduced in version 15 in the combination Mac/outlook 2016 (EAS) it was strange, everything worked in version 14 and stop work in 15, and Mac/outlook 2016 it not a special unique combination.

5) We don't receive complains about size, but we had the bandwith problem and a large number of user that needed do delete accounts and re add. But I understand how hard should be dependent of EAS.

6) We need new features but what its critical its to get a stable version.
I still trust in Smarter tools and understand that this hard times its just a phase. Anyway from what I have seeing in last versions and the comments from SM clients you should discuss more with us the roadmap, involve more the community.

0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Kennith, you're all about making definitive comments but they're highly arguable. Keep in mind, we work with 30,000 Enterprises, Hosting Companies, Small Businesses etc. We have a a fairly good handle on the issues and concerns facing companies and what they're looking for. Windows Mail is becoming a full featured client and the companion applications Calendar, and Contacts are getting cleaned up a bit as well. If you're not in the Technical Preview, you should because the clients have been updated significantly. They offer offline work and can download entire mailboxes. Windows Mail is SIGNIFICANTLY more efficient than Outlook... and its free! It may never become Microsoft Outlook but that is a good thing, because 90% of what Outlook does is OLD and not used. Also, many new things are coming to Windows Mail like the ability to have ONE INBOX... which doesn't exist in Outlook.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
The new interface is being created with contact groups in mind as well as many other features which will become available in minors after the major release.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
The webmail interface is not being as flexible as Outlook is.. Take a look at how little you are able to customize the view. Then take a look at Outlook and you can get lost in views. People are different they want different things, some want a reading pane in their inbox, others only want a single line in their inbox, and Outlook enable them to do it. I agree for the majority of things Sergio brought up, but I dont see a big move towards webmail. Maybe we are working in different segments, larger companies want Outlook features and look, they do not want webmail and only uses it when not at their own computer for some reason. Webmail design is way overdue.... OWA recently changed theirs as the previous versions sucked also...
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Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Kevind, so you think the smartermail server has more features than Outlook is able to request? So please try and create a distribution list on the Smartermail server and see if you can see that in your address book in Outlook? It works fine on Exchange/Outlook combination. So if somebody wants to use that feature in SmarterMail they have to guess the email associated with distribution list for them to use Outlook. Oh, and I forgot you need EAS to get a properly working address book (sharepoint integration is not working), default calendar is not working with imap, as all appointments is stored locally and not replicated to the server ... Calendar is a very important part of a bigger company for them to keep track of their time and appointments. You cant create your own disribution list in Outlook and use it with SmarterMail. Dist lists all have to be created and maintained by the email administrator (that is a mess if you have 30 really active dist list users, all with their own little list)

what about email archiving, for some people very important, but again we end up with the email administrator to be able to pull this out for the user. And email archiving are everybody or nobody. It would be nice if we could enable email archiving on a user to user basis like we can with Active Sync.

You cant recall an message on SmarterMail

You cant make a private event in Outlook

0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
So windows mail will be able to sync contacts and calendar with Smartermail ? Which protocol is being used and how big a mailbox is being supported?
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
MS are not stupid, it makes no sense to me that they will provide a free client that can do the same things as Outlook. They are making big $$$ selling the outlook client - stupid to change that. My arguments are highly argueable, perfect as we need to figure out issues we have in terms of functionality and features we hear our customers are looking for. Features that need to be working, take a look at EWS (some paid for a feature not working)
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Windows mail supports only 3 protocols from what I can read: pop3, imap and SMTP, so no sync of contacts and calendar, no contact groups, not able to see another users inbox, calendar or contacts.... Maybe im wrong?
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Tim, yes we have some times disk i/o performance problems but its irrelevant for all services times in the server except the webmail that its slow in email operations like delete or change folder. When you use an email client every operation happens in background if you are in webmail you need to wait. In the first hours of the morning you need almost 5 seg for an email delete. If Webmail do this operation in asynchronous way (in background) the user experience will be must better. Like you can see in outlook.com. There are another features that i can point, but beside the performance experience i can point mobile/tablet friend, including a good touch experience (more used in tablets)
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Sergio, that is not true. All services and the entire server is impacted by disk i/o issues. Any slowness is related to accessing the messages on the system. Webmail is not the issue. Again, SmarterMail uses all the resources available on the system and normally disk i/o is the bottleneck because mail servers are mostly disk i/o intensive... not cpu or memory. SmarterMail is actually the most efficient across the mail servers in the way of disk i/o... That is why customers get so many more domains and users on a server compared to our competitors. During high disk i/o times, your customers request POP3, IMAP, EAS and all protocols will be delayed. You will want to resolve this before it gets too bad and your customers are unable to get their mail.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Kenneth, you are incorrect. Windows Mail supports Exchange ActiveSync. The reason Microsoft is having to provide a complete set of clients and functionality is because Apple iOS/OSX, Android and others are. It is now becoming part of the operating system.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Kenneth, you need to use the right protocol to utilize certain features. Its not because WE LIMIT IT but because the protocols don't support it. Yes, there are some features that aren't available in SmarterMail... but then there are features in SmarterMail that aren't in Microsoft Exchange. Microsoft Exchange also costs SIGNIFICANTLY more money than SmarterMail (tens of thousands of dollars and requires many servers)... and Microsoft Exchange can't be used by Hosting Companies and ISP's because it can't handle the number of users and domains that SmarterMail can handle... Yes, its true... We blow Microsoft Exchange out of the water! Kenneth, you clearly dislike SmarterMail and the overall experience. I don't think anyone can change your mind... Maybe you should purchase a Microsoft Exchange solution.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Wow, this has really gone downhill :)

I do not understand why it is so hard to grasp the fact that any "Enterprise" email service needs to be compatible with the no. 1 email client world-wide (MS Outlook). We understand the limitations of IMAP and ActiveSync - but it should not have reached this point. SmarterMail team also knew about EAS limitations, so it`s a mystery why MAPI over HTTP/S was not implemented (even as a payed add-on) to make sure Outlook would be fully compatible. Even if you say that SmarterMail has more features than Exchange and Outlook has features that most people are not using, guess what? You are mostly true. But also guess what? The problems we are facing are usually with the most busy people in each company for which we are hosting email, e.g. CEO, Sales, etc, and it does not matter that 1000 people in the company can use SmarterMail`s WebMail or use Windows Mail - when the CEO is missing appointments and cannot properly sync everything in his Outlook mail client - you will lose the whole company. For these people, their email and calendar, address book + notes and tasks are their whole life. When you cannot offer them a plug-and-play solution, they will move on to someone who can. Find a way to implement MAPI over HTTPS or anything similar to make synchronizing all of a user`s mailbox (50+ GB), calendar, address book, notes and tasks seamlessly with Outlook - even if it`s a paid add-on - and we can keep our clients, thus SmarterMail can keep making money from licenses.

Really, this is the no. 1 gripe with all of SmarterMail`s users - why not heed the voices? Each company that everyone is hosting has at least 1 higher-up that is unhappy with the move to SmarterMail due to this single reason.

PS: Before you also bash me that I hate SM, I can tell you that as an email systems administrator am 90% satisfied with the move from MS Exchange and other (mostly open-source) email alternatives to SmarterMail - the price is right and the features are very nice. But if our users have a problem, we have a problem, so these things have to be said. I really hope we can find a solution to EAS (or another means) of syncing large mailboxes to MS Outlook, and we need this fast. It`s only so much you can keep telling users to use work-arounds before they will start questioning your decisions.
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John Spackman Replied
@Tim Uzzanti, you still don't get the concept that upgrading a hundreds of employees to use a different piece of software is simply not an acceptable option. It DOES NOT MATTER how much better YOU think Windows Mail is in Windows 10, there is no way on earth you will persuade a corporate client to upgrade their computers and retrain their staff - especially if there is a question over reduced functionality. There will be huge objections across the business and IT will end up reverting.

I have clients who run mostly Windows 7 - what do you think they should do? Upgrade all those PCs to Windows 10?? Oh, and upgrade the PC hardware as well maybe? What about any client software that needs to be upgraded to work with Windows 10?

It's astonishing just how naive you are in this regard - Kenneth's original post was "we tried to upgrade a client from Exchange to SmarterMail, the problems caused the client to switch back to Exchange"

This is not because there wasn't a solution in which SmarterMail could be made to work, it was because there was not an *acceptable* solution. It sounds like "acceptable" is as simple as "it must work with Outlook", which is a hardly unreasonable requirement for a product which is sold as "The Ultimate Microsoft Exchange alternative".

Your response that the client is at fault because they are dumb, or Microsoft are at fault because they don't write software the way you would like, is ridiculous and insulting to the people who have trusted SmarterTools to live up to their claims.
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Sérgio Rocha Replied
Tim, We don't have a severe i/o problems, and you a right about great SM performance in i/o, but when we have a small delay in i/o for all services its irrelevant if you wait more 10 seg. for a delivery or to receive and email but the impact in the Webmail made all the diference. In this model the Webmail experience suffers to must when you have a minimum I/O delay, that's why you should consider the ability to have cache and asynchronous tasks to make the Webmail more resilient and independent from server i/o. With medium deployment, even with SSD you can't always have enough i/o available to not fell the slowness in Webmail. The security its not the only reason why Microsoft lets you split the frontend services from backend services, right?
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
John, at NO point have my responses been related to Microsoft Outlook shouldn't work. I have been correcting misconceptions related to certain protocols that have limitations and are intended to do certain things and what Windows Mail is capable of doing and that it supports EAS etc.. Also, I have been passing along our experience and expertise in supporting 30,000 companies and 15 million users.... and the direction companies are going to simplify IT management etc.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Sergio,

Webmail can be moved to another server... but your issue is DISK I/O when accessing the messages on the mail server.

Webmail takes essentially no DISK I/O itself.

Think of it as running a SQL client on your desktop. The SQL client takes no resources on your desktop because all the calls are being made to the SQL server and that is where the processing is to query the database. The same is true with Webmail... all the work is done on clients browser and were only making calls on the backend to get the messages.

Hope it helps,

Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Lionel, Why would I bash you? You are providing productive information and starting a reasonable conversation.

You reference busy people... I'm the CEO of a good sized company and am one of those BUSY people and also attempt to participate in conversations in the community. When customers aren't having productive conversations and jump all over the place just to RIP us a new one... then I have a low tolerance... because we care about your experience and we care about everyone of our customers businesses succeeding.

As I posted previously, if your having an EAS issues, please let us know. The issues are more unique than common. We have a millions of people using EAS with no problems... including Microsoft Outlook etc. We need mailboxes that are having an issue so we can fix a specific problem. Often, the issue is a combination of clients that cause an issue.. for example a particular phone which corrupts a calendar even and then its gone across the board.

I have responded to the EWS comments.

In regards to MAPI over HTTPS. That is something we are evaluating. In Exchange 2013 it was awful. Since then, it has been dramatically improved. We already do use many of these API calls when doing mailbox migrations from Exchange.

Right now, our priority is to solve the handful of EAS issues that we have in support right now. We have dedicated development resources to the problems and want that experience to be perfect for everyone.

In regards to the other clients etc. We are passing along the trends that we are seeing from a LARGE customer base. We are reporting the requests we are getting from sales and IT departments about simplifying their deployments. We are trying to educate users on the status of clients etc... for example.. a customer two wasn't aware Windows Mail had full EAS support.

This topic is all over the place because the comments continue to expand and we attempted to answer them.

Thank you for your comments,

Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
We actually have only 8 tickets right now in support for EAS concerns.
 
I don't see any tickets from the people in the community.
 
If you have a mailbox with an issue, please start a ticket in support.  We can't fix issues that we don't see.  Please provide Outlook version, Operating System, Desktop or Laptop.  Does "I" happen when connected to WIFI, LAN, or Hotspot?   Any ideas on how to reproduce the issue etc.
 
If you have a ticket number, please private messages me the ticket.
 
Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Kenneth Knudsen Replied
Tim let me get one thing straight, I do not hate ST or SM, just very dissappointed in the missing enterprise support. One thing SM/ST has done perfect is the reporting, Exchange is not even close on those things, and I like to be able to see what is going on, and also identify users there is either being spammed or spamming. I know different protocols are used for different things, but the only protocol for an enterprise would be EAS, unless they do not want to sync their calendar, contacts and notes. But suggesting using Windows Mail for enterprise is a little far reached in my opinion. But I will get a Windows 10 and see what this is all about.

And yes I did actually buy Exchange as I need to provide customers not being able to be hosted on the SmarterMail, something they are asking for.

It hurts me to send $$ to MS when I could have made more $$ for the company and ST as well in increased licenses. It is also time consuming reporting to MS every month how many clients have been on the Exchange server... I do not need to do that with SM.

If I could host all our customers on SM we would !!! We make more $$ that way, and as I suggested if ST made their own desktop client we would be happy to buy that one to, as we would like to be THE ALTERNATIVE TO EXCHANGE.,...
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Anyone having issues, also run this tool from Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36852
 
This tool will evaluate Outlook and crash dumps to understand why an issue might be occurring.  There have been instances where it will say ... "Calendar item xxx crashed Outlook and is fixed in Outlook update xxx.xxx.xx".
 
It can also help with re-syncs etc..  
 
But, we need tickets and mailbox to understand issues.  
 
Thanks,
 
Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
We have one ticket open, but i don't mind to wait little more, no especial information needed, just install Outlook 2016 on MAC and you will find that EAS dont work on 15 version.
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Sergio, that is EWS and we have that resolved and will be out in a minor shortly.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
So, we reproduced a problem where Outlook deleted the message in the client and it did not delete on the server.  SmarterMail never received the request for the delete.. outlook never sent it!  Not sure how we missed this before but check out all the complaints on Microsoft's site related to the same issue and with Office365 and Exchange:
 
 
 
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Wanted to provide a final post prior to the weekend.
 
We have been able to reproduce the issue a number of times today.  Microsoft Outlook decides not to send delete requests to the server.  Microsoft Outlook will delete the message out of Outlook but will forget all about telling the server... while all other actions by a user (deletions, new messages, moves etc.) all working normal 
 
This seems to be a common issue on the Microsoft Community.
 
We are going to spend a little more time next week and will open a case with our Microsoft Representatives to get a solution from the Microsoft Outlook team.
 
Have a good weekend,
 
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Sorry Tim, yes it's EWS. For now EAS and IMAP its stable again. But we had alot of problems with IMAP and EAS in the last months, if we have a problem again and the client can wait i will open a ticket for support can analyse.
0
Brian Ellwood Replied
99.9% of the time we are simply either told, its added to the list or its been addressed... ST is very closed about their internal development process and where things stand...
5
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
We are finding some bugs in Microsoft Outlook 2016 with EAS... which might also impact other protocols.
 
The biggest issue is with the "Manage Accounts" dialogue in Outlook.  When you delete an account and re-add the account, Microsoft writes all data to the wrong outlook data file as well as sending the old deviceID and the new deviceID to the server requesting DOUBLE the data and confuses Outlook from that point forward, resulting in random results when using Outlook.
 
We have reproducible steps and logging which we are providing Microsoft. This is reminding me of our Web Hosting days around 2000... working with Microsoft VERY closely on IIS and .NET.   We were in constant communication with their teams helping them with bugs as we were pushing the platforms to new levels.
 
We have a variety of other issues that we have discovered in Microsoft Outlook 2016... but we need to reproduce them in clean environments and eliminate the possibility of the "Manage Accounts" bug being the culprit.
 
More to come....
 
 
 
 
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Thank you for keeping us informed. We are eagerly looking forward to a minor version with improvement to EAS for Outlook 2016.
3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
A SmarterMail 15.x minor will be released tomorrow!
 
This release will include many EWS fixes for Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Mac. There will be some fixes for EWS related to em Client as well. Also, there will be a few EAS fixes as well for Microsoft Outlook 2016 on Windows.  
 
More details will be available in the release notes.
 
Were not done, this is only the start.  We have some tickets still remaining from customers.  We have isolated a couple bugs in Microsoft Outlook 2016 on Windows and working with Microsoft to resolve them.
 
Thanks,
 
Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Glad to hear that EAS issues with Outlook 2016 are being fixed!

We`ve been holding up the upgrade to 15, but will probably do it after these fixes are implemented. We`re keen to test them out and see the results.
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
This isn't everything. Its a quick minor to release some of the EWS and EAS fixes. We have some other issues to look into but we also need to get Microsoft moving on a couple of them which are impacting all customers using whatever mail server when configured with EAS. I have been using EAS with Microsoft Outlook 2016 on Windows with almost no issues prior to this release. I am seeing better results overall. The major fixes are with EWS and certain mailboxes that wouldn't load now work. We found certain scenarios where certain characters over EWS could cause issues. There is no longer a need for Send/Receive to be hit... push is working. We found some calendar quirks with EWS etc. We have touched every ticket that customers have sent in... in one way or another.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Thanks for the feedback.
0
Sérgio Rocha Replied
Thanks for the feedback.
0
Joakim Ribb Replied
Hi Tim,

We have started tickets for EAS-sync issues, but your support doesn't seem to be able to handle this. We experence EAS-problems for users on daily basis (including my own mailbox).

We have the issue both in OL2013 and OL2016. Upgrading to SM15 does NOT help (rather the opposite..)

B.r
Joakim
B.r
Joakim Ribb

South Brains AB
www.southbrains.se
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
We`ve updated to the latest version (v15.2.6039) for some time now, but unfortunately EAS and Outlook 2013/2016 issues continue. New accounts that we create work OK for a while, but after they amass a few thousand items, synchronization is flaky. For larger mailboxes (5GB+) it`s barely usable.

Honestly, I have to say that EAS sync has improved a bit in 15.1 and 15.2, but it`s not there yet and user complaints keep coming in. What I have noticed is this: EAS sync works fine with mobile clients like Windows mail (and I mean perfect!), even for ~ 10GB mailboxes; but with Outlook 2016, if you read an item there is a 50% chance that the item will not be marked as read in the Webmail. Same if you move an item to a folder, but here we can see a less that 30% chance that an item moved in Outlook will actually be moved in the Webmail. Tasks and contacts seem to work OK too, as well as Flags, with the mention that in Outlook flags have at least 3 states: Flagged, Unflagged, and Marked as complete. In Webmail email will appear as Flagged if it is Flagged or Marked as complete (the green tick mark) which is a problem.

@ SM Dev Team: any roadmap on improving EAS Sync with MS Outlook? With no updates and no word of a definite resolution for these issues, I doubt I`ll get an OK to renew the licenses and will have to move off of SM starting this fall. Personally, I think it would be a shame. Can these issues be fixed, or is EAS sync with OUTL simply hopeless on SmarterMail?

0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Lonel,

I run Microsoft Outlook 2016 through Parallels almost exclusively on my Mac. I have 6 accounts connected of which 5 of them are on SmarterMail servers using EAS. Many of my mailboxes are 10+ GIGS or more. I believe Outlook is managing about 125,000 messages.

With that said, I have NO issues. I'm running the recent Microsoft Outlook 2016 and clearly we have the latest and greatest SmarterMail installed.

In regards to Flags. When I mark a message in Outlook it will show unread in Webmail. When I mark a message as Flagged on/off it shows in Webmail. I just tested that on our existing Webmail interface and on our NEW interface that is coming soon.

Here is something you may not be aware of. Microsoft Outlook will NOT send an update "MOST CLIENTS WONT" to update the status of a message until a new message or a bigger action occurs on the mailbox. This is done for bandwidth purposes.

Running Outlook on my Mac through a VM as well as other Windows applications I will get crashes in Parallels. Even with these crashes Outlook runs like a champ and doesn't have problem keeping things in sync. In addition, I travel a bunch and often on crappy internet connections and I have seen no issues.

If you have a ticket with our support department on a particular issue or have more details. We would love to look into it.

Keep in mind, there was another Microsoft Outlook issue that would totally hose up a mailbox if you added two accounts at the same time... meaning you added them to Outlook without closing Outlook and then added the second. Again, this was a Microsoft issue.

I know we have a ticket by a customer that was all over us about EAS being an issue with Outlook 2016. But, the issue is actually related to the customer importing a bunch of mail on a particular day. There is a solution to their issue but it wasn't an EAS issue and often that is what we point out to people.

Its all about the details and if there is something we can fix from a code standpoint... we want to do it... if there is a way we can educate a customer more about how things work... like delays in certain commands in EAS etc... we would love to do it... Each and every protocol has its quirks.

Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Joakim Ribb Replied
Hi Tim,

As stated earlier - we also have this issue.

Please check with Rod, we have an ongoing case regarding EAS sync issues. Problems have gotten worse with SM15 not better..

Clients having problems are connected with anything from ADSL (6Mbit/s) up to 1GBit/s fibre connection.

I know that there have been issues with international characters before like SM cannot get outlook to show correct encoding in the emails (even though it works on other email platforms, we have many examples of this after migrating customers to SM), international characters in folder names won't sync properly etc etc.

Maybe some of the issues occuring are due to the fact that we are using international characters, and those who isn't aren't having any problems..?

B.r
Joakim
B.r
Joakim Ribb

South Brains AB
www.southbrains.se
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Joakim,

I am familiar with your ticket(s).

Yes, there is an international character issue in folders that the development team is working on.

We are looking into the account you have that was imported from another server in July. Depending on the source server on imports depends on how dates/times are available. That was also passed to the development team and we have the group files for that. As we showed you when it is loaded in IMAP is shows the same dates. This isn't an EAS issue. This is related to the import process.

Regarding the comments you have made about different clients not in sync. The time in which they sync is very much based on clients not SmarterMail. Although I am using Outlook 2016 regularly because I wanted to be VERY aware of any issues if they existed... I also have 3 phones, 2 tables and 3 other computers and a variety of sync protocols connected to make sure everything stays in sync.

If someone is using Outlook 2013 on one computer and someone is using Outlook 2016 on another. The clients will show different messages at different times because the clients are programmed differently and update on different intervals. As in my previous post to Lonel, Outlook 2016 will not update a Unread/Read or Flag status to the server until a new message gets delivered. But, if you changed the status in an IMAP client connected to your mailbox and make one of those status changes it will contact the server immediately (in most cases).

The difficult things about Outlook 2016 is that you could delete 50 messages and then close the program thinking it would send that to the server.... but it won't... it will do it when it wants to and most likely when a new message comes in. This is all Outlook's doing and not SmarterMail. I have a tendency to his send/receive in Outlook when I do certain things in the client because it can force some actions but not always.

On a much more positive note... Microsoft is doing a better job and fixing a number of their issues but you need to make sure your users are on the latest versions because previous versions were VERY buggy. Microsoft even screwed up IMAP for awhile in Outlook 2016.

The biggest bug Microsoft had was when adding multiple accounts without closing Outlook in-between. Who would think Microsoft would have such a simple bug... but they did and it was causing multiple SYNC keys to go to every account added which would totally screw up a mailbox in Outlook. It looks like that issue is fixed now but were not 100% sure because we have seen some strange behavior.

Here is what I suggest. Make sure all your clients are using the latest Microsoft Outlook 2016 (that they are up to date). Install the update we give you for international characters in mail folders. Have a user delete their accounts in Outlook and add one at a time and let them full SYNC. I would close Outlook in-between adding accounts just to be sure that bug doesn't exist.

I've been in this business for a long time and built one of the worlds largest Windows Hosting Companies back in the early 2000's. The reason we grew and did so well back then was because we accepted the fact that we had to work around Microsoft's issues in order to succeed. Unfortunately some of that still exists today. We find Apple and Google do a bit better in their releases than Microsoft. We do find Samsung though in areas they modify in Android etc.. have similar issues to Microsoft.

Most of our work with our customers isn't normally a SmarterMail issue but finding the unique issues with individual clients or configurations... but then again we also have bugs from time to time... Thats why we are here and responsive in the community and in support... to help customers though the issues.

Hope this helps break down your issues and give you some guidance.

Thanks,

Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
To follow-up with multiple clients connected to the same mailbox. There are scenarios that do cause issues because clients are trying to do more and more. For example, Outlook is now adding Calendar appointments to calendars automatically. Apple's Mac/Cal are starting to do it as well. We have customers contacting us that we are duplicating appointments in their calendars but its not us... its the clients!

When people try fixing this and delete one of the calendar items they delete one that was only local and not sent to the server. All of the sudden, people have NO calendar appointments on the server. Again, they think the server now lost a calendar appointment.

What is the point of this comment...

Managing a mail server and helping your customers with all the clients out in the world can be daunting! We are here to help!

What we ask is... not to jump the gun and think its always SmarterMail causing and issue... because most of the time it isn't... We all can be much more productive when were working together and not against each other..

Thanks,

Tim
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
As a small business consultant for 100 of businesses, and being a Smartermail user since version 6, and an Exchange Server user since Exchange 2003, and right now Office 365, I have to say that Smartermail just doesn't cut it to be an Exchange server replacement, from an end-user perspective and experience.
 
Having said that, I do personally feel that Tim and his Team at Smartermail are doing an EXCELLENT job in getting Smartermail to be what it is today.
 
From a business, management and infrastructure management/angle as well as from a cost-factor point of view, i do think that Smartermail triumphs over Exchange in many-many ways.
 
As for the extreme pain that @Kenneth faced in the original post, I do feel that the management of client's expectations could have been better.
 
There is no way (at this juncture) that Smartermail can REPLACE an exchange connectivity when the eco-system is intended for Exchange email services. However, over time, and should there be a mail-client tool introduced, I believe a contender can surface and it will be SmarterMail.
 
Any-how, this post is an excellent read to understand viewpoints and limitations, and upgrade issues between Exchange and SmarterMail. Certainly a good read, just that both sides (angles) need to be considered when deciding the best solution for our client's business. :)

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