Has a release timeline been set for the SmarterMail 17.x?
Question asked by Michael Breines - April 11 at 10:12 AM
Answered
Is a rough release timeline available yet?

46 Replies

Reply to Thread
1
Gabriele Maoret Replied
I would also like to know in particular when a beta will come out that contains MAPI support ...
We are waiting for this to do some tests, until there is MAPI support unfortunately I can not dedicate time to debugging ...
0
John Marx Replied
I agree. Tentative timelines are better than no time lines.
0
Michael Breines Replied
bump
7
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
This Friday we are releasing another BETA.
 
In 2 to 3 weeks were releasing a VERY IMPORTANT BETA that will have all the backend functionality to support MAPI.  This will change the way we store all configuration files and data in SmarterMail.  We are eliminating almost all XML configuration files at the System, Domain and User levels by using SQLite.  Team Workspaces and Mailing Lists were already implemented in SQLite but even they are being rolled into a single SQLite database per Domain!  These changes drastically reduce the number of files, File I/O and Memory.  We have introduced a much more optimized memory caching layer instead of the MANY CACHES we have that were added or built over the years.  
 
After releasing some BETA's stabilizing all the backend changes we will then release the MAPI protocol, allowing customers to use Microsoft Outlook.
 
Between SmarterMail 16.x and 17.x, SmarterMail will have been completely rewritten using all the latest technologies and will have allow us to focus on the remaining work we have to offer Clustering and a Linux version.  
 
This is a major milestone for SmarterTools and we're extremely excited!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
echoDreamz Replied
Oh this is a massive turn on lol... CLUSTERING!?!?! WHAT!?!?!? I dont even care about MAPI now... Tell me more about this clustering you speak of lol.

Christopher

0
Scarab Replied
<3 You had me at mention of a Linux version <3

(Although I agree with echoDreamz that Clustering is an entirely welcome turn of events for the future as well)

I guess it's time to spin up some VMs and get ready to give the Beta a spin!

On a separate note (remembering the days of going from SM v7 to v8 when you last changed the way accounts and domains were stored): is there a rough estimate of how long conversion of domains and accounts will take?

I also assume that once migrating domains and accounts to SQLite is done that rolling back to a previous SM version (i.e. v15-16) will no longer be an option, correct?
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Scarab, Yea, no rollbacks as has been the case with a few versions throughout SmarterMail’s history. You would want to restore the server if there were any issues. But, that is the reason were having an extended BETA and releasing features in phases so they are really tested and our developers are responsive to the feedback!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
echoDreamz, I had a customer private message me in the Community who was concerned that some of my previous comments could make people think that SmarterMail, in its current state, isn't high performing. He runs thousands of domains and tens of thousands of users on a single server today with SmarterMail 16.x, so he knows how well it does perform. I really appreciated his comments and said I would clarify some items to try and remove that doubt...

1) If you were to run competing products, using the same hardware similar, SmarterMail would allow you to host significantly MORE domains and users because we had built SmarterMail to reduce File I/O and evolved the product significantly over the years compared to our competitors.

2) Some of our customers, who run hosting companies, have used our competitors in a clustered mail solution and had nothing but issues. In some cases, they never want to try a clustered solution again and appreciate how much they can get out of their hardware with SmarterMail.

3) With centralized storage solutions becoming a little more cost effective and significantly more capable, now is the time for us to introduce clustering;

4) Introducing a Linux version of SmarterMail (which will run on the same code base as Windows) makes even more sense for clustering. Not only is Linux about 65% of the market but there are almost no solutions other than open source or Open Exchange that would could compete against SmarterMail, especially from a price standpoint. (Licensing as well as hardware.)

The SQLite changes will further improve the performance of SmarterMail as I explained in my previous post. In future versions you will be able to provide a database server for Domains instead of having it local.

The future SmarterMail will have a ton of different ways it can be used and when doing a clustered solution you will be able to have a variety of database servers for configurations of domains as well as centralized storage servers for actual mail storage along with putting an unlimited number of SmarterMail servers on the front end.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
echoDreamz Replied
While not an ST dev, I can 110% guarantee that once your install migrates to SQLite that there is no going back to your previous build. Unless of course you had backups to roll back to. Though if you are as large as we are, rolling back is simply not an option.

Since the config files I would assume would be gone once successfully migrated to SQLite, rolling back would mean that v15-16 would need to know of these databases and know how to use / read them to dump them back to their respective config files, which honestly, would be a bit counterproductive.

Nice to see a "database" system being added in though, like Exchange's ESE, I always wondered why there are so many different configuration files, flat files etc. for SM to parse through. Rather than just using some sort of a RDMS or SQLite type storage system for config params etc.

Clearly from an editable view, editing a .json or .xml file is FAR easier, but opening a .db file etc. with something like Navicat is not a big deal either.

Tim, what web server are you planning to support under Linux? As well as what Distro(s)?

I dont take from SmarterMail that it is high performance, but wow, SM16 has been nothing but constant problems, constant crashes, constant stalls and other issues that have required your poor devs working overtime on design changes etc. Right now we've been fighting an issue for months now, which has finally came to the last 10 days of daily SM stalls requiring us to reboot the server. It seems as our server is getting larger SM is struggling to keep top with our load. Gots to give props to Von-Austin though, the man is a one-man support machine.

SM 17's performance increases for us will be a MASSIVE welcome and cannot come soon enough.

Christopher

0
echoDreamz Replied
Tim "The future SmarterMail will have a ton of different ways it can be used and when doing a clustered solution you will be able to have a variety of database servers for configurations of domains as well as centralized storage servers for actual mail storage along with putting an unlimited number of SmarterMail servers on the front end."

By saying "database servers" are you saying that SM will eventually support more than just SQLite for configuration storage?

Christopher

0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Yes, in a future Major version each domain will be able to be assigned a database server for configuration information. In that same major update we would have finished a couple other conversions such as the STAT files and the Protocol Sync files. There will be a significant reduction in File I/O.

The reason everything is in XML or JSON is because no technologies were available 10 years ago that could handle thousands of domains and tens of thousands of users like your Mail Server.

I am aware of your spool issue. I'm alerted of tickets and issues that extend a certain timeframe or response count. The support team also updates me on a weekly basis on unique issues. I am aware that we are now attempting remote debugging to narrow down the problem.

The emoji via EAS and Outlook can't be replicated. I think six of guys have signed up for the newsletter across a variety of SmarterMail servers to test and not one has had the problem.

I'm also aware that you were hit with the SMTP issues we had awhile back when we made SPF and Session Level changes mid SmarterMail 17.x. That project did not go as well as I wanted and I have had some discussions on how that was approached with the manager. It seemed like a smaller project but really had tentacles throughout SmarterMail. That is not something we are supposed to do in minor versions and should have waited for a Major version. I know there were a lot of request for the feature and the manager wanted to make some customers happy (many of which are on the community) but it needed to be in a Major and go through a BETA etc.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
echoDreamz Replied
The emoji issue is not limited to just Outlook, it also occurs within SM's web interface. Not just my Outlook, but others on our server as well. I've also installed a fresh copy of Outlook 2016 on a brand new VM and new emails come in with the ?? characters instead of the actual symbol.

10 years ago though, MySQL, SQLite and SQL Server were around. Though SQLite was not as mature as it is now. Though I am sure SM was not originally envisioned as running servers our size and larger, so there was no need for such datastore technologies.

I do like the idea of using a real external RDBMS, especially for being able to query things such as stats and building out reports externally without having to rely on SM. However I assume this new API will offer more access to SM and its data.

Speaking of the API, will SM 17 have full documentation on its new API? We'd love to have our control panel systems updated to support it, at least for basic ISP / hosting provider management capabilities.

Our biggest feature request in terms of admin side is FCDNS along with RDNS tests. We get a TON of spam from IPs that have a bogus RDNS name that resolves to no IP which a FCDNS test would fix. And this appears to be coming with SM 17.

Second would be the ability to add multiple outgoing IPs or IP ranges to a single SM server and have it rotate through them, instead of having to have multiple free SM installs acting as outgoing gateways. Though this does have the pro of lessening the load on the primary SM installation, but has the con of needing x more servers to act as gateways.

And third is a user request, we get SO MANY requests asking if SM has the easy ability to display a user or shared calendar on a website. Google has this where you just copy paste some code and walla, but SM you have the be a developer to understand how to do this and set it up. We have ISDs, bands, groups, event planning orgs etc. that would drop using Google in a heartbeat if we had this.

Thanks Tim for your continued responses and listening to the community!

Christopher

0
Von-Austin See Replied
Employee Post
echoDreamz,

The ability to specify multiple IP addresses as well as rotation order will be in SM17 as well. IP's will rotate based on a configurable failure ratio.
Von See
Technical Support Supervisor
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
echoDreamz Replied
Would be great if there was further config, such as rotate every x messages or just randomly rotate etc. rather than based only on failures.

Christopher

0
echoDreamz Replied
I'd also like to state that the issues with the nighly stalls eventually came down to something with Macrium's bare metal backup. Not exactly sure what is up with that, but it is something we are working on.

The emoji issue is still showing though, even on iPhones, so it is not exclusive to just Outlook.

Christopher

0
Robert Simpson Replied
As the original author of the System.Data.SQLite project, I approve of this message :)
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Robert, didn't know you were a customer. Impressive work on SQLite. It is has turned into one heck of a project!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
echoDreamz, I know you have brought up the idea before about having a link for a calendar. Can you please post that in a new Topic if it doesn't exist already so we can track it better. We would never find it again in just a comment.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Robert Simpson Replied
I live in Phoenix, as well. We could be neighbors!
0
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
Holy cow what are the chances! We are on the north-side, should visit sometime :)
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Robert Simpson Replied
Yeah you're pretty close to me. I'm up in Anthem. I used to work at the Honeywell on Deer Valley in the early 90's. There's a couple 4x4 places I visit near you. Sorry to derail the thread :)
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
This is wild and really shows how small the world can be sometimes. I worked at the same Honeywell right out of college and met my wife there. Worked primarily in the IT department but was lent out to Engineering for special projects from time to time. While working at Honeywell was also building a web hosting company on the side and it grew to be one of the largest Windows Hosting companies in the world at the time. As it grew we moved a few times, always closer to downtown to meet our bandwidth / fiber needs. Right before selling the hosting company we started SmarterTools and purchased an office building near Honeywell .... came full circle :)

Throughout the years I went to a number of the 4x4 and off-road places in the Deer Valley area. Spent way too much money at Screwie Lewie's!

Its all very interesting!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
kevind Replied
Here's an idea. Instead of clustering and a Linux version, just skip the OS altogether and make SmarterMail into an app that runs on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.
 
Leverage cloud services for built-in redundancy, infinite scaling, great security, and low cost.  Plus you could take advantage of new features like AI and blockchain.
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Hmm, while a native SM version for cloud would be nice, there are some, like us, that prefer installing it directly on their own servers - Linux preferably. We purposefully avoid using cloud services as much as possible and I am sure there are plenty of people like us.

But do not skip the Linux version and clustering if building a version that works directly on cloud.
0
kevind Replied
Good comments. Just curious, are you an ISP or hosting provider and sell email services? Or do you purchase SM for internal use at a company?

Many companies are looking at G Suite or O365 and it will be hard for SM to compete with those big guys who have hundreds of developers. Need to find a niche.
0
Michael Breines Replied
Sounds then like a June or July release?
0
echoDreamz Replied
We are an ISP / Hosting provider, there will be no AWS or Azure anything in our future. No thank you. We run our own equipment, racks, switches etc. Dont need Microsoft of Jeff for that :)

Christopher

0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
We are not an ISP - we host SmaterMail ourselves on our equipment for our internal company users, as well as provide email for a couple partners we work with. Again, I see the benefit of SM being able to run on AWS, for example (although we avoid the cloud, we did use their services for some projects and will do so again when needed). But I think a version of SM that would work on Linux would be much more useful, especially with clustering support.
0
viv burrows Replied
We are also an ISP / Hosting provider, there will be no AWS or Azure anything in our future. No thank you. We run our own equipment, racks, switches etc. Dont need Microsoft or Jeff for that :)
0
Gabriele Maoret Replied
We are both ISP and IT Managers for customers. We need SM on premise, not AWS things...
0
jev.sapasap Replied
Hello,

I hope SM17 will be able to accept message format attachment is supported within the web interface. As the attachment is shown below.

=======
begin 666 03631800.068
M#0H-"@T*#0H@341#("T@,#,V,R!-87)I:VEN82!#:71Y($)L=64@5V%V92!-
M87)Q=6EN=&]N(#(@(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @4"Y/+B!.;RX@+2 T
M,#,V,S$X,# P-C@-"B!"4D%.0T@@3U)$15(@1D]2($1)4D5#5"!055)#2$%3
M12!)5$5-4R @(" @(" @(" @<&%G92 M(" @,0T*(%9%3D1/4B M(%)!34]3
M0T\@3$]'25-424-3($E.0R @6R W.30T-5T-"B!/M,#4O,C Q." @(" @,34Z,S,Z,3$@(" @(" @=C)R-BXQ(# R+3(V+3(P,3@-
M"B @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" -"B @(" @(" @(" @
M(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" -"@T*(" @(" @(" @(%9%3D1/4B @("!/
M4DE'#0H@("!)5$5-(" @(%!23T0@(" @(%%.5%D@(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @
M(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @4%))0T4-"B @($-/1$4@(" @0T]$12 @(" @($]2
M1" @($1%4T-225!424].(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @1D%#5" @(" @($-/
M4U0@("!%6%1?0T]35 T*#0H@,SM8F5T87-O;"!6;FQA(#$X,&<@(" @(" @(" S(" @(#,@(" @-C,V+C,Q(" @
M(" V,S8N,S$-"@T*(#,W.# T,C4@(" @(" @(" @(" @(" Q($1I86)E=&%S
M;VP@0VAO8R Q.#!G(" @(" @(" @,R @(" S(" @(#8S-BXS,2 @(" @-C,V
M+C,Q#0H-"@T*(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @
M(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @(" @5$]404P@+2T@(" @(#$L,CM#0H-"B @4%)%4$%2140@0EDZ34A%04Y.($1)4U0N,C$@(" @(" @(" @(" @
M(" @#0H-"@T*("!.3U1%1"!"63H@35,N34%22450150@02X@34].1$%,02 @
M(" @(" @#0H@(" @(" @(" @(" @("A"4D%.0T@@34%.04=%4BD-"@T*#0H@
1(" @(" R(&QI`
end
0
Emmet McGovern Replied
We're a service provider. We use plenty of cloud services as a managed/hybrid option. Our growth in this sector has far outpaced our internal rack and switch side of the business.
0
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
Pushing towards a Linux version also means cheaper hosting for cloud and if you are running just SmarterMail on a Windows machine, then it could save you the Windows licensing cost as well. Running on Linux will also allow easier containerization of SmarterMail and its parts as well. There are many advantages to supporting Linux.
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
kevind Replied
Sure, I get the less expensive licensing and that's great. But if it's going to take another 6-12 months of development, I'd rather have that time spent adding features.

There are basic features that SmarterMail doesn't have compared with other mail systems. For example, purging deleted items after 30 days which has been on the list since 2014.
https://portal.smartertools.com/community/a1088/feature-suggestion-modification-to-auto-clean-process-1.aspx

I'd prefer more features first. And I'm guessing you could sell more licenses based on features, not platform. Adding Linux will just get current customers to switch platforms, not increase sales.

4
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer
All, we will be releasing an updated BETA in a couple weeks.  The BETA should not be used in production.  All customers should restore production machines to a test machine and test the conversion process to the new database and file formats.  This BETA will solely be testing how the conversion process is working.  If you want to make sure your future upgrades work perfectly... this is your opportuinity!
 
The reason for the delay on this build is because we increased the scope of our conversions.  As I mentioned previously, we were going to wait for SmarterMail 18.x to convert certain files but we decided it would be best to do ALL files after seeing some of the benefits.  
 
In addition, were sending a six people to Microsoft for a week to work with Microsoft's protocol engineers.  This is being done specifically to review our MAPI implementation.  This project has been moving slow and steady but we need some face to face time to make sure everything is perfect.
 
We have been testing the conversion process internally on some VERY big installations and have had some incredible results.  After the initiation conversions we have seen:
 
A 50% speed improvement in startup time of SmarterMail.  This was way beyond what we originally anticipated and will be mostly appreciated on larger installs because in most cases SmarterMail loads almost instantly.
 
Were seeing a significant reduction in memory as we have eliminated many caches layers that have been added over the years. All database and file access is now running through one caching layer.  Were not sure how much of a benefit we will see but on system seeings, user settings, domain settings... its about a 60% reduction.  In regards to the mailbox data ... we don't anticipate that dropping much because of all the focus we have put into that over the years.
 
Since were a couple weeks late, I wanted to provide an update on why and some of the results were seeing.
 
Were in crunch mode now and the guys are working long hours to make this an incredible release.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Gabriele Maoret Replied
Hi Tim, more than 7 weeks have passed since your post in which you said that in a couple of weeks you would have released a new BETA.
Is there any news about it?
0
Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
We'll have a blog post out this week that gives some more details of where we are with things and a tentative timeline for the next BETA and full release. Stay tuned!
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Gabriele, the Blog Post will explain in detail some of the delays and things we have discovered. We wanted to have as much information as possible before providing an explanation. Were putting the final touches on the Blog Post!
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Gabriele Maoret Replied
OH, excuse me! I had not read the BLOG yet!
0
Michael Breines Replied
Any word on the new blog post that will provide a timeline?
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Probably tonight.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
Hi, All...here's the blog post. Sorry it's a little late..we've been here late the last few nights working on the Mail 17 release. No rest for the wicked, as they say.
 
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
Andrea Rogers Replied
Employee Post
Just an update for anyone subscribed to this thread.... Phase Two has been released! 
 

Andrea Rogers
 Communications Specialist
 SmarterTools Inc.
 (877) 357-6278

www.smartertools.com

0
Freek S. Replied
Will the Linux version be provided as Docker image as well?
0
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Linux is planned for an upcoming major after SM 17 . Major releases will be occurring much more often after this release, about every 6 months. The same will be true for SmarterTrack.

As we have re-written SM16 and 17 nearly from the ground-up, we did it with Linux and Clustering in mind. Linux will be our first objective. For a little more detail, we are transitioning our code to be more compatible with .NET Standard and .NET Core for complete flexibility.

I don't see why we wouldn't be able to provide a Docker image as well. Don't hold me to that until we actually implement because there are always gotchas. For example, we hit a snag with SQLite and MySQL for SM 17. In the end, it will actually be better but it did cause some delays. Good can always come from roadblocks and it really helped us re-evaluate even more of SmarterMail on this release than we anticipated.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
+1
thanks for the update!

Reply to Thread