MAPI Costs
Question asked by Paul R - June 6 at 11:17 AM
I'm excited to see MAPI support.  Really.  I have nearly as many users on Exchange as I do on SM, because EAS is a glorified kludge on the desktop and, at the moment, nothing beats Outlook + Exchange in terms of features and interoperability.  Getting a solid MAPI implementation into SM will give us options we don't have now, and I'm looking forward to that.

At the same time, however, the more things added means more upsells and nickel-and-diming. Upcharge for EAS.  Upcharge for EWS.  Upcharge for MAPI.  And it's not a one-time purchase, it's every year.  Things begin to look not quite as tasty in that regard, when you consider Exchange is a one-time purchase, unless you're a service provider and then there is no up-front outlay, just monthly SPLA fees.

The annual renewals for EAS, EWS, MAPI, can quickly exceed the annual support for the main product (SM) itself.

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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer

Not sure you understand the cost of Exchange vs SmarterMail.

For example a $100,000 in client access licenses and Exchange itself would be about $4,000 with SmarterMail.

If you compare 1,000 users on Office 365 for the most basic Outlook its about $50,000 a year and your still at $4,000 for SmarterMail.

So, SmarterMail is cents per mailbox and almost too inexpensive for what we provide especially when MAPI becomes available here shortly.  But what we try to do is make it as cost effective as possible so Hosting Companies, ISP's, Service Providers etc. can up sell additional functionality to their customers and create additional revenue streams.

A SmarterMail mailbox with MAPI, EAS and EWS will be around 20 cents lets say.  Now sell that for $1 a month vs $5 a month for Office365.

When Hosting Companies have 10,000 domains or customers which equates to about 100,000 mailboxes, that creates a lot of revenue opportunity and SmarterMail pays for itself many times over!

BTW, I didn't even include the cost of the hardware for Exchange which requires significantly higher end machines and MANY more machines than what SmarterMail needs.  In many cases the savings are over $100,000 just on hardware alone for Exchange vs SmarterMail.

Hope this gives a better perspective.
Tim Uzzanti
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
Paul R Replied
Sounds like I ruffled some feathers.  That was not my intent.  

To be fair, the cost varies wildly depending on industry.  My company does a lot of management and support services of customer-owned on-premise systems in the 501(c)(3) arena.  Charity/non-profit pricing from Microsoft is pretty much a give-away to qualified entities, subject to quantity limits.  So speaking strictly in regard to non-profits, the minimal acquisition cost of Exchange makes it cheaper than SM, with no annual support renewals needed to retain EWS/EAS/MAPI functionality.  SM is a tough sell in that space.

Quite the opposite, in the FOR-profit arena Exchange is monsterously expensive, so we're thrilled to see MAPI coming-- to give us a solid Exchange alternative with our for-profit corporate and SMB clients.  

EAS with Outlook has been a hard sell.  Honestly, it has.  Most of the customers we've put on EAS ended up cancelling the option, and went back to IMAP with CalDav.  EAS bugs were part of the reason (duplicate calendar items, etc.), the upsell cost was another.  We have a bunch of EAS licenses going to waste.  Even when we've given some of our preferred customers free trials on EAS, nearly all ended up sticking with IMAP/CalDav after the trial.

To its credit, SmarterMail is much easier to manage.  Exchange is bloated, a RAM glutton, and the databases consume tons of "white space" on disk that cannot be reclaimed without offline defrags.  We've had the occasional database spontaneously dismount, or refuse to re-mount after reboot, that no amount of repair attempts would cure.  Recovering a DB from backup has sometimes been the only option, with the obvious loss of new emails.  And despite Microsoft's hype, the web-based Exchange control panel (ECP) that replaced the Exchange Management Console, just plain sucks.  I would much rather manage SmarterMail servers.

With that said, I stand by what I said about the optics of add-on fees.  To get near the full-on Exchange experience, we'll need to purchase at least 4 separate SKUs, and renew them each and every year:  SM, EWS, EAS, MAPI.  

I get that many customers only want SM and nothing else.  But perhaps in the future, you could offer a package that bundles SM, EWS, and MAPI into a single SKU, with EAS being the only add-on?  Other than mobile devices, that single SKU would pretty much handle everything needed to hosting clients on Outlook, Apple/Mac Mail, et al.

Just a few thoughs, from someone who's been a happy SM administrator since version 3 (circa 2006).
Neal Culiner Replied
Small company use such as mine, maybe 10 CALS....

At some point there is a crossover. Hardware isn't expensive anymore, depending on how you acquire it (I buy used from ebay vendors), I don't know what the Azure platform offers. At some point you realize recurring costs and then something like MAPI gets added and you start seeing everything you have to get to get to a total solution to offer "mail". And then there's the situation of getting it right. And of course offerings such as gmail come into play that once upon a time was "gross" to use and now has become a viable and very reliable solution. 

You all work hard, you want money, just be careful as greed never wins in the end. I've seen companies such as ones that compete with you in the service desk space fail because they got greedy. 
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Let`s keep things fair here - barring non-profits, schools &co, Microsoft`s solutions cost a lot of $$$$$$ across the board. SmarterMail vs Exchage does not even compare in terms of pricing - and I say this while we`re also short of cash and cutting costs everywhere. We`ve moved with absolutely every service possible to Linux (repalcing paid services with open-source ones) from Microsoft - AD and SmarterMail are the only reasons we still have MS Server and pay CALs. We used to have in-house Exchange and it cost real $$$$$$; Office365 also costs a bucket-load of money.

MAPI took a lot of work and it does not bother us if it costs something, as long as it`s not too much - we will need it for our Outlook users. The same with EAS which is needed by ALL employees to sync their smartphones - but we only wish it would not work as flaky.

All in all, we`re impatiently looking for MAPI to be available in SmarterMail and after all the work it took I do not think it`s fair to ask for it to be provided freely. 

@Tim: a lot seems to be riding on this MAPI implementation so please make sure the team does a great job :)
Paul R Replied
I remind everyone who's commented, that my point is the optics of the upcharges.  I also remind everyone that I love SmarterMail, and have run SM servers every year (and every version) since version 3, circa 2006.  I've also administered Exchange since 2002 (versions 5.5 thru 2016), so I can speak honestly from both sides of the aisle.

Let's talk serious business email.  NOT free email you get with a webhosting account.  NOT basic POP/IMAP accounts.  REAL corporate/enterprise-class email.  We know that:

  • Email, Calendaring, and Contacts are mission-critical tools.
  • Serious corporate environments use Outlook.  No debate.
  • Some of our corporate accounts use Apple Mail.  Usually this is the under-40 team who convinced their manager or director to source Macs for the workgroup.
  • Extremely few enterprises use 3rd party email clients like Thunderbird or emClient.  Show me a corporate desktop without MS Office.
  • Webmail is for remote use, or those rebelling against the MS/Apple grip.

So what do we have?  First and foremost, Exchange.  It does everything.  Yes, everything.  Including mobile devices with EAS.  Natively.  No add-ons.  Period.  And it does it well and seamlessly.  And you pay through the nose for it.  But, I run Exchange for clients who want only one thing-- perfect function.  They don't want to hear about add-ons or workarounds or plug-ins.  No CalDav, no CardDav, no add-on EAS flakiness. They want to key their email address into ANY device, and... It... Just... Works.  They don't have time for games or calls to support, or apologies, or to be told we're opening a ticket with the vendor.  It better just plain work.  Believe it.

On the other hand, we have SmarterMail.  Humble roots, but it keeps getting better.  Better to the point we're ALMOST up to a genuine corporate-worthy implementation of MAPI.  I'm very excited for this.  

But, my goodness, all the things we have to do to get an "approximation" of Exchange.  We have to buy the mail server.  Then add EWS.  Then add EAS.  Then soon, add MAPI.  All of them, up-charges. 

Here's my wishlist:

  1. Let SmarterMail Standard edition remain as-is.  A good, solid mail server for the POP, IMAP, and Webmail crowd.  Great server for webhosting and other basic business needs.
  2. Let Smartermail Enterprise edition actually live up to its name-- ENTERPRISE.  Enterprise means it works out-of-the-box with the mail clients actually USED in enterprise environments.  Outlook.  Apple Mail.  It should include EWS and MAPI.  Period.  If you want to call it "Enterprise" then it needs to BE an "enterprise" class server.  If that means bumping the price tag up, then so be it.  We pay more when more has been poured into the product.  Just don't call it "enterprise" when it's not actually "enterprise" out of the box, without all the separately purchased add-ons.
  3. I get that EAS is sold by Microsoft per-user.  And I don't dispute paying for licensing as such.  But that should be the ONLY add-on for "Enterprise" edition.  

Notice that I never asked for EWS or MAPI for free.  I'm talking optics.  Bundling, and pricing appropriately.  Out-of-the-box server that is enterprise-ready, with no footnotes.

I know some have suggested any vendor that wants to survive in this industry must constantly innovate and improve.  Some have suggested MAPI should be included, just like other enhancements have been "included" over the years.  That's open for interpretation.

I'm simply airing my sentiments that you cannot call a product "Enterprise" when the only way to make it enterprise-ready is to buy add-ons first.  That's like selling a car but making the engine and wheels add-ons.

My $0.02.
Ionel Aurelian Rau Replied
Hey Paul, you totally have a point there when you put it like that. Indeed, having a version that`s basic but which can be customized with the add-ons vs one that is "Enterprise" that includes them all by default sounds good.

The only problem is that for example we do not support Outlook on MAC and do not plan to in the near future, so we`d like the Enterprise version, but without EWS (we also do not support Thunderbird nor emClient unless they want to connect via IMAP/POP). But I totally understand that it would be nice to have a version that lives up to the "The Microsoft Exchange Alternative" tagline - you purchase this, plug it in and all your MS Outlook clients are none the wiser about the back-end. 

Thanks for putting things in to perspective and we`re looking forward to the actual MAPI implementation and the licensing changes after that - hopefully there will be something for everybody and it will not break the bank :)
Heimir Eidskrem Replied
In your example you are using with 1000 users, you say the yearly cost is $4000.
The cost for Smartermail enterprise for 1000 users is $999, will MAP cost $3 per user or $3000 for server?

do you have a price for the product you can share?

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