back to article Email in the cloud

An application like email has the ability to swallow most of your time, just so it works as badly as it ever did. Oil and gas recruitment company Swift Worldwide Resources can't function without email, but spent long hours just keeping its creaking POP3 servers online. It solved the problem by switching to hosted email instead …


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  1. Andy Farley
    Thumb Up

    Already done it.

    Using the MS solution - it's been excellent. Also using the hosted Blackberry BES. Integrates brilliantly, has zero BB downtime and about 30 minutes email downtime in two years.

    About half my workforce is on the road at any one time so the cloud solution works really well.

    Now if there was just a way to get them to remember their passwords I'd be very happy.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Remote email?

      Blimey, that was when I first encountered SecureID cards for the first time - several years ago.

      Helpdesk for managers using remote mail and SECID cards - and people complain these days about the one-shot password devices from the banks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Must not be BPOS them

      ...because their BES support is crap and I've seen more than 20 minutes of Exchange downtime in the last month, and the month before that. If your support was crap before you moved (which could be the case, especially for a small shop) then maybe it's an improvement. For us it has been a step backwards.

    3. Caro


      Hi Andy,

      are you a member of the Microsoft UK Cloud group on LinkedIn? If not, you should join - I think a lot of people would be interested to hear about your experience of this....

  2. Monty Cantsin
    Thumb Down


    Coudy email! The future is sooo exciting! Now if only you could package that up and call it Hotmail or Gmail or something, I bet you'd be on to a winner.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Would I, Could I, Should I

    Absolutely. Then quit the company and run screaming from the building when the cloud disperses, becomes invisible, or goes into thunderstorms and the users cannot get to their data. I will stick a couple of IP cameras on the walls where large concentrations of users work just to watch the horror unfold.

  4. Spindreams

    How is this suddenly the "cloud"?

    Hosted email has always been their, how did it suddenly become "cloud" based, if you don't use your own server for email then your using someone else's. It is still on the Internet, although maybe in a data centre and not on a crap server in your office.

    This does not make it "in the cloud".....

    "Cloud hosting" should get the worst unexplainable hyped buzz word of the year.

    1. Elmer Phud

      'Internet' is oldskool

      'Internet' has the implication of cables and wires and chunky servers and stuff.

      'Cloud' is ephemeral, wispy, needs no cables - it's all fibre optic and that means it all runs on light alone, fairy dust, no ecological footprint, kind to baby foxes etc.etc.

      My first ever 'real' (not work) email address came from Talk21 (yup -BT/Yahoo etc.) and I've only ever accessed it through a browser. Even used to occasionally use BTClick to get mail from it (BTClick still works if you want dial-up at high cost and no password). I've had a Flickr account for years and used free on-line storage.

      Thinking about that I must have been a 'cloud' user for some time but never realised I was at the forefront of a technological breakthrough - gorblimey ferfuckssake donchaknow.

      Spindreams -- it's called the 'cloud' as they would like you to not look too deep in to it.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Cloud computing

        I can beat that. Doesn't the original CompuServe count as Cloud Computing? Access points all over the world, data held in various places?

        Come to that it's chat rooms predate IRC. It's forums were amongst the first ever (they tried to claim a patent on 'forum' I think at one time).

        My first CIS account went active in 1992 :)

        1. Elmer Phud

          Blimey, I feel old

          On a corporate level, in the old days at BT everything was connected to IBM mainframes via terminals and it had chat, email, storage, remore access - all you needed was to get to a terminal.

          The past is indeed rather cloudy.

  5. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    If your IT guys can't keep a handful of virtual / dedicated servers online, you don't have an IT department, more a cage full of monkeys.

    And you *can't* host entirely in-house, except for maybe a single set of mail servers - that's kinda the point of multiple MX records and redundancy. And if you *can't* manage a couple of virtual / dedicated servers doing email for a domain, then obviously anything "external" (cloud or not) is the way to go. It was called webmail. People who used it for business purposes were kinda looked down on unless it was an in-house webmail.

    The point is that if you want to keep your Data Protection Registration, you're almost certainly better off doing it yourself. Seriously, it takes about 10 minutes with Ubuntu, Postfix, Dovecot and a domain name with at least one MX record pointing to that server - though obviously a pro setup would take slightly longer - a single domain SSL certificate and a couple of lines in config files to make POP3 / SMTP use TLS, SASL etc. where applicable, spam filter, webmail interface etc.

    If you were having problems with this, then your IT department are unsuitable. If they threw you onto webmail, of course it's easier for them but someone, somewhere is doing the same job they should be and making a profit from you too. And don't tell your Data Protection guy that you have absolutely no idea who has access to those stored inboxs.

  6. jonathanb Silver badge

    Not new

    How is this different from Office Live or Hotmail Custom Domains? They have been around for ages. Or what about Hosted Exchange which is available from many different suppliers, or the email service provided by your ISP or hosting service, which has been around since the beginning of the commercial internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "what about Hosted Exchange which is available from many different suppliers"?

      Nothing other than the provider, terms and conditions... which are all substandard from an industry standpoint... but hey, it *is* cheap.

      "or the email service provided by your ISP or hosting service"?

      Bah, that's just "mail"... BPOS gives you *EXCHANGE* ; )

      To be honest, the industry really needs a Redhat for mail to give these guys (and IBM) a swift kick in the ass and get them innovating again from a platform standpoint. Their products are overly (unnecessarily) complex and they're not scalable. Hell, we're in the middle of putting in 200 Exchange 2010 servers for 50k seats. **200** There are also *way* too many bolt-ons needed for this stuff (anyone have to do compliance archiving, anyone interested in encryption, verified delivery, data dedup, or complex data retention requirements, etc? - how about A/V that runs as part of the product instead of underneath it?) - but Exchange still has it's legacy from MsMail holding it back, just the same way that Domino (the only other remotely competitive corporate e-mail player) has it's legacy holding it back (i.e. both were originally departmental solutions that keep getting scaled up - not built for purpose Enterprise or multi-tenant solutions).

      There are plenty of *nix-based Exchange alternatives, providing the same type of functionality for mail that Exchange does (i.e. runs MAPI and for all intents and purposes appears to Outlook as an Exchange server). If one good one gets traction in the market - at a commodity price - then it's going to burst those premium license rates for Exchange.

      1. Tom 13

        I think you found the nub of the problem:

        "If one good one gets traction in the market..."

        For all that it sucks, MS Exchange sucks less than the other solutions for most businesses. I'm working in a shop that uses one of those *nix-based IMAP mail solutions. It's a mess and they are looking to move it to the cloud to save money. Originally it was going to be an in-house conversion to Exchange, but somebody didn't plan properly and at the last minute a reviewer pointed out a hole in the plan that killed it outright. No official word but I think they suddenly realized they hadn't planned for backup storage and nobody thought through trying to back up the user's local archives. I think they've finally gotten the server situation stabilized after standing up some new mail servers (upgrades had been on hold because they were supposed to be replaced by the new system).

        The other obstacle is that Exchange has a good calendar client. We use an Oracle solution that is kludged to the mail servers. The whole thing sucks. They can't even tell me what the password rules are so we can inform users when they set their mail passwords. Just every so often when a user changes their mail password, calendar doesn't update. And don't get me started on the user interface. It's something only a command line guru could love, only it has a graphics interface and thus manages to offend both camps.

        You are right, especially about the AV, archive, and data retention requirements. Current mail solutions all suck for these items and if someone can produce a solution at a price point businesses can swallow they will be the next Microsoft.

  7. MH Media
    Thumb Down

    Gee thanks..

    Maybe I can get Ops to fit me a sound card so I can listen to these pearls of wisdom? C'mon, is the age of transcription dead?

  8. PartTimeLegend

    Wet Email

    If I put my email in "The Cloud" will it get wet?

    Mine's the one with the hood, to keep me dry.

    1. BritPad

      cloudless skies

      ...and can you still email someone located under cloudless skies of Spain during the summer ?

  9. T J


    You fooooooools. You poor, mad foooooooools.

    1. Dont use Exchange.

    2. Learn how IMAP works you IDIOTS.

    3. Run a decent redundant cluster.

    4. Dont use Exchange.

    5. Dont use Exchange.

    Simple really!!!!

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