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greg_m

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We are a mainly Mac shop , and have been using KMS/Connect for the last 4 years. Our 70 Mac users run Entourage, and we also have about 10 Windows clients running OL2007 and around 14 iPhones. KMS has been a stable and reliable platform for the most part, although I feel Entourage is a weak link. Lately however, we have been experiencing many more issues, including corrupted Entourage databases, duplicate and disappearing calendar events, emails sent from one account showing up in the sent items of another user, mail disappearing completely from a user's account, etc.

I'm wondering if we are just very unlucky here, or are we doing something fundamentally wrong. There don't seem to be that many posts by other Entourage users with similar issues, but then are we in the minority?

I'm considering outsourcing our email as we don't have the resources to keep fixing all of these issues, so the choice will be hosted Kerio vs hosted Exchange. Anyone have any real world experience to share here? Are there any hosting companies out there that really know this platform? The two or three VARs I've spoken to in the UK have not seemed very knowledgeable to be honest.

Any input greatly appreciated.
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tonyswu

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First thing I'd do is get rid of Entourage. Any way you skin it, Entourage is bad news.
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greg_m

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I would if I could convince my bosses that there was a viable alternative. We have recently tried Outlook 2011, and out of five test users, four have found that the application becomes unusable once you add in any shared calendars. Spinning cursor every few minutes. Maybe MS will fix this, but how long will it take them?

My staff have got used to the combined email/calendar/contacts environment and so Apple's offerings will be a hard sell.

Some colleagues have used Thunderbird, which works well, but again it doesn't have the polished UI and doesn't support calendars (I haven't tried Sunbird though).

Web mail is the only interface I think we'd get good reliability and performance from, but my users hate it. They have to use it whenever Entourage screws up, so I have had plenty of feedback on this.

It has been suggested to me that Outlook 2011 and hosted Exchange Server would be the ideal combination. I realise this is probably the wrong forum to ask, but any advice on this route?
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scottwilkins

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Suggestion: webmail. Kerio's is quite good and getting better. Sure they've tried it, but it's better than they realize if they'd really use it.
Also, I believe you can also use Mac's built in calendar with iCal? (I'm not a Mac guy, so just guessing)

[Updated on: Wed, 27 July 2011 16:28]

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p0ddie

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I am a Mac admin/consultant and looking at the entire pool of machines I manage(d), it's close to 500 individual Macs that came in touch with Kerio. So, I dare to claim I have experience.

Entourage sucks. Period. Worst piece of software ever. Outlook 2011, despite the new name, is the same crap. Repairing corrupted databases all over, sometimes losing data in the process (this observation is totally independent of Kerio, by the way).

If your people just can't deal with Apple Mail/iCal/Address Book (that combo works quite nicely with Kerio starting with 10.6.6 and above and the newest Kerio builds), then use web mail. It lacks some important features like searching for indexed message content, but it works reliably.

My favorite combo is Apple Mail/iCal/Address Book plus the occasional webmail if you need to adjust settings, like out of office replies, delegations, permission settings and so on.
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greg_m

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Thanks very much for all of your feedback on this. It confirms my conclusions on the quality of Microsoft's Mac offerings, and I have found plenty of evidence that things will not be much better with Exchange, as you say. So the question I have to answer is, which access method offers the best alternative, and what's in the pipeline?

Web mail might be a hard sell. If Kerio's web interface were as developed as Google's for instance, it would be easier. Here's an example why.

One of my Directors has his Entourage DB corrupt a couple of days ago. He couldn't spare the time for me to recreate his identity, so elected to use web mail until he was back in the office. Yesterday, I get a call. He has just spent an hour composing an email to a client, on the train, tethered via his iPhone. The signal dropped and he lost his email. Entourage would have stored the message in his out box. Gmail automatically saves drafts. See what I mean?

I will revisit the web mail client, as Scott suggests, and maybe Lion Mail has some killer features I can add to the mix. Has anyone tested 10.7 with KC yet?

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tonyswu

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Kerio 7.2.2 now officially supports Lion, although some of my clients updated to Lion (against my recommendation) before I updated Kerio to 7.2.2, and it was working for them. I would strongly suggest using Mail/iCal/Address Book over Outlook or Entourage. But if you absolutely need to pick the lesser evil, Outlook should be better than Entourage. Also, if your director has an iPhone, why is he not using ActiveSync?

[Updated on: Thu, 28 July 2011 18:12]

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greg_m

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OK, thanks for that tonyswu, it's good to know Lion Mail works. I was wondering if there are any features that would make this move more attractive.

"But if you absolutely need to pick the lesser evil, Outlook should be better than Entourage."

I thought this would be the case too, however our initial tests have been a miserable failure (see above).

"Also, if your director has an iPhone, why is he not using ActiveSync?"

He is, but he prefers typing on a laptop to using a tiny phone screen with one finger.
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tonyswu

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I don't have Lion on my production computer yet, but as far as I can tell, most of the changes/improvements are on the UI side. It even vaguely resembles Outlook, so that might make your selling easier. As for your director, I'd slap him with a 3G iPad and a keyboard for on-the-train use. Why tether when you have 3G?
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GetSync'd

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Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about Kerio Hosting. We are here to help.

GetSync'd.Com
Certified Hosted Kerio Connect Solutions
Kerio Mail Boxes / Dedicated Kerio Servers / Managed Kerio Cloud
http://www.getsyncd.com
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greg_m

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I did contact you guys at GetSync'd, but the conversation kind of went quiet. I wanted to be sure you don't simply use the built -in backup and archive facilities within Kerio, because they don't meet our needs.

I have to say though, I don't see how you would be able to assure me that hosting on Kerio with you would eliminate the issues we have been having with Entourage. Plus, it looks like you'd be around two thirds of the cost of a hosted Exchange solution.

I'm currently exploring the suitability of hosted Exchange with a couple of plugins (Forefront and an as yet undefined archive utility) to replicate the Kerio environment we have. The deal would include the Outlook 2011 licensing, so we don't have to upgrade our Office just yet. Plus it would be a completely managed environment. The reseller has a client with over 400 Macs on his network, to whom I'll be speaking to, so I'll find out how reliable the Outlook/Exchange combo is in a real situation.

Cheers
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GetSync'd

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Hi Greg,

Unfortunately you are correct, there is not much we can do about Entourage database integrity. We can, however, customize your backup and retention needs with our R1Soft CDP service. This would require a dedicated server for your client however.

Feel free to call us at (866) 269-9915 or email sales<_at_>getsyncd.com and we will be happy to discuss your options or put a plan together for you.

GetSync'd.Com
Certified Hosted Kerio Connect Solutions
Kerio Mail Boxes / Dedicated Kerio Servers / Managed Kerio Cloud
http://www.getsyncd.com
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schwifty

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Entourage is indeed irredeemably toxic. We've seen many instances where after corrupting its own database, it will actually reach up to the server and wipe out data in the user's account after a rebuild. That's just one of the worst examples of its behavior, but there are many more.

We had been eagerly awaiting Outlook, but its network performance is so slow as to be virtually broken. Kerio's relatively new EWS implementation may be partially to blame, but in our experience Kerio also has a great track record of actually fixing problems once identified. I am not so confident in MS, even though they've already publicly acknowledged Outlook's sub-par performance. So it's not just limited to Kerio and EWS (apparently basic IMAP is even worse).

That leaves Mail/iCal/AB as the alternative trifecta, and all three work extremely well, with ONE remaining major drawback: iCal and Exchange do not and have never agreed upon how to interpret time zone data. There are a handful of threads here on the topic, including general disagreement over whose implementation is actually broken (Apple's or MS's), and there are numerous examples of end-users attempting workarounds.

The basic problem is that Exchange formats the TZID field one way, and iCal formats it another way. The solutions below simply rewrite the TZID field so that it is palatable to iCal.

For example:
http://forums.kerio.com/mv/msg/19622/0/0/
http://www.nhoj.co.uk/yai (obsolete)
http://justinhartman.com/2008/03/31/apple-ical-microsoft-exc hange-fix-for-leopard/
http://thefragens.com/blog/2008/08/ical-exchange-time-zone-f ix-chapter-2/

Additional reference:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749073(WS.10).aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone.tab#List

For end-users the ideal situation would be if Kerio could automatically process incoming .ics files and edit their TZID data to something that is client-agnostic, before they ever hit the users' mailboxes. Would anyone from Kerio like to offer an estimate on the likelihood of that happening? Smile

Alternatively, and perhaps with a bit of crowd-sourcing and elbow grease, the community here could adapt the above applescripts to understand a broader if not complete array of time zones. That would give those of us who need to interoperate with Exchange but are fed up with Entourage/Outlook a band-aid to use in our environments.
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aj08

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Have any of you contacted Microsoft about the shared calendars slowing things down? I'm wondering if they consider this a bug that needs to be fixed in a future release or not.
greg_m

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Quote:
Entourage is indeed irredeemably toxic. We've seen many instances where after corrupting its own database, it will actually reach up to the server and wipe out data in the user's account after a rebuild. That's just one of the worst examples of its behavior, but there are many more.


Yes, I've seen this too. We now advise users NEVER to rebuild their DBs, just contact IT and have their identity re-created. It's safer.

Quote:
Have any of you contacted Microsoft about the shared calendars slowing things down? I'm wondering if they consider this a bug that needs to be fixed in a future release or not.


Well, we don't have any MS Software Assurance. I refuse to pay for software before it is released and the majority of bugs fixed. So I can't ask MS through their support channels. I could post in the unofficial Office for Mac forums, but they don't hold any sway with MS.
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