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jelockwood

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For many, many years I have not only supported a firm using Kerio Connect, but also recommended it to numerous other potential customers. It has generally been far better than Apple's own mail server offerings of the time and particularly for heavily Apple based customers better than anything else.

(Technically and bizarrely MS Exchange is the best solution for Apple users but it is definitely not the cheapest!)

However for years Kerio Connect has had two major failings which Kerio have shown no inclination to address.

1. They stubbornly refuse to officially support the use of EWS (Exchange Web Services) with Apple Mail as a client, they instead persist in trying to force Apple Mail users in to using IMAP+CalDAV+CardDAV and to use the Kerio setup tool.

Obviously the Kerio approach works but it is not administrator friendly. It requires using a proprietary tool to configure Mac clients and this also means you cannot use standard Mac management tools like Profile Manager to configure clients. If EWS was fully supported then it would be possible to configure Apple Mail clients exactly the same way as if a 'real' MS Exchange server was being used.

I am not the only one to express this view, I have seen many posts over the years in these forums expressing the same point. The absurd thing here is that Kerio already have support for EWS in their product (for use with Outlook for Mac) so all that is required is polishing off a few rough edges and they could make it officially supported with Apple Mail as well.

2. Kerio Connect does not have any clustering capabilities. Yes the distributed domain capability added a while ago is a small step and a welcome one but it is not the full solution to providing both fault-tolerance and enhanced scalability. Email is these days regarded as a business critical function.


As of today, other than 'real' MS Exchange one could say that Kerio still has no reason to worry too much as at this point since as far as I am aware no competing product (other than MS Exchange) has EWS support let alone many other features.

However, at long last a new option is close to being available. I am sure many other visitors to these forums will be aware of a product called Zimbra Collaboration Suite. Like Kerio Connect ZCS supports the following

IMAP
CalDAV
CardDAV
ActiveSync
Outlook For Windows (via a connector)

Unlike Kerio Connect it already has full active-active clustering capabilities. The big news is that the next major version of ZCS which will be version 9 (codename Judas Priest) will include full EWS support and this is explicitly to support Apple Mail fully as a client. (Even though it like Kerio already supports IMAP+CalDAV+CardDAV.)

The only potential drawback of Zimbra Collaboration Suite 9 (apart from not yet being released) is that it does not support OS X as a server. However these days since Apple don't provide proper server hardware this is a minor point and I would be happy to run it on an Ubuntu server which is an available option.

So Kerio, the writing is on the wall. I would not be surprised if Kerio chose to kill this message but I still vainly hope Kerio will address at least the EWS issue. It would make my life a lot easier if I could stick with Kerio. Having done email migration projects for companies in the past it is not something I would prefer to do.

PS. I could add a third issue. Some time ago Kerio killed off their previously excellent direct support to users which was a huge plus point for buying Kerio. Without this option a major reason for staying with Kerio has been eliminated.

[Updated on: Wed, 18 December 2013 00:22]

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Pavel Dobry (Kerio)

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Quote:

They stubbornly refuse to officially support the use of EWS (Exchange Web Services) with Apple Mail as a client, they instead persist in trying to force Apple Mail users in to using IMAP+CalDAV+CardDAV and to use the Kerio setup tool.


I would like to comment on this. Kerio Connect server can work with Apple Mail over EWS. The reason why we do not recommend it to our customer is very simple. It is worse for users than IMAP and CalDAV. The implementation and bugs in Apple clients are much worse for EWS accounts. Moreover, Apple users will lost some of the features they were used to use with CalDAV (folder sharing is different and virtually non-existent) or CardDAV (no public contact synchronization, only GAL lookup, no custom contact labels, etc.). These are not Kerio limitations but it is by design of EWS protocol or by implementation in the clients.
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jelockwood

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Quote:
I would like to comment on this. Kerio Connect server can work with Apple Mail over EWS. The reason why we do not recommend it to our customer is very simple. It is worse for users than IMAP and CalDAV. The implementation and bugs in Apple clients are much worse for EWS accounts. Moreover, Apple users will lost some of the features they were used to use with CalDAV (folder sharing is different and virtually non-existent) or CardDAV (no public contact synchronization, only GAL lookup, no custom contact labels, etc.). These are not Kerio limitations but it is by design of EWS protocol or by implementation in the clients.


These certainly appear to valid reasons why you might recommend IMAP+CalDAV+CardDAV over EWS but the past responses from Kerio has not been to give customers a choice. The attitude has been though shalt not use EWS with Apple Mail. I am all for giving customers reasons why one approach is better than another but I am also all for giving customers a choice.
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MacLab

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Zimbra not running on Mac OS X is a huge thumbs down and huge thumbs up for Kerio. Smile

This is part of what Kerio is all about. Great Mac support. And that is why what they are saying about EWS makes sense. Have the installer config the option that works best.

Clustering would be nice. I think we would all like to see that.

[Updated on: Wed, 18 December 2013 13:43]


MacLab, Inc.
Kerio Certified Partner, Reseller, Hosting Provider, Kerio Connect Certified.
http://maclaboratory.com
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Howie Isaacks

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jelockwood wrote on Tue, 17 December 2013 17:18


1. They stubbornly refuse to officially support the use of EWS (Exchange Web Services) with Apple Mail as a client, they instead persist in trying to force Apple Mail users in to using IMAP+CalDAV+CardDAV and to use the Kerio setup tool.
.


I wanted to chime in on this point. There really is no advantage to using EWS. I've tried it recently with Kerio Connect 8.2.2. It worked but as Pavel pointed, out there are drawbacks. Kerio does not "force" Apple Mail users to use IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV, or to use the Kerio setup tool. Very often, I manually setup accounts without using the tool since I know the proper settings for all of the Kerio Connect servers that I manage. The account assistant is merely a convenience more than anything, but it does do a better job of configuring the GAL settings.

To put it very bluntly, I think Outlook for Mac blows. It is the WORST mail client I've ever seen on the Mac. With all of the bugs that showed up in Mavericks Mail, I still choose it over Outlook. I've read some reports that Mavericks Mail in OS X 10.9.2 has done away with the performance bugs, so I am waiting on the final release to prove the reports. 10.9.1 was just released, so I'm sure it will be a few more weeks.

It was a really bad month for us having to deal with the calendar bugs in Kerio Connect 8.2 and 8.2.1, but after a great deal of testing with version 8.2.2, I can report that these bugs are gone now. Kerio does sometimes push out new releases with bugs intact, but they always come through with fixing them, and their tech support is the best I've ever worked with. I was probably one of the loudest complainers on this forum while Kerio worked on squashing these bugs.

[Updated on: Sun, 22 December 2013 03:02]

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Howie Isaacks

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Every time I see a Kerio employee, they're using a Mac. All of the webinars that I have attended are conducted from Macs. Kerio has done a great job with providing a great Exchange alternative for Mac users. Of course there are some areas for serious improvement, so I have always been extremely vocal with my feedback. One thing that I have never heard from Kerio tech support is some off comment against Macs the way I have from other vendors. It really pisses me off when a technology vendor marginalizes the Mac, or uses our use of Macs as an excuse for their product not performing well. Apple is notoriously secretive about their product development, but I think that if Kerio worked harder to form a closer bond with Apple, it would go a long way toward ensuring that changes in OS X don't catch Kerio by surprise. Mac users are probably more eager than Windows users to upgrade to the newest version of OS X, so I know it must be hard to keep us all happy Smile
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benjalamelami

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Personally, the only advantage I see using EWS is the push email. But quite honestly, I see that you loose actually a lot of benefits from the other protocols
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Howie Isaacks

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benjalamelami wrote on Fri, 27 December 2013 11:48
Personally, the only advantage I see using EWS is the push email. But quite honestly, I see that you loose actually a lot of benefits from the other protocols


I don't think push email is provided by EWS on the Mac, but I could be wrong.
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Pavel Špalek (Kerio)

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You are right, neither Outlook nor Apple clients (Apple Mail, Addressbook, Calendar) don't use push notifications (and so Connect doesn't support it).

Pavel Špalek
developer - Kerio Connect
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SJ

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I am curious, if Kerio believes the EWS is limiting and recommends using IMAP +CalDav+CardDav for the most features and flexibility... why does the Account Assistant (downloaded from Kerio Connect Server when selecting "Integration With Mac" link) install Mac Mail to use EWS?

Seems a bit backwards. Since Kerio installed it this way, I was left puzzled what was wrong with my system. Sure everything works to my liking except no change in message flags, replied flags, other minor issues.... unfortunately necessary ones. I am glad I looked here before I disassembled everything to find out, I should of been using IMAP from the start.

Frankly, I found the ActiveSync licensing to be frustrating. Every mailbox has to be licensed.... then the worst part, after you pay for native honest to goodness Microsoft ActiveSync, you still don't get a fully working EWS implementation.

Now, they say it is a lack of capabilities on the part of EWS, yet somehow Outlook 2011 uses it just fine. Apple mail to exchange works just fine.... what am I missing here? Why can't Apple Mail talk to Kerio as "Exchange" just fine? Ironically, Outlook 2013, which uses active sync and not EWS... also does not work with Kerio.

Kerio, I hope you are listening because your customers are telling you why they aren't happy. You don't have to send out a survey and when sales begin to decline, everyone will be scratching their heads saying "I wonder what we need to do differently". We are telling you... transparency. Where is this product going and when?

Respectfully,
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Pavel Dobry (Kerio)

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SJ wrote on Fri, 03 January 2014 19:05
I am curious, if Kerio believes the EWS is limiting and recommends using IMAP +CalDav+CardDav for the most features and flexibility... why does the Account Assistant (downloaded from Kerio Connect Server when selecting "Integration With Mac" link) install Mac Mail to use EWS?

The Account assistant configures Exchange IMAP (on old OS X] or IMAP account in Apple Mail and CalDAV, CardDAV for other clients.
If the Apple Mail is accidentally configured to EWS (Exchange) than it is because of Apple Mail autodiscovery "feature". The tool configures IMAP account.

Quote:

Frankly, I found the ActiveSync licensing to be frustrating. Every mailbox has to be licensed.... then the worst part, after you pay for native honest to goodness Microsoft ActiveSync, you still don't get a fully working EWS implementation.

Exchange Web Services (EWS) is different protocol than Exchange ActiveSync.
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SJ

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Good to know, thanks for the tip.
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Howie Isaacks

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No offense meant, but I think that a lot of people are overreacting. I think Kerio Connect is a great product. Exchange works great (for the most part), but it is a horrible choice for small and medium businesses. This is due not just because of the cost, but also because of the huge amount of time and trouble that is involved with deploying and maintaining it. I deployed Exchange for the first time this past July. It was a 3 week process. Although I enjoyed learning about Exchange, I could not help but be very offended by how complicated it was to deploy. What took me about 3 weeks for Exchange would normally take me just under 2 hours to do with Kerio Connect. The next time that I deploy Exchange it probably won't take me 3 weeks since I already know the steps, but I know that it will always be far more complicated than deploying Kerio Connect. And what about disaster recovery? The last time that I had to restore an entire Kerio Connect server, I was able to restore about 40 users' mailboxes in about an hour and a half. Try that with Exchange. It will be far more complicated. I don't mind a few bugs from time to time in exchange for ease of administration, and easy recovery from server crashes. For the most part, Kerio Connect is rock solid. I have sometimes been one of Kerio's loudest critics right here on this forum, but they always come through, and fix the problems. Their tech support is the best I have ever worked with. For me, a vendor is only as good as the service they provide after the sale, and Kerio is awesome.

This is not the end. I'm sure that Kerio will wow us all this year.
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SJ

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You are entitled to your opinion, but if they are going to wow us, it would be nice if they could be a little bit more public about it. Let us know what we are in for and when to expect it. Otherwise it just seems like it will be "when they get around to it". I for one know many people were not happy with the new licensing model, yet it has remained unchanged with requiring additional active sync licenses for ALL users. Additionally, this product has remained fairly stale for some time. Small improvements in items that in all honesty should be part of any solution sold under the pretense "Exchange Alternative" (the delegation features, etc.) That would be like Apple touting the new iPhone "Now with call waiting!".

Right now there is no insight into if/when things will be more streamlined, support of EWS as would be expected from an "Exchange Alternative". Yes, Exchange is a bear to setup... but you could argue a buggy connect client on windows, constantly corrupting the database, stalling or upgrade issues ... they total up too. Over time, far more time could be spent dealing with client issues than would be necessary to setup Exchange. Remember, people are posting on here because they recognize Kerio's positives. They chose this product because it is easy to setup, it is easy to recover from... they just expect more, that shouldn't be considered "overreacting" that should be considered customer feedback.
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Howie Isaacks

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SJ wrote on Sun, 05 January 2014 16:09
You are entitled to your opinion, but if they are going to wow us, it would be nice if they could be a little bit more public about it. Let us know what we are in for and when to expect it. Otherwise it just seems like it will be "when they get around to it". I for one know many people were not happy with the new licensing model, yet it has remained unchanged with requiring additional active sync licenses for ALL users. Additionally, this product has remained fairly stale for some time. Small improvements in items that in all honesty should be part of any solution sold under the pretense "Exchange Alternative" (the delegation features, etc.) That would be like Apple touting the new iPhone "Now with call waiting!".

Right now there is no insight into if/when things will be more streamlined, support of EWS as would be expected from an "Exchange Alternative". Yes, Exchange is a bear to setup... but you could argue a buggy connect client on windows, constantly corrupting the database, stalling or upgrade issues ... they total up too. Over time, far more time could be spent dealing with client issues than would be necessary to setup Exchange. Remember, people are posting on here because they recognize Kerio's positives. They chose this product because it is easy to setup, it is easy to recover from... they just expect more, that shouldn't be considered "overreacting" that should be considered customer feedback.


I agree that it would be nice to see a roadmap of intended new features. There is a lot that Kerio can do to improve, and enhance Connect. Regarding Active Sync licenses... Kerio sent an email in March of last year announcing the licensing change for EAS. They previously absorbed the licensing cost, but like any other business, Kerio has to be profitable. Therefore, they should not have to absorb the licensing cost. When I sell Kerio Connect to customers, I actually quote the license cost with EAS included along with Sophos. I feel that this is the best option. If the customer balks at the cost, then we can offer them the options without EAS and Sophos. To be honest, I was very annoyed about the extra charge for EAS, but I later understood the reason behind the price increase. The Windows issues you describe don't happen often to any of my customers. I support about 70 Windows users who are using Kerio Connect. I have seen instances in which the cache becomes corrupted, but this is easily solved, and the users always have access to webmail while Outlook rebuilds its cache. I keep Kerio Connect up to date, and I take proactive steps to make sure that the servers are running well at all times. Of course we can't totally control the user experience, so the end user can (and often does) cause their own problems no matter how well Kerio Connect is designed.

While I still believe that a lot of people posting here are overreacting, I believe that Kerio should listen to the feedback even if it is sometimes over the top. I myself have been one of the loudest and most persistent complainers. Instead of simply complaining on the forums, I have also taken steps to build a network of Kerio contacts on Linked In, and I speak with my Kerio channel manager often. This allows me to give feedback directly to the decision makers. So far, they've all been very open and willing to hear my feedback.
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