Email is another amazing service that businesses take for granted. We all expect good, reliable email service as a given and barely spend any time considering what needs to go into this system in order to ensure that the correct mail is delivered, junk mail is shelved, and that users can access their messages at any time day or night.
So how is this all put together? Email is divided into sending and receiving . Sending is done via the SMTP protocol while receiving has three basic models, POP, IMAP and MAPI.
POP and IMAP are frequently used by home users and small business because it is relatively easy to configure, is fairly cheap, and doesn't require any advanced knowledge of the system. However, POP and IMAP have inherent scaling limitations and lack critical business features such as shared calendars found in more robust systems like Microsoft's Exchange.
POP and IMAP work on what we call a Pull model. This means that the client application, be it an email client such as Outlook, a mobile phone, or a webmail portal, calls the mail server and says, "Hello! I'm such-and-such. Do you have any mail for me?" This is similar to how people or organizations with P.O. boxes get mail. In small environments this works well however it does have the limitation that periodically the client must ask the server for mail. When many clients in the same location constantly ask the server, this can create slowdowns. This also places the burden of checking mail on the user. While this can be partially remedied by using automating features to force the email client to check more often, email will always be pulled on some form of cycle. This can be a devastating limitation to personnel who must always respond to email at a moment's notice, such as sales personnel and executives.
Therefore, as a business grows larger it makes sense to implement an in-house email system, which offers many advantages in performance, reliability and integration with the greater business needs.
Here is where Exchange can be of benefit. As a significantly more robust and advanced email system, Exchange uses a different approach than IMAP and POP with a so-called Push model. This means that this is as if a real-life post office arranges to have mail sent directly to your house the instant it arrives in the sorting office, and does this continually while you want it. Now obviously in the real world, logistically such a thing is impossible. But in the digital world, this can be done without serious difficulties and makes this an attractive solution for businesses where email needs to be responded to in split-seconds and where other Exchange features, such as public calendars and unified messaging can be utilized to the fullest degree.
Exchange utilizes the MAPI protocol to copy data from the mail server to the client. It then synchronizes this data seamlessly in the background while the user is connected to Exchange. Exchange is designed to work hand in hand with Microsoft Outlook and many of the more visible features are centered around this, such as public folders, public calendars, tasklists and company-wide contact lists.
Exchange also has quite a few vital and less noticeable capabilities. Some of the more invisible features include antispam filtering, database management, load-balancing with other mail servers in the organization, direct communication with other mail servers and mailbox encryption and security. Exchange has become the industry standard for its wide array of enterprise friendly features. A solid Exchange installation is the cornerstone of many a successful business, and can provide that information leap your business can use to grow forward. Our staff has deployed complete Exchange solutions for many of our customers, please feel free to contact us for a quote today!