Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cloud 1 - emails

This is my first post about my cloud. I can tell you how whole store began.

My girlfriend works in company that is using Exchange server. I still don’t understand why 99% of Exchange administrators got stuck few years ago and almost every company is still using size limitations for mails – usually something around 2 GBs (so situation where free online mail services were few years ago).

She works for marketing company – so most emails got attachments, PDFs with tons of pictures etc. So she needs to clean her mailbox every few days and sometimes she gets rid of very important information that she could use in future.

Normal approach is to specify Archiving – but I really don’t like it, because it already happened to me few times that I simple forgot about .pst file and deleted it during re-installation of my computer. Also I also saw few times corruption of .pst files (not talking about fact that it is limited to 2GBs).

So she came with simple idea – why not to send copy of each email to Gmail account (that is about 7+ GBs at the moment).

Very simple idea, but extremely powerful :) That is when I started to think about creating my “cloud” – having everything stored locally for performance reasons, however store it also (automatically) somewhere online, so I can access is anytime\anywhere.

Simple rule (1 computer with Outlook)

To achieve it, all you need to do is to create Outlook rule to forward all emails to specified address:

1.) Select Rules and Alerts… from your Tools:


2.) Click New rule

3.) Select “Check messages when they arrive” (blank rule)


4.) Click Next – this means that all incoming mails are processed

5.) Check “forward it to people or distribution list” and specify your mail address. Also check “display a Desktop alert" (last entry) – otherwise this rule will be Server side and by default this is disabled. By checking this entry you will turn the rule to be executed at client.

6.) Next, next, next… Finish… You know the rest

I was quite easy to setup – however as mentioned before, it doesn’t work (however it is something related to local Outlook, configuration is correct).

Complex rule (multiple computers)

Once configured, I started to think that this is really nice solution – having online backup of your mails for free with searching… And that I would like to make it part of my “cloud” project:

- all emails are available locally

- all emails are available online

To make it work, it must be more complex then simple scenario discussed above. Reason is that you also want to have some synchronization between your computers, so not each of them will run these rules (otherwise each computer will send same emails).

To support this, I created new category called backup. I use this to mark that email was processed and backed up centrally.

For this you must create 2 rules. First rule will forward email to Gmail (or any other online mail), second will automatically mark email so it won’t be processed anymore.

First rule:


Second rule:


Important is ordering of these rules.


VasekB said...

kdyz nekterym userum nedas nejake limity, tak to zahltej... zazil jsem CEO korporace, ktery mel v Inboxu 6000 mailu a z toho 3000 ani neprectenych ?!? jak takove lidi donutit ten bordel smazat ?

kdysi na exch2000 management prosadil ze useri budou mit 1GB a oni 2GB mailbox. jak pribylo notebooku, tak kdyz lidi rano prisli do prace a MSOutlooky se jim zacali synchronizovat, tak to na 20-60min zahltlio sit. sit jela, ale MSO vytuhnul. nesmel se ale vypnout.. jinak jsi byl zase na zacatku. musel se nechat celou dobu byt a nic nedelat, dokud to nerozdycha.

reseni nei dat vic prostoru (kam to pak budes zalohovoat.. a hlavne jak dlouho to pak budes zalohovat). duleiztejsi je naucit lidi s informacemi pracovat a nedulezite mazat pripadne ukladat do k tomu urcenych mist.

Martin Zugec said...

Ahoj, to zase celkom chapem, ja som skor myslel organizacie ktore su primarne zamerane na IT (pripadne organizacie, v ktorych nie su retazove maily najoblubenejsou cinnostou uzivatelov ;)).

Kazdopadne ten clanok je hlavne o tom, ako si robit online backup mailov, t.j. schranku mas prazdnu a pritom nemazes ziadne maily...

Lukas said...

Well, I believe, that the answer is pretty simple:
Key benefits, that come to my mind:
* Outlook is off-loaded
* Data is available even via webinterface
* Integration with desktop search is pretty obvious
* Data gets compressed (a lot) and can be stored even on network share.
If company has got such product implemented, then it's pretty straightforward. Having huge mega mailboxes is just workaround for "not having archiving". It's the same like buying a bigger desk, because current one is full of letters from last year.