Hybrid email set-up

On premise vs cloud email

Email is considered a mission-critical system in almost all organizations that employ email and to host emails on-premise or in a cloud solution is perennial debate. There is no correct answer or set formula to opt either of the solution. Organizations need to access their business needs and infrastructure before taking a decision.The advantages and disadvantages of both solutions are subject to organizational policies and the way emails being used in the system. The table below summarizes the most common advantages and disadvantages of both the solution

On premise Cloud email solution
Control over system and data Low cost of ownership
Feature rich solutions No infrastructure requirements
Customization according to business needs IT team can focus on core projects
Reuse of existing infrastructure No maintenance cost
Infrastructure not shared with others Can scale up easily

In many organizations, even though cloud email solution offers great advantage over on-premise email services, lack of a particular feature which is used by few persons in organization makes it difficult for IT manager to switchover completely to cloud email solution. Also at times, company policy or legal compliance requires that email data of certain key users to be hosted locally on-premise. This also prohibits IT manager to switch completely to cloud email solution and get huge cost advantage.


Hybrid solution

Hybrid solution combines best of both on-premise as well as cloud mailing solution. You can host few users on on-premise using ‘Microsoft Exchange’ or ‘lotus notes’ and rest all of the users on Rediffmail Pro platform. Organizations can optimize the cost and at the same time do not compromise on data security policies by opting hybrid email solution. Typically in an organization, top executives would require email solution with advanced features like access to emails, contacts and calendar on mobile devices while other users would just need a basic email facility.

Benefits of hybrid solution

a. Cost effective
On-premise solution for entire organization requires huge investment in terms of licensing, infrastructure cost, maintenance, IT personnel, ancillary services such as anti-virus, anti-spam etc. By keeping most of the users on hosted email solution like Rediffmail Pro one can ensure that mailing infrastructure is cost-effective and resource efficient.

b. Pay for what you use
In on-premise email solution, many feature and services are bundled together. Only few power users use these advanced features. Most of users require only the basic email functionality. By configuring on-promise for all the users on domain, IT manager ends up in paying for the features or services which are not used by most of the users. In such cases, hybrid solution is best alternative. IT manager can configure only power users who require advanced functionality on on-premise solution while most of the users can be hosted on cloud mailing solution.

c. Ancillary services
On-premises systems could be used for the primary email system, but a cloud-based email continuity/disaster recovery system could be used to maintain availability during outages of the primary system. Also cloud email service can used for spam/virus filtering and archiving before the mails are forwarded to on premise mailing servers.

d. Phased migration
The organizations which have on-premise email solution would have already invested in email infrastructure, and its criticality makes them shy away from rocking the boat. Most organizations has ‘play safe’ approach where “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude takes precedence especially when a disruption to email can carry heavy consequences. In such cases, hybrid solution offers a great value where IT administrator can migrate to cloud mailing solution in a phased approach. This helps to ensure that the disruptions are minimal and the transition is smooth


Rediff hybrid solution

Rediff offers three different approaches for implementing hybrid solution. The key for implementing hybrid solution is to segment the user based on their email usage and feature requirements. Once such segments are identified, administrator can then host users in particular segment on-premise and rest on cloud email solution. To explain each of three approaches, let us take an example of the organization with 1000 employees. IT manager identified 100 users (ceo@mycompany.in, cfo@mycompany.in, etc.) who need to be hosted on on-premise mailing solution and rest 900 users (sales_agent@mycompany.in, support@mycompany.in, etc.) can be hosted on Rediffmail Pro platform.

1. A subdomain approach

hybrid-1A hybrid setup can be achieved by creating a subdomain on organization’s primary domain.

The subdomain is configured on on-premise mailing solution and primary domain is configured on RediffmailPro.

The detailed steps to configure hybrid setup using subdomain approach are explained below

1. IT manager creates a subdomain ex.mycompany.in.

2. All 1000 users are created on RediffmailPro platform on primary domain mycompany.ini.e ceo@mycompany.in, cfo@mycompany.in, sales_agent@mycompany.in, helpdesk@mycompany.in, etc.

3. The 100 users which needs to be hosted on-premise are created using the subdomain i.e. ceo@ex.mycompany.in, cfo@ex.mycompany.in, etc.

4. The MX record of primary domain is changed to point to Rediffmail servers

5. The MX record of subdomain exchange.mycompany.in is changed to point to on-premise mailing solution servers

6. An auto-forward is set for 100 IDs on primary domain to forward all mails to subdomain i.e.  all mails received on ceo@mycompany.in is forwarded to ceo@ex.mycompany.in

7. Outgoing mail settings for on-premise mailing users can be configured using Rediffmail Pro’s SMTP settings or on-premise mailing solution’s SMTP settings. While sending mail, ‘send as’ should selected as primary domain’s address i.e. ceo@mycompany.in

Advantages of subdomain approach

  • Spam control: Mails forwarded to on-premise servers are filtered for SPAM. No separate SPAM filtering application is needed on on-premise setup.
  • Cloud as a backup: Even if the on-premise servers are unavailable, users on on-premise servers can continue using email by logging in to their respective Rediffmail Pro mailboxes

2. On premise solution as a gateway

hybrid-1In this approach the MX record of domain (mycompany.in) points to on-premise mailing servers.

Thus all the mails are first received at on-premise mailing servers. On premise mailing servers then relay all the mails intended for users on RediffmailPro platform to specific url.

The detailed steps to configure hybrid setup using on-premise mailing servers as gateway are explained below

1. IT manager configures 100 users on on-premise mailing solution (ceo@mycompany.in, cfo@mycompany.in)

2. IT manager configures rest 900 users on Rediffmail Pro platform on primary domain itself (sales_agent@mycompany.in, helpdesk@mycomany.in )

3. The MX of primary domain points to on-premise mailing servers.

4. On-premise mailing solution relays mails intended for 900 users on Rediffmail Pro platform to ‘mail.rediffmailpro.com

5. For outgoing mails, 100 users on on-premise mailing solution use their own SMTP setting and 900 users on Rediffmail Pro platform use SMTP settings of Rediffmail Pro mailing solution.

Advantages of On-premise mailing solution as a gateway

  • Both on-premise users and users on Rediffmail Pro platform are on the same domain.
  • Relatively faster delivery of mails to on-premise users.

Note: This approach can be used with cloud hosting solution providers which supports mail relay option (ex. Google apps for business)

3. Rediffmail Pro as a gateway

hybrid-3When the MX records of primary domain are pointed to on-premise servers, all the mails received on the domain are first delivered to on-premise mailing servers. Thus organization needs to scale up on-premise servers appropriately to serve additional load. Also up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spam solutions should be deployed on on-premise servers to stop unwanted mails. In Rediffmail Pro as a gateway approach, the MX of primary domain (mycompany.in) points to Rediffmail Pro servers. Thus all the mails are first received at Rediffmail Pro servers. Rediffmail Pro servers then relay the mails which are intended for users on on-premise solution.

The detailed steps to configure hybrid setup using Rediffmail Pro servers as gateway are explained below

1. IT manager configures 100 users on on-premise mailing solution (ceo@mycompany.in, cfo@mycompany.in)

2. IT manager configures rest 900 users on Rediffmail Pro platform on primary domain itself (sales_agent@mycompany.in, helpdesk@mycomany.in )

3. The MX of primary domain points to Rediffmail Pro servers i.e. mail.rediffmailpro.com .

4. Rediffmail Pro servers relays mails intended for 100 users on on-premise mailing solution to server IP specified by IT manager.

5. For outgoing mails, 100 users on on-premise mailing solution use their own SMTP setting and 900 users on Rediffmail Pro platform use SMTP settings of Rediffmail Pro mailing solution.

Advantages of Rediffmail Pro as a gateway

  • Both on-premise users and users on Rediffmail Pro platform are on the same domain.
  • Mails relayed to on-premise servers are filtered for SPAM. No separate SPAM filtering application is needed on on-premise setup.
  • Even if the on-premise servers are unavailable, mails intended for on-premise users will be held for 48 hours and delivered to on-premise servers once they are functional.

Note: On-premise mailing solution should have an option to circumvent local delivery for mails sent from users on on-premise solution to users on Rediffmail Pro platform.


FAQ

Are there any additional settings required for hybrid solution?
As a best practice, you should set SPF record of your primary domain to include IP range of onpremise mailing servers and SPF record Rediffmail Pro platform. The SPF record of Rediffmail Pro platform is ‘_spf.rediffmailpro.com

Is the global address book visible to users on on-premise mailing solution and users on Rediffmail Pro common?
The global address book of on-premise mailing solution and Rediffmail Pro can be common. It can be achieved by integrating both platforms with active directory of the domain (not available with subdomain approach). Even if the active directory integration is not possible, IT manager can add all the users on on-premise mailing solution to global address book of Rediffmail Pro users.

What are the limitations of hybrid solution?
Hybrid setup works seamlessly for sending or receiving mails, however, services such as intra domain chat between users on Rediffmail Pro platform and users on on-premise mailing solution will not work.

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