White Papers


Pros and Cons: Outlook vs  Office-Logic InterChange – Which is better? -- A case study

Office-Logic Electronic Messaging Architecture as a Foundation for Collaboration

Graylisting - How it works (besides "Well")


Pros and Cons: Outlook vs  Office-Logic InterChange – Which is better? 

A case study


Pros and Cons: Outlook vs  Office-Logic InterChange – Which is better?

An objective look at two competing email systems

 

NOTE: A customer wrote this white paper. Identifiable corporate information has been removed to protect the privacy of the client. The information contained in this paper represents this customer’s assumptions and experiences. Use it as a guideline for creating your own justification based on your assumptions and situations. As always, your mileage may vary.

 


1  Our History of Email Usage

 

It started with Netscape…

Netscape to Outlook

In 1997, we began using Internet email as a standard tool to communicate with the rest of the world. In October of 1997, the I.S. department replaced the aging IBM PCs that we were using to interface with the mainframe system to newer IBM Valuepoint machines. At that time, we developed a training schedule and taught the company at large how to use the new machines, and the Windows 95 operating system that we installed on each PC. Windows Office 97 and Netscape Navigator were also installed and each machine, and classes were held to educate the employee base on how to use the new tools. We used Netscape Navigator’s Email client to access and send email.

In 2000, we replaced the IBM Valuepoint machines with E-Machines, and upgraded the company operating system to Windows 98. We also upgraded to Office 2000. While we were still using Netscape to access the internet and send our email, one of our employees noticed that Outlook 2000 came with Office 2000, and decided to use it keep track of her appointments and tasks. She quickly realized the value the application had as an organizational tool, and applied it to her coach’s machines. Thus began the infiltration of Outlook into our company. I agreed to allow Outlook to be used for Calendaring and tasking functions, but not for email. The reason for this was due to the fact that all of the email viruses written at that time exploited ‘holes’ (undocumented and/or unknown problems) in Outlook that allowed Outlook to run the virus automatically when the user opened an infected email.

In 2002, we replaced the E-Machines with Compaq Evo desktop machines. The new Compaq machines came with Windows XP Professional, which was slightly different (in some aspects) than Windows 98, so the I.S. Department once again devised and held training sessions to make sure everyone knew how to use the new operating system.

At that same time, Netscape was releasing newer versions of their Internet browser. Up to that time, we had been using Netscape as the browser and email client of choice for two primary reasons:

         The new viruses that were beginning to proliferate across the Internet did not effect Netscape internet browsers

         The new viruses that were beginning to proliferate across the Internet did not affect the Netscape email client.

These two facts offered us a de facto protection against email borne virus attacks, since nearly all of the viruses were written to affect Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer users. However, Netscape started releasing newer versions of their Internet browser, which were unstable at best. The email client that came with the newer Netscape version was affected negatively as well. The cost of constant maintenance of Netscape began to mount (in terms of time only, not actual expenditure), so the decision to move to Outlook as the email platform of choice for us was made. Coinciding with that decision was the release of a  software ‘patch’ (a patch is Microsoft terminology for software that fixes known problems) from Microsoft that prevented email borne viruses from automatically running when an Outlook user opens an infected message. The use of Outlook as a scheduling, tasking, and email platform was complete.

Office-Logic InterChange

In 2003, spam began to explode. Virus writers began taking advantage of this proliferation to propagate their product by duplicating the tactic used by the spammers – use misleading subject lines that grab the users attention to get the user to open and run the virus. Our existing email server software – Eudora World Server Version 2.0 – did not offer anti-spam or anti-virus support. Therefore, we started to look for a new email system that would not require an extensive investment in capital and human resources, but would support our growing needs, such as:

         Web based email access – makes email available to employees and executive officers that traveled frequently.

         The system needed to retain our contact lists, scheduling, and task features inherent in Outlook.

Our research lead us to our new email system – Office-Logic InterChange by LAN-ACES.

 

 

2  Outlook vs Office-Logic InterChange – Pros and Cons

 

Here is an objective assessment of the needs that we had in regard to email system usage, and how each email system (Outlook with Microsoft Exchange versus Office-Logic InterChange) handles those needs:

 

Needs Analysis

Need

Outlook

Office-Logic InterChange

Notes

1. Provide for web based access to email inbox and contact list.

Yes, but requires Outlook Web Agent. The web agent allows access to your Outlook inbox, but not your contact list or other email folders. Also requires Microsoft Exchange Server.

Yes, and does not require any other software or server package to use this feature. Gives full access to all email folders, contact lists, and scheduling no matter where the user is.

Microsoft Exchange server will be needed to perform several of the functions that Office-Logic InterChange provides by design.

2. Access schedules of other users, including the ability to reserve conference rooms online, edit other user’s schedules, and set schedule security.

Yes. However, to share schedules, Outlook users need Microsoft Exchange Server to enable this feature.

Yes. Available to all users all the time. No additional software needed to use this feature.

 

3. Ability to schedule events.

Yes. Provides a reminder popup to alert user that an appointment is coming up. Exchange Server is not needed for this function.

Yes. Provides an email alert or reminder, but not a popup. Needs additional software to accomplish the popup reminder.

 

4. Set Tasks.

Yes. Can sort by category as well.

Yes. Can sort by category as well.

 

5. Set  Notes

Yes. Notes are independent from appointments, and are treated as a separate object.

Yes. Notes, however, are connected to appointments.

 

6. Send out meeting invitations.

Yes. Exchange server not needed to accomplish this function. However, ‘inviter’ cannot view the ‘invitees’ schedule to see if a conflict exists without Exchange server.

Yes. Built into the product. Ability to view invitee schedule conflicts is also built in. No need for additional software.

 

7. Journaling.

Yes. Built into Outlook, no need for Exchange Server to use this function.

No. Does not exist for this product.

Journaling is not an important feature for us. Only 5 employees use the Journaling feature.

 

The following table lists capital requirements to support each system:

 

Capital Expenditures

Item

Outlook

Office-Logic InterChange

Notes

Email Client Cost

Outlook is a program that comes free with Office 2000. However, there is a $67 per user license fee to use Microsoft Exchange Server for email and other functions. 250 CALs (Computer Access Licenses – user licenses which cost $67 per user cost brings the total to $16,750.

Email client is web based, therefore there are only license costs between $24.00 to $18.00 per user depending solely upon the number of user licenses. Our Office-Logic InterChange system is licensed for 250 users, bringing our cost to $18 per user license.

 

Email Server Software Cost

Microsoft Exchange Server (standard edition) costs $700 plus the Operating System cost of $500.

$4200. However, the capital expenditure has already been made. Operating system cost of $500. However, we had the appropriate number of server licenses to allow us to add the operating system without incurring additional cost.

 

Email Server Hardware Cost

Microsoft Exchange Server will require additional server hardware (estimated to cost $30,000)

A server was purchased for the current solution at a cost of $10,000.

 

Maintenance Costs

Free patches, but need a person to apply them. Maintenance is available for purchase.

$1,050 per year.  Very easy to add.

 

Administration Costs

Requires at least FTE to administer Exchange Server on a regular basis.

Office-Logic InterChange needs minimal attention. Does not require a portion of an FTE to maintain.

Exchange Server is notorious for it’s constant need for attention and patch application.

Backup Agents

Exchange requires a specialized agent to backup the information store. This allows Exchange to be backed up. Cost is estimated to cost $500.

Office-Logic InterChange does not have this requirement. All data is stored as files, making backup and recovery easy and simple.

 

Other issues:

As Exchange Server users grow, additional hardware will be required to allow some functions to be run on other machines.

No limitation for Office-Logic InterChange.

 

Training Costs

Requires an installation class and an administration class. Estimated cost $4500.

No requirement. Works out of the box.

 

Tech Support

Requires 24 hour or greater turn around to get response from Tech Support.

Tech Support is usually on the phone immediately, or they call back within an hour or so. They can also remotely control the email server for troubleshooting purposes.

Microsoft does not offer remote control troubleshooting services like LAN-ACES has.

Customization/ Bug Fix

No customization, and bug fixes need to wait until next release or service pack.

LAN-ACES provides over the phone fixes, and will actually evaluate customization requests. We have made several requests, and they have obliged.

 

Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus Support

Not included in Exchange.

SPAM or Virus infected messages are identified and managed by Office-Logic InterChange before users have access to them, reducing the risks of infecting your environment.

This item is expensive, and requires yearly subscriptions. The Office-Logic InterChange system includes the updates in the $1,050 annual maintenance. This is not an option with Exchange Server, and would require separate subscriptions for anti-spam and anti-virus.

 

 

Total cost to implement Outlook with Exchange Server:

Outlook with Exchange

Office-Logic InterChange

$48,450 hardware, license, and software cost (no maintenance cost included).

$15,750 hardware, license, and software cost (1 year maintenance included).

$4500 training cost for administrator

$0 training cost for administrator

$17,500 administrator FTE at $35,000 per year

$0 cost – not needed

Total Outlook and Exchange Server Cost: $70,450

Total Office-Logic InterChange Cost:

$15,750

 

The amount of $15,750 for Office-Logic InterChange has already been spent. The system is operational. Training should not be an issue, since the system is web based, and only requires a user be familiar with using a web browser.

 

NOTE FROM LAN-ACES, Inc.: While this customer used a $10,000 price for the machine to host his 250 users on Office-Logic InterChange, our experience shows that a machine available for less then $2500 will more than support a site of this size. And while the machine spec’ed for the other server could possibly be acquired for less than the $30,000 used for the comparison, it undoubtedly won’t run on the same machine that will support Office-Logic InterChange.

 

Risk Assessment

Microsoft Outlook (even without Exchange Server) is prone to virus attack, and is often times the target of such. Office-Logic InterChange offers web based access, and is immune to such attacks. LAN-ACES has been in business since 1984, while Microsoft has also been in business since 1984. While Microsoft does compete in the same arena as LAN-ACES, LAN-ACES is focused primarily on email solutions, and is an expert in the field.

There is an implementation risk associated with Exchange Server. We will have to move to Active Directory Services (ADS) company wide before we can install Exchange. This means we will also have to be upgraded as well. While both environments have the proper network operating system to implement ADS, it will require resources to be redirected to accomplish this task. It is unnecessary to do this with Office-Logic InterChange.

 

Thank you.



Office-Logic Electronic Messaging Architecture

as a Foundation for Collaboration


Section 1: Overview

This document will explain how Office-Logic provides a feature-rich and fully integrated messaging infrastructure with groupware applications that enable workgroup and inter/intra enterprise-wide communication, collaboration and coordination services. We will demonstrate how the unique collaborative strengths of the Office-Logic architecture provide a powerful and elegant base for enterprise-wide workgroup computing solutions. (Previous versions of Office-Logic were known as Right Hand Man.)

The Messaging System as a Workgroup Foundation

Due to groupware's high costs and extensive hardware requirements, its use has only been a reality in large corporate computing environments. With Office-Logic, every size workgroup can realize the benefits of groupware. Until recently, a messaging system was seen simply as a means for people to exchange E-mail messages. However, as workgroup computing continues to evolve, we are seeing that the proper messaging infrastructure can also eliminate the traditional roadblocks of disparate applications, multiple geographical locations, and prohibitive expenses. These and other developments continue to extend the reach and grasp of users throughout the enterprise and global network environment.

Most vendors and, thus products, concentrate on the hardware and software requirements, sometimes ignoring the fact that if it is not usable by the users of an organization, it is, at best of little use, and at worst, detrimental to the organization. Additionally, since we do not live in a homogeneous world, it should allow interaction with a wide variety of "outside" systems. For a messaging system as a workgroup foundation to be broad enough to support current as well as future needs of organizations of all sizes, the architecture must possess several characteristics:

  1. Will allow flexibility to the network planners and systems organizers.

  2. Must be easy to use at an end-user level, while maintaining a high degree of functionality.

  3. Scaleable enough to allow change and expansion without adversely impacting workgroup users, applications, and solutions already dependent upon it.

  4. Should be based on industry standard APIs to allow seamless interaction with other environments, maintaining the integrity of the information without sacrificing usability.

  5. Provide a robust and fault tolerant mechanism to ensure the survivability of the information entered into the various data stores.

How well these characteristics are integrated into the workgroup infrastructure will determine the success of the workgroup as a whole. It is not enough to simply examine the backbone servers and architecture when investigating workgroup productivity. The applications, as well as the underlying structure, will best determine the suitability of the available systems.

Other vendors have a fairly high level of functionality but the complexity of the user interface continues to turn away potential users' groups. Vendors that build their applications on "standard" E-mail engines typically lack the features and functionality that allow productivity gains because the E-mail underpinnings were not designed to be collaboration enabling technology. Workgroup computing solutions should encompass the five characteristics, outlined above, to ensure that the workgroup realizes the benefits of the various enhancements to personal productivity. After all, group productivity is the result of many individuals with enhanced personal productivity.

The Office-Logic suite of products was developed to be a fast, flexible, functional collaborative tool to improve the ability of users to get their jobs done. Increasing the ability for users to accomplish their individual tasks more effectively allows for increased morale, dedication to the organization, and ultimately, positive impact on the "bottom line".

Because the Office-Logic family of products utilizes these guidelines as design principles, Office-Logic is the best choice for a enterprise-wide workgroup computing solution.

Section 2: Office-Logic Positioning

For several years, Groupware was an ill-defined and misunderstood category. During the years between the mid-1980s and early-1990s, when DOS was "king", there were only a few recognized "groupware" products and several E-mail only and scheduling only products. Before explaining the details of the Office-Logic groupware system architecture, it is important to position Office-Logic as a groupware software solution. Groupware software encompasses several categories of applications and services that help groups of people (workgroups) work more efficiently together.

Office-Logic Groupware is not just messaging, scheduling, calendaring, shared databases, document management, discussion forums, workflow, task managements, etc., but a mixture of these areas in a homogeneous work environment allowing individuals to work more efficiently.

Electronic Messaging

Simple E-mail does not cover the many areas required for efficient communications in today's hectic business community. Office-Logic provides the messaging services required for a strong workgroup cohesiveness. These services include:

  • Support for electronic mail messages (E-mail). FAXes are routed and viewed as any other electronic message.

  • Rules/Filter for mail and FAX messages.

  • Phone Messages that are treated like phone messages, not E-mail. (They are not generated the same way, why treat them the same?)

  • Workflow routing for collaborative work.

  • Full message status tracking for selected messages to verify when they are delivered, read, and deleted (or deleted without being read!)

  • Notification of appointments scheduled through the Group Scheduler module.

  • Real Time Chat with up to 5 simultaneous users. (DOS, Win 3.x, Win'95, Win NT)

  • Instant delivery and notification on all events across the entire enterprise.

No other vendor provides the cost effective and unique mix of the messaging services found in Office-Logic.

Calendaring/Scheduling

Office-Logic Groupware has been rated as one of the best network scheduling applications. Office-Logic Groupware has won these accolades because it not only has a user interface with a high acceptability factor from the end user, but also is unmatched in performance across not only the LAN but the WAN intranet, and now, the Internet. The ability to access the available time information of other users in real-time makes Office-Logic the unchallenged leader in scheduling functionality. Regardless of the native platform of the other Office-Logic users, you can check free-time and schedule a meeting in a couple of key strokes. The invitation is then added to each user's schedule and an E-mail confirmation is sent to their "In" box. These features, along with remote accessibility via Office-Logic Remote, keep Office-Logic Groupware in a pace setting position in the calendaring/scheduling market place.

Collaborative Computing Technologies

Office-Logic also fits in the application category of integrated office automation software. Applications in this category combine two or more workgroup services (such as E-mail and group scheduling) in a single application or product offering. Office-Logic's price to performance ratio is unrivaled by its competitors. In review of version one, PC Magazine stated:

"OFFICE-LOGIC rivals products like WordPerfect Office 4.1(Groupwise). Not only does OFFICE-LOGIC provide e-mail and scheduling features comparable to those in WordPerfect Office, but it costs less and has several additional features."

-PC Magazine

Section 3: LAN-ACES, Incorporated

LAN-ACES, Incorporated, a privately held Texas company, whose primary mission is delivering groupware applications and services. The three main products currently being produced include the following:

  1. Office-Logic Groupware

  2. Office-Logic Clerk

  3. Office-Logic Remote

Office-Logic Groupware is the electronic messaging application and provides messaging, scheduling, and collaboration services to workgroups. Office-Logic Clerk is a general-purpose e-mail rules engine and much more. Office-Logic Clerk can forward, sort, and help maintain your e-mail system. It can also notify administrators of connection failure of servers, workstations, gateways, or printers via e-mail and/or pagers. Additionally, Office-Logic Clerk has the capability of synchronizing the computer systems to various time sources including the NIST and Naval Observatory Atomic clocks. Office-Logic Remote allows network users to take their best productivity tools on the road or home to maintain communications around-the-clock when necessary. With integrated TCP/IP connectivity capabilities, it is possible to update E-mail, scheduling, phone messages, and other data files from across the Internet or via direct dial-in to the LAN.

Additional products and services will be added to the Office-Logic family of products to enhance the collaborative groupware solutions available. These additional products and services will be developed both by LAN-ACES, Inc. and by 3rd-party partners.

Today's Office-Logic product includes the following elements:

  • Fully integrated messaging services

  • Multiple-platform support

  • Message-enabling capabilities

  • Far-reaching connectivity options

  • Information sharing technology

  • Comprehensive mobile computing solutions

  • Powerful administration tools

Integrated Messaging Services

At the heart of Office-Logic's unique design is the integration of E-mail, phone messaging, scheduling, calendaring, shared databases, and task management services into a single application. Increasing workgroup productivity is achieved by increasing individual productivity. Office-Logic accomplishes the goal by integrating not just bundling various programs together. Office-Logic has been designed from the ground up to be a tightly integrated tool that lends itself to easy learning and use, without the expensive overhead of additional hardware, administration, and training.

Multiple-Platform Support

Supporting multiple operating system (OS) platforms and desktops has always been a strength and trademark of LAN-ACES, and Office-Logic is no exception. The Office-Logic strategy includes bringing multiple OS platform versions of the client, server, and gateway software to market quickly and consistently. Office-Logic is designed to work as seamlessly in heterogeneous computing environments as in those organizations that have standardized on a single OS platform. Office-Logic will allow those users on less powerful machines to still enjoy the benefits of increased access to valuable information.

Message-Enabling Desktop Applications

MAPI compatibility within Office-Logic accomplishes a major objective in the quest to bring workgroup functionality to desktop applications. MAPI compliance allows desktop applications such as word processors and spreadsheet programs to make a call directly into Office-Logic to "mail-enable" the desktop applications. For end users, mail-enabling means the ability to mail the documents, spreadsheets, or graphics they are working on without leaving their current applications and for the recipient to launch the appropriate application with a single click of the mouse. The originating application will load with the mailed document active, ready for editing or review.

Because Office-Logic is built on the industry standard SMF specification, Office-Logic provides a messaging system upon which message-aware applications can be built. The message-enabled application uses the messaging system client to perform messaging functions, while a message-aware application can directly interface with the various supported message transports. Office-Logic is open enough to support the message-aware applications of the future.

Information Sharing Technology

The ability to share notepads, cardexes, and databases is another valuable tool in the fight for added productivity in the groupware arena. Information that needs to be easily available can quickly be disseminated and replicated if necessary.

Connectivity Through Gateways

We are committed to providing open applications, as evidenced by the connectivity solutions provided through Office-Logic supported gateways. As organizations move up to the advanced messaging capabilities of Office-Logic, they must be able to provide connectivity to alternate delivery transports such as FAX and Pagers, as well as some interoperability with existing E-mail systems. By using the standard SMF file formats, Office-Logic offers connectivity to the world.

Office-Logic compatible gateways also provide connectivity to public and standards-based messaging systems, such as SMTP and UUCP for connection to the Internet, and MHS, for communication outside the organization. Office-Logic is designed to solve the problems of fitting into an organization's messaging strategy.

Mobile Computing

Employee's are becoming mobile and demand the flexibility of not being tied down to the office workstation. LAN-ACES is committed to offering a high level of connectivity, even when users are "on-the-road". An important part of the Office-Logic communication system, Office-Logic Remote and Office-Logic Clerk are giving people the ability to receive their messages and information from wherever they are. Laptop computers, wireless modems, and pagers can all act as interfaces to the Office-Logic messaging system. Office-Logic Remote enhancement allows you to send and receive e-mail, receive phone messages, synchronize schedulers, notepads, cardexes -- access all of Office-Logic's productivity tools remotely.

Technically superior to other remote solutions, Office-Logic Remote offers the following advantages:

  • Modified Z-modem like file transfers

  • Updates E-mail, phone messages, phone databases, user and group files, including remote user lists, schedule changes in both directions, and more

  • Unattended and/or scheduled connections

  • Connection speeds up to 115,200 BAUD

  • Downloads only updated information

  • Auto resume on broken connections

  • Totally integrated remote functions and configurations

  • Memory resident host can be loaded several times for multiple modem support

  • Error Detection and Correction using CRC

  • TCP/IP support for updating over the Internet or the local network via optional TCP/IP gateway

Administration

Good administration tools are incredibly important when implementing an enterprise messaging system. While these administration tools are generally lagging behind in the E-mail industry, Office-Logic is filling the void with the most powerful and flexible administration tools available today. Office-Logic offers both a central administration and the ability to distribute the administration functions. Administration of accounts can be handled manually and some task that should be automated can be with Office-Logic Clerk. Modules that allow a single configuration step to update all users is available via modules such as the Master Configuration Module. User and group maintenance can be handled from any node on the network by the administrator, thus making physical access to servers unnecessary. Although, dependence on any particular server OS is undesirable, an option to use a Netware "snap-in" to NWADMIN is in development. This will allow administrators the flexibility of administrating Office-Logic user from within the NWADMIN program or from within the Office-Logic application itself.

Because of the Client driven architecture model that Office-Logic employs, directory synchronization is unnecessary but for redundancy and performance reasons can be made completely automatic utilizing the Office-Logic Clerk distribution capability. Office-Logic also supports directory exchange via the SMF NETDIR.TAB scheme employed by Connect2 compatible message switch technology. Office-Logic Clerk tools are provided to add this capability to Novell MHS compatible systems.

Administration and maintenance typically constitute a large portion of the overall cost of operating a messaging system. While other vendors are promising improvements in the administration and management services in the future, Office-Logic products continue to lead in ease of administration and management. Compared to other messaging systems on the market today, Office-Logic is the easiest to administer, as well as being the most cost-effective messaging system available.

Section 4: Office-Logic Electronic Messaging Architecture

This section provides a technical overview of the core technology and administration services that bring the Office-Logic electronic messaging system to life and make it the most powerful and flexible messaging system in the industry. A general discussion of the various components of Office-Logic is in order, before proceeding to the details of the overall system.

Messaging System Components

Office-Logic primarily uses a direct delivery mechanism for "on-WAN/LAN (Wide Area Network/Local Area Network)" destinations. This means that messages or scheduling information for any user or gateway system that resides on the reachable WAN is accessed in real time and updated via the standard network connections. "Off-WAN" users are reached via standard SMF gateway technologies through a store-and-forward messaging system. This allows the redundancy and performance that is required for mission critical applications such as messaging. The major message handling and administrative components within the Office-Logic system are handled by the client and thus do not require an investment in hardware post offices, message servers, and gateways for a WAN installation. This dependence on the client for most of the work load makes for a system that is redundant to a very high degree. There are components that are analogous to the above infrastructure, however. The client is the end-user application. Office-Logic Clerk handles the "rules" processing either as a "SMF" gateway, a Netware NLM, or as a standalone process. The post office for Office-Logic is simply the directory structure on a network file server that provides the message storage area for a specific group of users. In place of a message server, Office-Logic's client software handles the task traditionally assigned to the message transport agent (MTA) within competitive messaging platforms. Office-Logic's system architecture eliminates the requirement of routing services among post offices and through gateways to reach "local users", regardless of whether they are on the LAN or the WAN. Gateways are strictly used to reach "off-LAN/WAN" users and are generally used to make the connection and do any translation that might be necessary between Office-Logic and dissimilar messaging systems.

Distributed Engine Architecture

The key to Office-Logic's efficiency is the distributed nature of the delivery mechanism architecture. Mail, phone messages, scheduling checks, schedule updates, etc. all happen in real time. There are no delays incurred because of message switch delays. Since Novell limits the number of connections to file servers, a unique procedure was developed for Netware to limit the number of connections, while maintaining security across the system. Note: This procedure is unnecessary for all supported operating systems, except Netware. Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity is accomplished with a sophisticated yet elegant system:

  1. The client workstation determines that a message is destined for a server that the user is not logged to.

  2. A connection is created, in background mode, by attaching as the "LOGIC" (administrator configurable) user using the required password (administrator configurable).

  3. The various messages are deposited in the correct location or the required information is retrieved.

  4. Notification to the receiving user is sent immediately. This negates the need to generate the traditional traffic of polling for new messages instituted by other vendors.

  5. After a certain length of time, to allow for additional transactions without re-attaching, the connection is closed.

Since each workstation performs the delivery and notification of its own information, traffic on the wire generated by the multiple handling of information by gateways, polling for new messages, and accessing of centralized databases is eliminated.

Correct Message Types for the Desired Functions

All Office-Logic message types, including mail messages, calendar items, meeting requests, and task assignments, are optimized for the defined function of the information. Data is formatted to best utilize the purpose of the information. For example, Database information is stored in dBase compatible format, using either Clipper, dBase, or FoxPro indices, Notepads use an ASCII base message format, and e-mail messages are maintained in native SMF format for easy interaction with other systems. This approach avoids the need for expensive and time consuming API issues. In other words, all Office-Logic clients handle each message type in an efficient manner. This makes Office-Logic the best product to truly combine E-mail, calendaring, scheduling, and task management into the same LAN-based messaging system.

  • Messages are managed in the most efficient method for each type of data.

  • All types of data are stored in the most efficient structure for that data type.

Office-Logic allows the administrator to choose from a wide variety of tools to customize and manipulate the data because it is presented in an easy to use format. For example, the database information can be accessed with any dBase compatible program and conversely, data from other applications can be made available within the Office-Logic environment.

Consistency Across Platforms

An another very important benefit of the distributed engine technology is the ability to provide literal consistency of functionality across different platform versions of the Office-Logic clients. Because all clients are self contained, Office-Logic can offer greater integrity of information, tighter security, and better reliability. Office-Logic allows any user from any platform to access the information that they need.

Additionally, because of the distributed engine technology, Office-Logic is still the most robust messaging product to be available with full functionality between DOS and Windows. Available for DOS v3.x and above, Windows 3.1, 3.11, Windows '95, and Windows NT, the release of Office-Logic 2.20 includes the Windows (all versions) and DOS client versions, with nothing else required to connect all of the workstations on the network. Since a very high percentage of the companies in the U.S. still have a substantial investment in DOS-only machines, the interaction between DOS and Windows clients will continue to be of paramount importance.

Workflow Integrity

The Office-Logic distributed engine technology also offers unique client and back-end server capabilities. Because the rules and routing procedures are executed by the Office-Logic Clerk rules engine, the client is not required to be on-line for the workflow features to be executed. In the case of a Netware server, the NLM is executing and NO traffic is generated for the workflow operations. If the client is unavailable (turned off or not connected to the network), the server can still execute the user's rules. This functionality is essential for reliable workflow solutions.

Traditional Multiple Processing Models

To maintain the flexibility that is inherent in the Office-Logic messaging architecture, the administrator may decide to route all messages through an SMF message switch to allow, for instance, all attachments to be virus scanned. The client can be configured, on a user by user basis, to deliver the mail to the message switch where it will be processed. For systems with message switches, the client and switch can share processing responsibilities, or all processing can be forced to the message switch for security reasons.

Multiple Communication Methods

As alluded to above, communications between the Office-Logic clients can be direct or via a message switch. The message switch will change the architecture to a message-based (store and forward) system. While some messaging systems limit the client connection to one method or the other, Office-Logic will offer the flexibility of using either or both.

Distributed Engine Summary

The Office-Logic distributed engine design provides shared processing and load sharing between clients. Message switches are only required for "off-net" messaging, combined client-only and client/switch processing models. It also offers true multi-platform support for the various client operating systems and network operating systems. Included is support for the "best of breed" data structures for various information sources. The distributed engine model provides the greatest flexibility and redundancy for organizations to roll-out high-performance messaging system on their local- or wide-area network.

Consistency Across Gateways

The ability for users on one network to communicate with users on other networks is fast becoming the most critical issue for many organizations. The emergence of the Internet as a low cost backbone for many companies, has pushed the issue to the forefront of many MIS plans. The improved communication with customers increases the perception of responsiveness of a company to their customers. The need to communicate with people outside an organization's network or messaging system is driving organizations to look for far-reaching connectivity solutions.

Office-Logic uses industry standard gateways designed specifically to provide reliable and consistent connectivity and interoperability solutions. The syntax for accessing each gateway service is easily incorporated in to the messaging system. The goal is to provide a seamless integration between Office-Logic and the various gateways without requiring the administrator to develop custom applications and extensive installation and maintenance. LAN-ACES can provide the necessary software and expertise to integrate to virtually any other messaging system.

Administration Tools

Easy to use administration tools are as important as any end user features. A feature rich, yet flexible collaboration system requires an equally powerful administration tool. Office-Logic, combined with Office-Logic Clerk, provide not only a tool but an entire toolbox for maintaining and configuring the messaging system. While the time to administer Office-Logic has been estimated to be the lowest in the industry, administrators can use the tools available to comfort themselves that everything is running the way it should. From the User/Group Maintenance module within Office-Logic Groupware to the ability of Office-Logic Clerk to measure performance and report the results automatically, an administrator has the tools to get the job done. Additionally, other tools for managing the network are also included.

Development is underway for a snap-in module for the NWADMIN program for Netware 4.1 and above. The NWADMIN snap-in module will allow seamless administration of the Office-Logic users and resources from within the native Netware administration program. To provide multi-network compatibility, Office-Logic's userlists are maintained independently of the underlying operating system. When possible, the native network operating system is extended by the features of Office-Logic. For example, the Print Queue Management feature of Office-Logic allows users to capture print jobs "on-the-fly" on both Netware and Artisoft's Lantastic networks. This functionality frees the administrator from the tedious task of continuously modifying login scripts and batch files.

Central and Distributed Administration

The Office-Logic administration architecture allows administration responsibilities to be centrally controlled from anywhere on the WAN or distributed by workgroup to various administrators.

User/Group Maintenance

The User/Group Maintenance module allows the administrator to add, delete, and modify users, groups, and resources. The end user can also create personal groups from within the same interface. There is no need to exit Office-Logic and load another admin tool. Simply load the tools and get the job done.

The User/Group Maintenance module will allow user accounts to be easily moved to various servers by simply changing the location in the module and saving the changes. The data is moved and the user is ready to go on line.

Software Management

Office-Logic client software is installed to all designated servers from within the installation program. Although the Novell specific installation is the most involved, it rarely takes more than 15 to 20 minutes to perform the initial installation. To allow administrators the greatest degree of flexibility, the INSTALL program is run either from within a Windows DOS session or from the actual DOS prompt. By answering a few simple questions, or accepting the defaults, the installer is guided through the complete setup including the following:

  1. The Office-Logic directory structure and files are placed in the correct location on each of the file servers that will be used for user's data.

  2. User accounts are established within Office-Logic, User default files are created, and User rights are granted to the appropriate locations.

  3. The Wide Area Network (WAN) files are copied in, if appropriate. The default user name that performs the WAN functions is created and assigned a default password.


The WAN capability of Office-Logic is very extensive. Rather than depend on additional hardware and software to perform the communication between servers, Office-Logic utilizes a unique system whereby the client computer of each user directly delivers the data to the appropriate file system and the receiving user is immediately notified of the arrival. This capability is used for e-mail delivery, phone message delivery, scheduling activities, bulletin notices, etc. The Real Time Chat uses the same mechanism that is used by the instant notifications (namely, IPX on Novell networks and NetBIOS for other networks). "Off-net" communication is handled by Office-Logic Clerk or through an assortment of gateways to other systems, including SMTP and UUCP to the Internet and UNIX, FAX, Paging, MHS, and others.


Since all of the executable and data information are maintained on the server, the administrator can control and configure the system with confidence. By utilizing this feature, there is no need to update individual versions of client software when improvements are implemented. This precludes administrative intervention at the end-user workstation.

End User Setup

The Office-Logic administrator can use the Master Configuration module to customize one user or any number of users' configuration (setup options). The administrator has the option to allow the default configuration or to set and lock the configurations. Since the interface is very configurable, and the purpose of groupware is productivity increase, most administrators allow the end user the freedom to configure the interface. This allows them to make it work the way they do, rather than forcing them to adapt their work style to the program.

 

Section 5: Summary

The ideal group productivity solution will have the following characteristics:

  • High level of end-user features and functionality, while maintaining an easy to use interface

  • Support for multiple message types

  • Flexible enough to run on multiple operating systems and under multiple processing models (client-only and client/server)

  • Open to many other messaging systems

  • Possess effective administration tools the system

  • Must allow the users and administrator to access all of the services from anywhere on the network

The Office-Logic family of products was designed with this issues in mind. Companies can depend on Office-Logic to serve as the foundation for their workgroup computing needs both now and the future. Office-Logic Groupware, Office-Logic Remote, and Office-Logic Clerk are unequaled when it comes to helping people work more effectively and efficiently. Office-Logic is the Logical Choice for Group Productivity!

The Future

This document presents the current Office-Logic architecture. Our engineering department and administration are constantly striving to improve and enhance the features of Office-Logic.

Please contact LAN-ACES, Inc. for additional information or to discuss the current and future needs of your organization.


 


Graylisting - How it works (besides "Well")


 

Graylisting

 

Graylisting is a simple method of defending electronic mail users against e-mail spam. In short, a mail transfer agent which uses graylisting will "temporarily reject" any email from a sender it does not recognize. If the mail is legitimate, the originating server will try again to send it later, at which time the destination will accept it. If the mail is from a spammer, it will probably not be retried.

Graylisting requires little configuration and modest resources. It is designed as a compliment to existing defenses against spam, and not as a replacement.
Contents

1 How it works
2 Advantages
3 Disadvantages
4 Links

 

How it works

 

Typically, a server that utilizes graylisting will record the following three pieces of information (known as a "triplet") for each incoming mail message:

* The IP address of the connecting host. InterChange uses the first 3 "dotted" portions to allow a range of IP addresses to be detected.
* The envelope sender address.
* The envelope recipient address.

This is checked against the mail server's internal whitelist. If it is on the whitelist, the message is immediately passed. If any of these triplets of information has never been seen before, the email is graylisted for a set period of time (how much time is dependent on the server configuration), and it is would normally be refused with a temporary rejection. Since there are several servers being used on the Internet that don't conform to the Internet specs, InterChange simple drops the connection to avoid the non-conforming way that these servers handle temporary errors. The assumption is that since temporary failures are built into the RFC specifications for e-mail delivery, a legitimate server will attempt to connect again later on to deliver the e-mail. The setting on the Junkmail page is "Time required before message allowed to pass (seconds):".The default for InterChange is a minimum time between retries of 28 seconds. This value has been shown to be long enough to prevent the resending server from retrying immediately (which some spam senders do) and short enough to allow legitimate servers to resend when waiting 30 seconds. Increasing this setting will catch more junkmail but more than 59 seconds is not recommended. The other setting for Graylisting is "Lifetime of accepted messages in database (days):". The default is "36 days". This is how long a sender/receiver/IP range combination (triplet) will remain in the database and not require the process to be repeated. On some sites this value can be set up to as high as 365 or more without problem although obviously there is much more computing power required to process a large database file than for a small one. The database is limited to 4GB and each record is 1K which means that it can hold about 4 million records. If the site receives more than 4 million unique sender/receiver/IP range messages, the database will stop allowing new entries and will treat all new records as rejections. Each record that is older than the lifetime will be deleted from the database around midnight each night. As long as the older records are dropped in a reasonable amount of time, the size limit shouldn't be a factor.

Graylisting is effective because many mass e-mail tools utilized by spammers are not set up to handle temporary bounces (or any bounces, for that matter; they will never bother to retry a failed delivery), so the spam is never delivered.

 

Advantages

 

The main advantage from the user's point of view is that graylisting requires no additional configuration from his end. If the server utilizing graylisting is configured appropriately, the end user will probably not notice any delays in e-mail delivery.

From a mail administrator's point of view, only minimal configuration is usually required on the mail server for graylisting to work.

 

Disadvantages

 

There is the possibility that poorly-configured e-mail systems will translate the temporary reject as a permanent bounce and not deliver the mail, which would lead to legitimate mail being bounced. This can be combated with whitelisting or exception lists. As explained above, InterChange simply drops the TCP connection rather than issuing the temporary error.

Graylisting delays all unknown e-mail, not just spam.

Since there is always an ongoing arms race between legitimate e-mail administrators and those who send bulk e-mail, the likelihood is that spam tools which are thwarted by graylisting will be fixed to circumvent this safeguard in the future but of course this will mean that they can send less junkmail in the same period of time. The reality is that until a majority of servers incorporate graylisting, it is less costly for the spammer to move on and not resend to the protected servers.

 

Links

* A graylisting whitepaper by Evan Harris that was the initial starting point for Office-Logic InterChange's graylisting feature.

 


 



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