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Email SIG Meetings

ISC Networking and Telecommunications attempts to hold biannual meetings with our customers to discuss service issues that affect our email services. Invitations to the meetings are sent to Zimbra-SIG and Exchange-SIG mailing lists. Below is output from the latest SIG meeting.


slides (pptx)

  • Extending the deadline of service decommission was appreciated, so users could get new ActiveSync compatible devices.
  • At least one user waited until their device didn't work before switching to a new device.

  • Default quota going up to 2GB in FY2015. The maximum recommended quota will remain at 4GB.
  • Users seem generally satisfied, though there are some quota management issues and some confusion with iOS7.
  • Some want to be able to schedule with users on disparate systems.
  • Managing calendars on Mac OC clients can be problematic.

Project Button Up
  • Timeline - early service availability spring/summer 2014, with a full service available September 2014.

  • Default quota going up to 2GB in FY2105.
  • We want to require encrypted passwords again. There doesn't seem to be a lot of concern. ISC will investigate the scope of users not using encrypted passwords.
  • What is the breakdown of users per school? Are any looking for alternatives?
  • Webmail can be slow during peak times, but not unusable. ProDesk only hears when there are problems.


slides (pptx)

  • end of service - 2013-08-30
  • ISC should not reach out to end-users, but the lists of users is helpful.
  • Some orgs only support iOS, others will support Android as well, a few holdouts for BlackBerry Q10.

  • Some concerns about migrating accounts to new mailbox servers.

  • People seem interested in some potential Office 365 features; Sharepoint, Link, etc...

  • Proposal to move to Exchange/Office 365 hybrid model. Those moving to Google Apps tend to not want our help.
  • Some concern, given Exchange's bad history with hybrid models in the past and some do want help moving to Google Apps.
  • Question - Is there a storage increase? Especially in the cloud.
  • Proposal sounds good to some, as long as it works and is secure. Price point will determine which platform they will use.


Slides (PDF)

PennNet Mailing List
There is interest in using Grouper to build PennNet Mailing Lists.

  • This has problems, you loose ability to manage lists.
  • We will continue to investigate.
Small rate increase FY13 to fund infrastructure update.

Exchange Seeing infrastructure diagram was helpful for some.
Discussion of Auto-Quota:
  • auto-quota users have 4GB allotted disk space, we bill based on disk usage
  • there's likely a bug preventing taking a user off auto-quota, we're investigating
    • (should be fixed now)
We should notify ProDesk when scheduling re-indexing of search indexes.
Admins seeing more devices per person; less Blackberrys, more iPhones.
  • Some groups getting desktops and iPads for people.

Note: Recoverable items has it's own quota and retention period.

Message Size Increase
to 30MB
Any plans to go higher?
  • Not yet, we discussed with email admins with other schools. we all agreed 30MB.
  • Gmail is at 25MB.
  • We'll re-visit periodically.
some interest


Slides (PDF)

No comments.

PennNet Mailing Lists
Are there plans to use Grouper to manage lists?

  • Some orgs have asked about this in the past but there is no active discussion now. ISC has an FY12 goal to investigate.
We received some feedback on Exchange, including comments on the migration to 2010.
  • People either love or hate the new Outlook Web App.
  • Conversation view in OWA is frustrating for some people.
  • Blackberrys are hard to support and many are moving to Android.
  • A lot of stuff "just worked" except BlackBerry handhelds. Users were urged to move to iPhone.
  • There were some minor Android problems.
  • Some migrated users from Apple Mail to Outlook 2011.
  • BES Account Management needs work still (and ISC deployed some fixes last night).
  • Doubling base quota to 1GB was good.
  • Some orgs like larger quotas.
  • Higher quotas with higher ceilings with a higher price might be okay.
  • Tiered model better for some.
  • Managing multiple calendars is a difficult with Apple Mail/iCal.
  • Seems to be push for Android.
  • Can we find one or two Android devices that we will support?
  • Can we get more stats on Mobile devices through Account Management?
  • Brick-level backups (point it time recovery for mailboxes) - should we add for everyone, or have tools to add for specific users? We need time and to do research.
What's your wish list for collaboration?
  • Something like Google Docs - word processing, spreadsheets, presentations


Slides (PDF)

There were some questions about the "No charge for mail within ISC service" term.

PennNet Mailing Lists
There is interest in seeing list generation via LDAP groups.
People like the rate structure.

As discussed at the last SIG meeting, many reports were moved to the morning but we still have to move the Exchange Quota report.
Regarding Exchange 2010:
  • Does OWA support delegated and shared calendars easily?
  • There is interest in a pilot program.
Is there interest off-campus disaster recovery options?
  • some people have already created outside email addresses
  • mail store less important than being able to communicate (by using outside email address)
  • there is desire for us to propose an option
  • There are more and more people with unsupported mobile devices
  • There are more e-discovery cases
  • storage retention is problem
  • One ORG has problems with "recover deleted items" in Outlook 2010
  • Current attachment size is okay. Secure Share works well on campus.
    • one org set up FTP server for large publications
There was a question on why some people see different password entry screens on Apple Devices. Devices that were on old alphanumeric policy will see old keyboard. New users see only numeric keyboard.

Current outage windows are still okay.
There is a desire for Zimbra to develop an Outlook connector for Mac, now that Outlook is part of the Mac MS Office suite.


Slides from the meeting: PPTX or PDF

While Services has seen a decrease in Exchange tickets, we wonder how much of that is the ProDesk? How many cases does the ProDesk take that we don't see?
There was a discussion about backups. Some of the main points of that discussion were:
  • We tool the backups to meet the requirements, policy, and SLA.
  • Sometimes there are problem preventing us from meeting that SLA.
  • Our Exchange backups are for disaster recovery.
  • A few orgs are backing up PSTs locally.
  • One org is even backing up PSTs to a network drive, while keeping their size below 512mb.
  • It was brought up that newer versions of clients tend to cause more corruption.
A few groups are using SharePoint for document sharing and website building.
Exchange 2010 is coming, and will mean better support for Mac users and little or no support for older Office clients (2003, 2004).
There was also a discussion on the timing of quota notifications:
  • The issue is the currency of the information, by the time LSP gets notice and responds, the user may nave already dealt with issue.
  • On our side, timing is not a resource issue, midnight was just a good time to run it.
  • If the get the email in the morning, it's more likely to make LSPs' todo lists.
  • Billing will be off by a few hours.
  • Android support likely coming in 2.2 for devices "blessed" by Google.
  • Windows Phone 7 coming in fall/winter, but it's likely to leave out many Exchange features at launch.
Are there bugs you are tracking that we are not?
  • canonical address issue, calendar invites send from @zimbra, instead of @domain


Slides from the meeting
ISC asked for a service window for regular maintenance disruptions of up to 15 minutes. There seemed to be no opposition to the proposed schedule of:
  • Mon-Fri: 1am-3am
  • Sat-Sun: 6am-7am
ISC also asked if there were time periods where we shouldn't make changes. Answers were varied and included December, August and September, leading up to Spring Fling, move-out/move-in, after Thanksgiving through winter break, final reviews through graduation, January, and February.

There was a discussion on how to handle the need for higher quotas and enforcing firm quota limits. Some of the things talked about were:

  • Some users will fill their quota, no matter how high.
  • Many users are archiving locally.
  • Enforcing quota limits too strictly can cause users to forward to an outside service.
There was also discussion on how to keep users under quota, as some want all of their mail available all the time, from mobile devices, webmail and Outlook. For these users archiving to .pst files is not really viable. Uncoupling attachments helps, but makes them unsearchable and creates extra steps when retrieving them.


  • iCal syncing for Snow Leopard users will be fixed when Zimbra is upgraded.
  • It seems Outlook can't view shared calendars using the Outlook Connector.
  • There is desire for calendar event templates. You can support this feature request by signing up for an account on Zimbra's Bugzilla and voting on the already filed feature request.
Mailing Lists:
  • The unadvertised upgrade was not appreciated.


Slides from the meeting
  • We should document how Zimbra export account feature, specifically related to how students can take their email with them when they leave.
  • A few people are using Zimbra Desktop, people like it.
  • People aren't using document/briefcase feature, mostly because of quota restrictions.
  • There is some interest in Zimlets
  • No interest in multi-tiered service
  • We're testing large quotas (over 2 Gigs) internally
  • Still no definitive answer on performance issues with large quotas


Zimbra slides from the meeting (PPT)
Exchange slides from the meeting (PPT)
Zimbra Customer questions:
  1. What constitutes a note in Zimbra, particularly in relation to how notes will sync with handhelds?
  2. Will IP addresses as From: addresses continue to be supported for old devices on the network?
  3. Can the default / preferred user address be set to at account creation?
    The default user address is set to user@[org] at account creation. The problem is that many of our orgs do not have a virtual host so the question is what should the default address be for those users. There was some discussion about being the default. This is only a partial answer since we do not assign a address for group accounts so group accounts would still not have a good default address. This item needs further investigation.
  4. Can the Zimbra web client archive mail to a local file?
    Yes. This feature was introduced in version 5.0.12. From the Export section of Preferences you can export any part of your account to a local .tgz which can be then imported back into the system.
Zimbra Customer feedback:
  1. There are 3 orgs who say Blackberry use will be at 100 devices, 10-20 devices and 30-40 devices right out of the gate.
  2. Whitelisting in particular, and client side filters in general, *should* supersede server-side filter rules.
  3. Zimbra client "sort by size" is still desired.
Exchange Customer questions:
  1. Can you set an auto-archiving rule on the deleted items folder?
    Yes. In Outlook, right-click "Deleted Items" and select "properties." Then click "AutoArchive" tab.
  2. Are deleted items available from the dumpster? If so, for how long?
    Yes. The server is set for 14 days. You have to turn the dumpster on locally with a registry edit.
Exchange Customer feedback:
  1. We should not set an expiry rule for the deleted items folder. If we would like to proceed and argue to set a rule, it might be acceptable to set it to one year. It should begin on a fiscal year. It should be broadly announced and supported.
  2. A 6 month maximum for retention of disabled accounts is approved.
  3. One user representative expressed interest in self-service IMAP/POP disabling for accounts.
  4. Server-side address books by group / school / division are no longer seen as useful, given the successful transition to lists.
  5. LNAME, FNAME, MI from PCOM is desired.
  6. Sorting the GAL by LNAME, FNAME is supported by the group.
  7. The group was notified of the behavior of remote wipe on handheld devices and their additional storage. They'll look for the documentation on the prowiki.
  8. Brick-level backups are not strongly desired, especially since they would add cost.

Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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