Hybrid Email Solutions: How two email solutions co-exist on the same domain

Collaboration Data Management I'm Interested Skyconnect Videos Whiteboard

As part of our #whiteboardseries, we bring to you a series of short videos that we hope will help your organisation increase productivity and efficiency.

In the video above, we talk about what a hybrid email solution is, why you need it and how it works.

Organisations often have a requirement to host the email infrastructure of a company across 2 different solutions, such that both the solutions share the same SMTP address space and the company can divide their mailboxes across the two solutions.

This is typically done to allow a set of users to use one of the solutions for the value that it offers and allow the remaining users to derive benefit from the value delivered by the other mailing solution.

A co-existence or hybrid email solution provides features and functionalities as required by the different set of users in an organisation. It also enables the organisation to optimize on the overall infrastructure, management and upgrade costs.

Video Transcription

Hello friends. Welcome to the second in these Whiteboard series from our end. So we are talking about here why you would want to do a hybrid solution and how does it work. So first thing is let’s cover some background on hybrid solutions. Now traditionally, if you reflect back on your own purchase patterns or we’ve seen it with our customers a lot, is that a lot of them want to buy from a single vendor.

They prefer solutions which cover their entire IT landscape from one vendor, at the most two. So what we have found is that this is changing now. People are beginning to notice that there are a lot of rich solutions out there, ok,
from different different vendors which can enrich the IT landscape.

But it’s not very easy, right?

To integrate solutions from different vendors and put them all together and manage them all from a single environment. But the trend is towards hybrid. There is a pain and there is a gain too.

Types of Hybrid Setup

So hybrid setup allows up to choose the best of breed components, solutions from vendors who have done deep work in each of those areas. For example, if there’s a cloud player and there’s a different app player, right, you
cannot expect the cloud player to give you all the apps also, right? So you would have to look at a hybrid where you would seek and source these, you know, tools from multiple vendors and put them together.

Now initially there used to be a challenge on how to integrate all this. But Today, when everything is a SaaS, everything is available on API and web services and there is a lot of integration happening at the base layer, this is now becoming a lot easier. So there is a general acceptance is what we’ve seen.

So here we are seeing that, from a hybrid perspective, you have two or three types of hybrids, one is your multi-cloud where you combine solutions from two clouds, or more clouds. Then you’re talking about cloud plus in-prem and finally you’re talking about within applications you’re splitting your workloads.

So here we’re talking about the third category where we are saying that there is an application, in our case we’ve chosen email as a category, and we are saying that we can split your workload, user workload across two solutions seamlessly and give you multiple benefits.

How it works

So here, in this case, we’ve chosen SkyConnect which is our own email platform and Microsoft Office 365, a very popular co-existence from our own customer base, so it is like a leaf out of our book to talk about, so here what we’re saying is, there is a domain called acmecorp.com, which could be a corporate domain, which is having about thousand users and we plan to split our users in a 90/10 split.

So 900 users are on Skyconnect, 100 users on Office 365, and then we will see how it works. What we would do here is we would base this architecture on a sub-domain architecture which is one of the options, there are multiple more but we’ll talk about sub-domain here. We will create here a domain called o365.acmecorp.com, setup the MX for that so that the mails for any user at o365.acmecorp.com land on your Office 365 environment and their mails are stored in this infra.

Similarly on that end, all the mails for acmecorp.com will land on Skyconnect which has 900 users and they would be stored on Skyconnect, all right? So we have now got two internet facing domains, each receiving mails via MX for their respective set of users.

Now the second configuration we do is, we inform Office 365 that whenever any of these users, 100 users, wants to send the mail to acmecorp.com, rout the mail to the internet, That is natural, We’re talking about sending it to, let’s say raju@acmecorp.com. So the mail will be routed to the internet.

But on the Skyconnect side, what we would do is, we would set up the 100 users there, which are Office 365 users and set their forwarding via email to this environment, so this is how the routing would work within the domain, all right?

So external mails come here for both the set of users, routing within domains is done via email ids, different email ids, when these users want to send the mail out, they will rout the mail via the internet, but what they would do is they would set up their reply to as acmecorp.com. so that in case somebody replies to that mail, it will come and land there. See you don’t want to expose this domain as your professional domain. You would want to expose acmecorp as your professional domain. So while you’re using this for mail routing, you’re using acmecorp for visibility and responses. So this is a change, the only change out here, on that end there is no change, all outbound
mails are routed to the internet.

So we’ve covered inbound mail, we’ve covered outbound mail and we’ve covered local mailings between the two platforms. Now here, for these users to see those users via the address book, what we would do is we would configure the global address list with those 900 users and maintain it during provision which can be automated as well on that end I have added 1000 users. So all my 1000 users are visible to my 900 users via the address list.
So now I’ve setup a system in which my users are split plus they can see each other’s contacts plus they can seamlessly send mail to each other and to the internet, right?

Benefits of a Hybrid Email Solution

1) Choice: So I have got a choice of two solutions. By the way, this can be extended to three as well; three or four, we wouldn’t recommend, but at least you can look at it from that perspective that I’ve got a choice of two solutions where I can put my different set of users who have differing needs and each solution fulfills only those needs well. That is the choice I have and I can put these together.

2) Cost: Obviously there are differing costs to both the solutions, now since the user base is split, all right? And obviously, you know, you are trying to optimize always, I mean, it would not be possible that you would not want to optimize your cost and you know that the users are not uniform, so you will put a set of users here, pay for them here, put another set of users there and pay a differed cost for those and you combine the two, you would get a cost optimization out here.

3) Posture: By combining different solutions from different vendors, you are actually gaining from the superior postures of each. Like this may have a superior posture on the app front, that may have a superior posture on the reliability and the durability as well as the, you know, performance. So, all in all, your posture improves as an organization. Plus, you have the resilience, you can move users from here to there in case of a disaster or you can always augment it by, you know, choosing some users to transfer to the other platform.

4) No vendor lock-in: This can be a nightmare for most IT teams when they have to use services of one vendor across their landscape and they can get pretty badly stuck if they have to migrate, move or bring in another platform. But by choosing deliberately a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, you are mitigating this vendor lock-in
challenge to a large extent.

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