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White House E-Mail (MS Outlook & Exchange) System Goes Down

Dean Lythgoe

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January 28, 2009 5:07 pm

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I was at GWAVACon Las Vegas this week when this article hit the news wire. Check out this link…

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/01/26/white_house_e-mail_system_goes.html?wprss=44

The entire crowd at the conference was not at all surprised at this “techical snafu” As seasoned and experienced Network Administrators, consultants, resellers and support engineers – they know how mission critical email is in their organizations and have come to rely on the stability of GroupWise.

A few quotes that have been posted on the Novell web site recently, I will repeat here:

Our company has had an accumulated post office downtime of 90 minutes in 20 years!
- Steve Tucker, RBF Consulting, United States

Overall, we have never lost any e-mails and our availability has been an average of 99.9 percent available monthly.
- Karen Migliarini, City of Toronto, Canada

In our 10 years of using GroupWise, it has never once become corrupt, suffered downtime or have we been disappointed.
- Roger Anderson, Aerospace Distributors, United States

I even liked the fact that they completely misunderstand the technology… Check out this quote…

“Both outgoing and incoming mail are out, the result, an aide explained, of an outage with the Outlook server. The aide said the outage goes beyond the press shop. The first lady’s office is also without e-mail, as are other offices.”…. Outlook Server :)

GroupWise has the best record in the industry as it relates to unplanned downtime, reliability, outages and ‘technical snafus’. As I spoke with several people at GWAVACon, it was confirmed just how solid this product and infrastructure have become. The engineering team is committed to measurable quality control with each successive release of the family of products. GroupWise, Teaming, Conferencing, Messenger, etc.

This is a great article to share with your colleagues using Exchange or considering an Exchange deployment, upgrade or migration. Is this the kind of risk they are willing to take?

By the way – if you missed GWAVACon – you really missed out! It is a fantastic conference to meet colleagues and members of the GroupWise and T+C Community, get technical knowledge and find solutions from the active and growing partner community. Check out gwavacon.com for upcoming events that may be in your area. Richard Bliss did announce several more conferences this year including one in the UK, Germany and on the US East Coast.

Juan Carlos Cerrutti really gave an exceptional keynote and explained the strategic nature of collaboration in the overall Novell Business vision. There were also 3 analysts who attended and who cover the collaboration space. They each expressed a very positive response to GroupWise, the community, the conference and the future for Novell Collaboration. There are lots of things to be excited about for 2009!

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12 Comments

  1. By:gburg

    It calls it “the Outlook server” …
    So what are we talking about.

    Gert
    http://www.GWCheck.com

    want to compare GroupWise and Exchange ? check http://exchange.gwcheck.com
    i will add http://outlook.gwcheck.com soon ;-)

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    • By:dlythgoe

      As all of you know – these are two different things and the article has mixed it up.

      1. There is no such thing as an Outlook Server
      2. You can’t have an email outage if just Outlook goes down

      What happened is they had an ‘Exchange Server’ snafu/crash/outage – but users only know about ‘Outlook’ – not Exchange – so Outlook got the blame.

      This is becoming one of my most popular blogs…

      :)

      Dean

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      • By:gburg

        Dean,

        You wrote : ” users only know about ‘Outlook’ – not Exchange ” …

        This is exactly the reason why many users ask ” why don’t we use Outlook ? ” in GroupWise using companies and organizations.

        So I expect the Outlook Connector for GroupWise 8 will appear this summer with SP1 as you wrote on http://www.novell.com/communities/node/6492/groupwise-next-what-we-are-working that you ” plan to release 8.0.1 in the first half of 2009 ” ;-)

        This should be no problem, now that Alex Evans, GroupWise Product Manager, writes on his GroupWise Mobility Update, commenting http://www.novell.com/communities/node/6721/groupwise-mobility-update#comment-5589 that ” This is a benefit of our relationship with Microsoft “.

        Keep up the good work !

        Gert
        http://www.GWCheck.com

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      • By:dlythgoe

        We completely understand the Outlook lust that exists and have tried at least three times to build an Outlook Connector. However, the technical challenges to that approach to the problem have been difficult to say the least. It takes an extremely large set of our best resources and still is met with a very luke warm response.

        We are rethinking our approach and when/if we can find a better solution – ala SLOX or PostPath, Zimbra, or simply an Outlook skin for the GroupWise client, we will pursue those opportunities as the business case dictates.

        It will not be in 8.0.1. Cooperation with Microsoft is beneficial, but they still keep the crown jewels locked up :)

        Dean

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  2. By:akronawitter

    Our customer of GroupWise like this stable email system with long uptime.
    GroupWise crypt and compressed any mail that stored in the Postoffices.
    That is the reason why viruses and malicious programs little success GroupWise attack.
    Most of our exchange customers have trouble with memory leaks in windows server system, depends on drives, an software of virus. Exchange is in fokus of all hacker and will attached more an more. Windows run very well when you install nothing . Or admin start the server 1 time a month, at maintenance window :-)
    But for all the mail system is in the future you 24 hours per day are available, and without lunch break 25 hours :-) Das is the task for all parties involved in e-mail systems. Users will not otherwise accept.
    Andreas

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  3. By:sstanton

    If they call it an Outlook server, then it could be anything on the backend. Besides being a native Exchange client , the Outlook client can also be configured for any POP3 server. Since it is the White House, I am betting that there are National Security guys controlling the server side and guaranteeing that it is secure, so I am betting that it is not Excahnge, it is probably an NSA locked down version of sendmail.

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    • By:aevans

      Don’t forget the other highly publicised email failing at the White House that confirms it is Exchange:
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/04/bush-lost-e-mails.ars
      “When the Bush administration took office, it decided to replace the Lotus Notes-based e-mail system used under the Clinton Administration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange”

      And my favourite line from the article:
      “Instead, the White House has instituted a comically primitive system called “journaling”

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    • By:dlythgoe

      It is Exchange…

      Outlook can be the client for several backends, but we know that the system they are using is Exchange.

      Dean

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  4. By:shutchinson

    It may not be Exchange – it could be any E-Mail Server that Outlook has been configured to work with.

    All the Aide knows is the program they use on the PC is Outlook (or maybe Outlook Express ~ most people don’t know the difference), and the E-Mail Server was broken, therefore it made sense to the Aide to call it the “Outlook Server”.

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    • By:dlythgoe

      Obviously you are right – it could be. But it wasn’t…..If you follow the story and know more details about the problem, it has been confirmed it was Exchange.

      Yes – the aide was obviously not technical. But the technical snafu was definitely Exchange.

      Dean

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  5. By:kwhite

    This is not good for the new Presidency. I hope that the White House received a call from Mr Hovsepian with an offer to send a team of GroupWise experts to solve this crisis.

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  6. By:sterlingsilver

    In my previous company, our Exchange/Outlook network went down for 2 days before the IT guys were able to restore everything. The worst they weren’t able to restore the mailboxes only the infrastructure was restored. But the old emails were all gone.

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