Office 365 Service Provisions

Office 365 Service Descriptions

Office 365 Service Descriptions provide an overview of all available services, service features, and includes details about license plans and on-premises vs. online versions:

IMAP Network Upgrade

IMAP Network Upgrade

We are upgrading our IMAP email platform in early 2015. This is a major system upgrade which is being released in a staged roll-out. We do not have confirmed dates, so be sure to check back for updates.

The IMAP service was introduced in 2014 to cope with users who needed email synchronisation on multiple devices. During 2014 ComStat gained Microsoft Cloud Partner certification and comsequently we intend to deprecate both POP3 and IMAP email services in favour of our Microsoft Exchange service during 2015. Exchange provides a broader service specification for users who need SLA-backed reliability.

Although this service is scheduled for deprecation, we will continue to support the platform for existing users until pending renewal.

The engineering work does not affect ComStat’s Exchange/Office 365 users.

During the IMAP platform re-build we expect some degradation of service and possible disruption. IMAP users who require continuous service may want to consider migrating to Exchange in advance of their normal renewal dates – please contact Steve Galloway on 07834 461 266 for more guidance.

Exchange Email – 100GB inline archiving available

With effect from August 18th, ComStat is providing 100GB inline email archiving.  Inline archiving is provided in addition to the 50GB limits established for individual user accounts.

Inline archiving is a technique that relocates arhived email from on-premises equipment to users’ allocated services at the data centre.

Typically, small business users archive email using Microsoft Outlook to a segragated data file that sits apart from their Outlook inbox, sent Items, and other current folders. Archiving helps to improve system runtime. However, archived emails continue to reside on users’ individual workstations, and archives can only be accessed from the workstation that the arhive is situated on. This leaves the risk of data loss in the event of hard drive failure or machine failure. Unless the archive itself has been backed up using .pst, the archive remains vulnerable.

In our experience, users are not comfortable with Outlook’s backup functions and email backup, whether by copying current folders or using archives, is generally not organised. Typically, users’ email records are usually about as historic as the lifetime of their machine.

ComStat’s email services for premium business users provides 50GB mail storage per user. There is a case to argue that archiving is not necessary at this level. However, users who connect to email services with mobile devices via telco connections may have trouble managing large volumes of email on mobiles, particularly where bandwidth is limited, where data transfer volumes may be an issue, and where smartphones are physically limited to lower capacities (8GB, 16GB, etc).

Inline archiving helps to reduce inbox sizes, while relocating historic archives to the managed data centre also means users can access their archive via a variety of devices.

Inline archiving is available to premium business users by default.  Other users considering this service should talk through options with ComStat. Existing users who want to upgrade to this service would need a manual rebuild of their environment, so it is important to plan needs in advance of execution of service.