Mail Manager System Architecture

Overview

Mail Manager is installed on personal computers; note that no server based components are required.

Filing of messages is a two part process; the first is to allocate the message for filing and the second to file the message. Once the message has been allocated for filing you can continue to using Outlook. The filing of messages occurs in the background and requires no further user intervention. If the filing location is not available e.g. mobile workers working off-line, the filing process occurs when they next connect to the network.

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No server required

Whilst Mail Manager can file messages to your local disk and network servers (Exchange, file system, SharePoint etc), you do not have to install anything on any of your server/s to benefit from the software. This makes it very easy to deploy in teams or to pilot, as there is no disruption to central systems.

File format

When filing to file system folders or storage systems like SharePoint (not Outlook), Mail Manager creates an MSG file for each message. This is a Microsoft file format which contains the entire message including all its formatting, images, links and attachments. In practice Outlook creates the files but under Mail Manager's supervision. This ensures that they are 100% compatible with Outlook. Should you wish to open these files on a machine that does not have Mail Manager, simply double-click the file or drag and drop it onto the Outlook window.

Local index

To provide a very fast search, which is also available when off-line, Mail Manager employs a highly compressed local index.

Mail Manager's indexer is always working to keep any searches made up to date and relevant. It pays particular attention to filing locations that are important to the user. This might be because they have lots of activity or because the user is filing or searching those locations.

Particular effort has been made to ensure that the indexer works well with limited resources, such as networks and servers. If a server appears to be becoming overloaded, the indexer will reduce the rate of indexing dynamically to match the resources available. In terms of looking for new items to index, Mail Manager will focus its efforts on filing locations that appear to be more active and will become less interested in locations that have become dormant. This allows the indexer to react more swiftly to changes where they really matter without wasting resources monitoring locations needlessly.

Index size

To give a feel for the size of the local index we indexed our entire customer, reseller and development folders totalling over 134,000 messages of mixed size, many of which included attachments. This consumed only 429Mb of local disk space.

Mail Manager on the handheld

Handheld devices (iPhone, iPad Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry etc.) do not normally have the ability to access your company file system due to the protocol stack. So the handheld does not directly file the messages, instead messages are moved to Drop Folders. A Drop Folder is an Outlook folder created and managed by Mail Manager, they can be identified on mobile device by a prefix e.g. * and the description of the filing location. Messages moved to a Drop Folder are then synchronised via the Mail Server to Outlook on the PC. Mail Manager's filing process on the PC then files the messages.

Note: All Mail Manager filing locations have a unique internal ID. When allocating messages for filing Mail Manager uses the destination ID rather than the full path. This ensures that the message will be correctly filed even if the location name and path have changed whilst being off-line.