MailServ: FCB-Ulka Case Study has a case study about FCB Ulka’s deployment of our Linux-based messaging solution (Emergic MailServ):

The FCB-Ulka group comprising of FCB-Ulka Advertising and Interface Communications (offering marketing and communication consultancy services), has recently switched its messaging solution from Sendmail to Emergic Mailserv – a Linux-based messaging and security solution.

Developed by Netcore Solutions Pvt Ltd., the highly customized distributed solution has been deployed at the groups seven locations across six cities in India.

It all started in 1999, when FCB-Ulka, part of the FCB Group and Interpublic Group of Companies, decided to switch from MS Exchange to the Linux-based Sendmail. Deployed by Ashtech Infotech Ltd., the solution worked well over a period, but eventually with a rise in scope and usage, the drawbacks far outweighed the pros.

Ritu Madbhavi, systems director, FCB Ulka Advertising, outlined some of the issues the company encountered, “Administration difficulties such as tedious process of adding and deleting new users, lack of simple interface for basic functions like auto responder and disclaimer arose with Sendmail.”

To add to their woes, despite developing new scripts with the latest versions of Perl, they were incompatible with the older version of Linux.

Obsolesce was another issue the media house had to contend with, as the system was built on Red Hat Linux 5.0, which used fetchmail. Remote access was provided via dialup, but it was limited to only one person being able to access mail at any given time due to a single modem with a telephone line on the server.

Moreover, the mailing architecture was such that one of the locations in Mumbai acted as a hub. So a breakdown of the server in that location ended up affecting the entire companys email structure.

Security too reared its head, as the system was a basic messaging with no firewalls, and the sole security provided for by the routers. Even monitoring of internet access was not possible as the server was equipped with only the basic proxy services.

Explained Madbhavi, FCB-Ulka was now looking for something beyond messaging and we evaluated various solutions. Having run a Linux based mailing solution, the team at FCB-Ulka knew exactly what they wanted in the new mailing system. The requirements were crystallized and the only company that came close to satisfy our needs was Netcore, which in turn implemented its flagship Emergic Mailserv.

The basic functionalities implemented in the messaging area was a standard compliant mail server providing IMAP, POP, SMTP, LDAP services, availability of webmail allowing users to access when they are away from the desktop or when they are traveling.

In the security space, the mail is now handled from a web-based server managed 24×7 by Netcore, an anti-spam that detects junk based on the content, tags them and then blocks it at the ISP, server and user level. Unlike the previous system, which had a limitation of one user only, the new one can handle any number of users. The advance proxy enables the system administrator to block sites based on various criteria such as domain name, content, etc. Also, the authentication based proxy controls the browsing schedule deciding which user is allowed to browse when.

According to Kalpit Jain, CTO of Netcore, The solution that runs only on Linux, has an anti-virus application, armed with a firewall, enhanced with load balancing features apart from bandwith management and monitoring. The mail server has been placed in the DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone)- a server zone, which is accessible to the public as well as to the private network. In other words, it separates the internal network from the outside world.

Commenting about the inherent benefits, Madbhavi cited reliability, flexibility coupled with ease of administration and simplicity. However, acknowledged Madbhavi, Netcore was able to execute a high degree of customization primarily because the solution was built on open source.

Emergic Mailserv has been built with a judicious mix of certain open source components alongwith internally developed software, affirmed Jain.

Spelling the minimum technical requirements, Jain stated that for 25 users a P III with a 64 MB RAM with 20 GB hard disk is needed.

Founded in 1998, Netcore Solutions Pvt Ltd. is an enterprise solutions company, focused on messaging, collaboration, and security software offering a range of enterprise products and hosted services. Among its several corporate customers using this solution are IDBI Bank and Raymonds.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.