Sync between Webmail Calendar & other Cal platforms
Provide implementation of various types of calendar software (iCal, Google Calendar, etc) that works with the RackSpace calendar. This would also support the use of immediate two-way sync between. Also include a mobile version that is accessible on Droid, iPhone, and BlackBerry...
(From another, similar post)
Provide CalDAV access to calendars: This is the most portable and future-proof way to support access to calendars. This instantly satisfies the need for Mac and Thunderbird + Lightning.
Mike Vaccaro commented
Great idea! CardDAV support would also be a huge help.
@Adam; IIRC, i think archiving is per domain only. I remember asking if i could mix'n'match archived and non-archived accounts, and was told it was an all or nothing solution.
AdminKatherine Reed (Admin, Rackspace) commented
Adam the pdf is a good overview of the email offerings. Would you like for me to have our marketing team create a white-label collateral document based on your pdf? If so, email me at email@example.com and I'll take care of it.
@Adam; you rock. That would have been unbelievably awesome to get right off the bat. A way more concise way of managing expectations than going back and forth with sales, and back and forth with support, and then testing.
Hahah thanks Manny! My only comment is that it would be awesome to have a page, with a technical audience in mind, that clearly compared the account types. I think this might help address a lot of the questions in this post.
I spent a few days gathering the information (and chatting with support) to gather the information together to make this: https://www.ateamsystems.com/drop/account-comparison.pdf which does that, so we can present it to our clients to help them decided which account type they need. (Note for everyone else: the pricing on that PDF is our company's pricing not Rackspace's -- though it is very similar).
I'd be interested if I missed anything and/or you spotted anything that wasn't correct on this. We're going to turn this into a web page on our site shortly as well and make it a bit prettier :P
Although we realize this is a hot topic, we're still not entirely sure it's the direction we'll be going in. Especially not in the short term - with the other big features we're currently working on (see updated RSE thread).
Thanks for your patience and for keeping the conversation alive.
Hey Adam - would you like a job?
Seriously though, Im not sure even I could have explained many of those points as well as you did - so thanks. Also, welcome aboard. If I can do anything to make your time with us more Fanatical - please let me know.
@Austin: Ahh I got you. Yeah not using shared calendars on mobile and I see now you want to share between Rackspace email and Exchange which I missed (and I think you're correct, you can't do).
Totally agree on the "losing proposition". We were faced with updating our webmail suite (as it was years behind -- again) which gets more expensive than Rackspace seats if you start adding ActiveSync etc (and of course doesn't do Exchange if needed).
Since shared calendaring is your main issue, one thought would be to find something that lets you do iCal/ICS on Android and iOS (maybe iOS does but I was shocked that my Android phone doesn't support this!) and then just run an iCal server. Thunderbird (I know) and Outlook (I believe) would support it as iCal has good desktop support. You'd still be managing a server but mail could be somewhere else (Rackspace or other) and you're really just managing a single seat ICS server not some mail server.
Heck a gmail calendar might work as that has an iCal interface. It's all contingent on getting iCal going on the mobile front though which I didn't look into (because I didn't want to have clients have to install something). OTOH I moved my own account to full Exchange specifically so I could get off gmail for contacts and calendaring :P (nothing more worrying than having your life and business run off a free, unsupported service).
@Adam: I don't wanna be running boxes providing mail service either. It's a losing proposition that gets worse and worse ever year, now with archiving requirements their's a absolute cost that moves in a linear direction i just don't want to have to account for. I was looking into Hosted Zimbra solutions, however nobody can touch rackspace's pricing *shrugs*.
>> I guess I don't quite get "cannot sync shared calendars with exchange accounts" ..
-- I should have clarified that i meant syncing across mobile devices. That's totally my fault.
The scenario's I needed that I was told wouldn't work:
1. Sharing/Sync'ing a Shared Calendar across mobile devices.
2. Sharing/Sync'ing a personal or shared calendar across platforms (i.e. exchange email account & rackspace email account)
3. If you're able to get either of the two above scenario's working, having write access.
@Austin: Ended up signing the Rackspace contract last week, moved over. I've watched Zimbra for years and it looks good but honestly part of this is I don't want to be running boxes providing mail service, and if I'm going to pay licensing or SaaS fees I want it to be "real" Exchange and not find out that "oh it doesn't _quite_ work" when I sell this to a client and then they flip out because it's not actually Exchange..,
Are you sure about the shared calendars with full Exchange accounts? I can see the tools in the admin to set them up and then allow other Exchange users to manage them. That should work fine with OWA or desktop Outlook yeah? I guess I don't quite get "cannot sync shared calendars with exchange accounts" .. it sounds like you're talking about the Rackspace Email not the Exchange accounts (which is in line with what I've seen).
Let me know if you'd like me to test anything out, too.
Appreciate your thoughts!
@Adam; Look into Zimbra. The open-source project/company VMware purchased. It does everything exchange does. The free version does what rackspace email does, the pay version does what exchange does.
Rackspace support has confirmed several times for me that you cannot sync shared calendars with exchange accounts, and in a "hybrid" configuration, cross calendar sharing is even more clumsy; and doesn't suppose sharing shared calendars across mobile devices.
Our clients need exactly 1 calendar shared across their entire domain, and 0 personal calendars. Rackspace provides nearly-infinite personal calendars, and shared calendars only in web interface. If you're willing to purchase Rackspace hosted exchange, then you get the ability to write to the calendar from outlook; however i have not fully tested their conflict resolution flow with shared calendars. Many platforms with pseudo-exchange support will destroy updates to the calendar if they don't manually resync before committing changes ಠ_ಠ
The only scenario which Rackspace Email w/Mobile Sync makes sense to me is if you have every person in the domain logging into the Calendar@domain.TLD account simply to sync the calendar, and then also logging into their emailaccount@domain.TLD to sync their email, as that's the only way to share a calendar. I haven't tested this to see if rackspace will allow 400 people to log into the same account because once i realized that was the solution i gave up on rackspace as a solution for calendaring.
Having gone through the sales support team here is my take on things:
Think of the "basic" Rackspace Email accounts as drop in IMAP replacements that include webmail. The fact that it can also do Mobile Syncing is a pure bonus feature (and does require a small monthly payment on top, too). The fact that they achieve this mobile syncing using the ActiveSync protocol is just the least common denominator in terms of device support. It's not meant to actually be full Exchange support, frustratingly close as it is.
The Exchange mailbox service is really what you want if you want to do desktop contact and calendar syncing (in addition to webmail and mobile), along with all the other features of Exchange. Now that I see the options and settings behind it, it's clear that the Rackspace Email Mobile Sync isn't nearly as "close to Exchange" as I had originally though, too.
Just my .02, I've spent weeks looking at providers ... Basically don't think of the Rackspace Emails /w Mobile Sync as a way to get cheap Exchange accounts unless read/write contact and calendar support on the desktop isn't needed, or using webmail for this is OK for the desktop like that.
On the other hand, nobody else does this either that I've seen. This sector (especially in terms of white labeling) is shockingly immature still and as far as I can see Rackspace are the only people to have even remotely their act together with regard to that (white labeling is an absolute requirement for us as we'd like to move clients over in addition to us).
Taking a step back: We're a UNIX shop, so imagine how adverse to Exchange we are .. yet that is the only thing that will get us editable/syncing of tasks, contacts, calendaring and email on mobile, desktop (Thunderbird) and webmail (via OWA). This is what has "cornered" us into Exchange ... it is what it is. At least we're not admining Windows Servers and Exchange! ;-P
@Austin: Your needs a slightly different than ours but ultimately it sounds like you too need real Exchange accounts. I'm not 100% certain about the shared calendars but from our demo account I can see you can setup Exchange accounts then grant other users permissions for them, via their own account which will appear in Outlook and OWA (users can view/send/etc as that shared account or their own as needed). There are even ways to define (via the admin UI) resources like conference rooms, projects, etc.
@Adam; thanks and totally agree with the whole "in shock"
Was about to port multiple thousands of clients to this solution, but no mobile sync of shared calendars is an absolute deal breaker for me. While I can see the novelty of sync'ing a personal calendar for personal accounts, SHARED CALENDARS are why they even exist in the business space. If i can't sync a shared calendar then there's no reason for me to pay for anything but the most basic of basic email accounts.
The only way around this limitation that i can see would be to create a "calendar" mail box on every client that wanted a shared calendar, give permissions to every person in the domain to read/write to the calendar, and setup the shared calendar account on every mobile device in addition to their work email account but only sync the calendar and not the email/notes/etc. Given that this exposes the login/password for the shared calendar account and/or requires a significant amount of effort to configure every mobile device in the organization, it's not a workable solution.
I remain confused; why can't i share, shared calendars to mobile devices via mobile sync?
iCal is supported, but it appears to be read only. Still sort of in shock this isn't fully supported -- really bummed as this is likely a deal breaker for me too.
Right click on the calendar (under Personal Calendars to the left in web mail) and you'll see Public and Private URLs for iCAL, just enable private, paste the URL into Lightning/Thunderbird.
Good luck to you all. Rackspace has stopped responding to support tickets on this matter.
On going case for 6 months and in the last month they have not supplied an update nor respond.
Sandy Kalugdan commented
I do hope that fanatics in rackspace are taking notes of their clients' requirements. otherwise, they might end up missing them.
atmailclouud.com has a DavSync tool for Outlook 2007 & 2010 and I am seriously consider moving. They also support ActiveSync too.
David Perry commented
While updateing the Calendar system we also need to add 7 Full days listed with week starting with Sunday. We have to use Google Calender for most scheduling do to its better view and management
Sam Howat commented
My feeling is that the Rackspace mail was designed for simple mail services and needs. Since Rackspace also offers Exchange hosting, they don't want their other email products to compete with Exchange.
We've had to sign up for a Google Reseller Account because no one wanted to pay for email, calendars and contacts and only have 1 of them work with their desktop programs.
Maybe Rackspace will implement CalDav in the future, but I don't think it will be soon and you should probably plan accordingly.