back to article City of Moscow to ditch 600k Exchange and Outlook licences

The city of Moscow has announced it's going to start ditching Microsoft, following a call by president Vladimir Putin for Russia to be more self-reliant, and is starting with an untried-at-scale e-mail system. The phase-out will start by replacing Microsoft Exchange servers and Outlook clients, on 6,000 of the city's computers …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    It's ALL about the money... don't mention security!

    Isn't it it rather strange The Reg made NO reference to the latter?

    After all, there is a perfectly open and long stated desire in Russia to remove UNSA and its corporations from its public sector IT. Quite understandably. So, while I'm sure that the benefit of sparing a few Rubles from expatriation isn't lost on the Muscovites, I very much doubt it their ONLY, or even PRIMARY concern. Particularly now, in the midst of a tempest of US surveillance "revelations."

    Odd.

    1. Buzzword

      Re: It's ALL about the money... don't mention security!

      What's the point in having secure software if all your hardware is built in the People's Republic of China?

      1. thames

        Re: It's ALL about the money... don't mention security!

        @Buzzword - "What's the point in having secure software if all your hardware is built in the People's Republic of China?"

        So are you saying that you don't bother with having any software security at all on anything you control?

        I guess all the world's IT vendors and customers should just bin all their security staff, since in your view there's no point in having secure software. They can instead use the savings on something more important such as executive bonuses. Trebles all around!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: It's ALL about the money... don't mention security!

        What's the point in having secure software if all your hardware is built in the People's Republic of China?

        Quite a lot, apparently. ...but who told you that all the hardware will be built in China anyway?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

    Without the emcumberance of not knowing what MS might be doing under the covers.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

      Not really. There is nothing open source which can do calendaring at scale.

      I have looked at it again... and again... and again... for 15 years. Nope, no cookie.

      1. xj25vm

        Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

        Not so sure about that. I have had to try over the years a lot of alternatives to the Exchange calendar - and indeed, most of them keel over when you throw more than a few thousand appointments at them. In the end I settled on Horde. Configured with a PostgreSQL back-end (I believe it can also run on MariaDB/MySQL) - it should scale up really nicely. It is definitely much more efficient than Exchange, which needs 8GB of RAM and a Xeon processor just for a small office with 10 workstations. The Linux server for the same office now runs on a 10 year old machine with 1GB of RAM - comfortably. Horde has been churning away for years now at a number of my clients' offices without giving me any grief - unlike the few clients who still have Exchange, which constantly throws tantrums.

      2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

        Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

        > There is nothing open source which can do calendaring at scale.

        Really? What about something like Kolab? Fairly sure some installations run to what would be termed "scale".

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

        "There is nothing open source which can do calendaring at scale."

        Or that can handle unified communications and unified messaging in anything like as user friendly and so well integrated format as MSO...I feel sorry for the users.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Linux

          Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

          Hello RICHTO "TheVogon".

          It's looking like Moscow is going to be your new Munich. A major world capital too, no less. You must be terribly excited.

          I wonder where will be next to kick you to touch and never look back... Milan? Madrid? Mumbai? Manchester?...

          Interesting times.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

            "It's looking like Moscow is going to be your new Munich"

            I think perhaps you are under some confusion - re references to "your" - I don't work in anyway for Microsoft and never have - FYI I currently work for a FTSE 100...

            If you mean just like Munich they are going to spend millions extra to get an inferior solution, end up running both systems in parallel for decades and have the users clamouring for Microsoft back, then yes, probably you are right...

  3. RIBrsiq
    WTF?

    "starting with an untried-at-scale e-mail system".

    Should be fun to watch, that. If one doesn't have to support it. Where's the popcorn...?

    But seriously, why weren't they using their own variant of Linux already? I guess no one would grease the proper palms to get that happening, so who cares if it makes sense!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite!... and if one didn't know better, one might imagine that any of ROSA, Calculate or alt, to name just a few fine Russian distros, might make a fine starting point for such a project and would certainly flourish upon receiving a tiny crumb of the patronage currently squandered elsewhere.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Email at scale is easy

      Email at scale is easy.

      It did not take that much effort to rig the early (pre-Microsoft) Hotmail, the first versions of the provider hosted Yahoo systems, etc.

      I can rig you an email system for 1M users using off-the shelf components in a week or so (I have done the exercise of going through the design of one for one of UK SPs which decided to combine giving jobs to wives + purchasing email from Google instead). It may not be as efficient as something written from the ground up for that scale, but it will be less buggy (by using components that are known to work).

      Other functions you may need in a business setting - shared calendaring, shared contacts, etc at that scale are phenomenally difficult (especially once you add the relevant requirements on zoning and permissions).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Email at scale is easy

        Even with email Outlook and Exchange as some features simpler mail software have not, for example allowing other people to access your mailbox (with their accounts, and ACL set on access), and sending mail on behalf of someone else (with the proper permissions, of course).

        In situations like one or more executive assistants filtering and answering mails, and the like, it allows for a controlled access, and accountability - within a single mailbox, no shared logins, no duplication behind the scene.

        And there are others most simple mail users don't know about. Setting up a mail service for a large organization is very different than setting it up for single person usage - even if the number of users is the same, there are very different requirements and needs.

        Anyway Russia has a long history of using outdated things - after they looted German factories after the war, they kept on using the same machinery to produce the same exact artifacts designed in the 30's-'40s well into the '80s... Lomography even built a business on that. They are just getting back to old vices.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Email at scale is easy

          @LDS, While I agree with your Russia comment, one could perhaps, in the name of words I have forgotten, mention that the German ME 262, the worlds first fighter jet and the ME 163, the first rocket fighter ended up in the USA very quickly and of course guys like Werhner von Brown.

          Still, "using outdated things" they were first in space with Sputnik and Gagarin.

          I write this because I sometimes think our ability to underestimate other people and countries is at times a bit too advanced. The dumbest thing you can do in an competition is to underestimate your competitors,

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Email at scale is easy

            There's a difference about how USA and USSR used German technology. USA brought in the people and let them improve their technologies and designs. USA didn't need much the machinery because its own one was already comparable, while Russian wasn't.

            The Lockheed P-80 flown in 1944, before the Me-262 was available to be studied. Of course, all Allies inspected German technology carefully and learned a lot - but the best jet engine after the world came from the UK. The MiG-15 too used one, after IIRC Attlee clumsy sent blueprints to Stalin in a "goodwill" effort - just to find them on the enemy side in Korea.

            USSR brought in the people who couldn't or didn't want to escape to the West, and also all the machinery and tools it could put it hands on. There were also frictions when USAAF wanted to bomb German factories in what would have become the USSR occupation zone because they already planned to loot them of everything as soon as possible. They basically "moved" whole German factories to the USSR territory.

            While military technology was greatly pushed in the USSR - for obvious reasons, and with some successes - albeit even their space program suffered from the lack of some more advanced technologies (i.e. LOX engines for upper stages) -, it was the civil one that wasn't.

            They kept on using old machinery and designs - as it happened, for example, for cameras - or got the rights for some old ones later - i.e. when in Togliattigrad after an agreement with FIAT they started to produce models which were already outdated in Italy, like the FIAT 124 (as the Lada-Vaz Žiguli), and kept them in production well into the 2000s... the state of civil technology before foreign good could be freely imported, was abysmal.

            I don't underestimate other people and countries, yet I know history and often had first hand experience of some of them. For example when I went from Bucharest to Constanța on a Dacia 1300, a late licensed copy of the Renault 12....

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Email at scale is easy

              Fair enough LDS.

              Some more about the XP.80 from the Wiki.

              "The XP-80 had a conventional all-metal airframe, with a slim low wing and tricycle landing gear. Like most early jets designed during World War II—and before the Allies captured German research data that showed the speed advantages of swept-wings—the XP-80 had straight wings, similar to previous propeller-driven fighters. It was the first operational jet fighter to have its engine in the fuselage, a format previously used in the pioneering German Heinkel He 178 V1 of 1939"

              As for Russian cars, as kids me used to slam stickers with the text "Made in the USSR by slave labour" on them, provided by the MAD magazine. Very childish, no doubt, as those cars belonged to people who couldn't afford any better.

              I visited Russia the first time before it fell apart and was amazed at how old their cars were.To day they are car crazy, the bigger the better. and preferably American.

              Knowing history is fine especially if one understands that each country has a strong tendency to slightly "colour" its history. Eventually when the history is a bit further in the past more balanced versions are born or not. Russia had Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Labelled as dissidents of course. An American looking under the rug will be called a leftist, of course.

              Look at how upset some Americans are with Oliver Stone and "The Untold History of the United States". Much the same with Michael Moore. Enough of this, see you on some other topic.

  4. gobaskof

    Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

    Put in some SMPTP, IMAP, LDAP, and maybe CalDAV, and you are well ahead of sodding Exchange for adhering to the standards the rest of the world use.

    Exchange is the software metaphor for an iPhone7 lots of shiny alternatives you don't want and no way to connect it so normal stuff you already have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

      MS and Exchange is all about lockin to expensive licenses and support contracts. It is not about features that users may find useful.

      Moving from say Apple to Android (or the other way round) is easy just time consuming.

      Moving away from Exchange is a major undertaking and certainly one that you don't do on a wet afternoon.

      Personally, I find Exchange/Lookout in the Orifice 365 incantation to be just about usable and that is it.

      With a totally locked down desktop where I can't change the way Lookout shows email chains it frustrates the hell out of me.

      My takeoff to a MS free life is at 3 days and counting. Can't wait for friday afternoon then I'll have a few beers.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

      Show me an off-the-shelf CalDav server which scales to 1M users.

      1. Oh Matron!
        Linux

        Re: Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

        iCloud?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

          "iCloud?"

          Not off the shelf, not even available outside of Apple, it's not free, and it doesn't do much other than backup your calendar data to the internet...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well if it can support standards then it is aleady ahead of the game

      "adhering to the standards the rest of the world use."

      That "rest of the world" is much smaller than the real world of Exchange users. It's by far the dominant business email platform...

  5. AndrewDu

    "An IT integrator told the outlet it was the first big win for New Cloud's My Office product"

    State organisation goes with State-approved software supplier? This counts as a "win"?

  6. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    It depends

    This story would be slightly different, like the comments too, if the town was London and not Moscow still the benefits would be the same. I would not say "njet" if my capital town, any town, made a similar decision, more local, more open standards and software. Linux is not mentioned here, perhaps because it's inevitable.

  7. phuzz Silver badge
    Joke

    Just goes to prove (as if any more proof were needed!) that linux == communism

  8. jon909

    http://www.geek.com/microsoft/10-years-later-munich-may-dump-linux-for-windows-1602234/

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      "munich-may-dump-linux", They haven't and that link is two years old, Read the comments too.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #"They haven't and that link is two years old"

    But the users and the mayor wanted to as the new solution is so crappy to live with...reversing it of course means many years more pain and yet more money down the drain though...

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