Top 3 reasons to upgrade Mithi Connect Xf to ver. 3.20

Dear Customer

We are happy announce the roll out phase of this eagerly awaited upgrade. While you can review the entire change list of this release 3.20 here, we have brought out the top 3 reasons why you should upgrade and how your setup will benefit from the same.

Performance

The new release has specific improvements to optimize the resource utilization by IMAP and LDAP, two of the most heavily used services on the setup. These improvements have resulted in more than 50% improvement in the utilization of key resources of all the servers’ viz. CPU usage, load averages, Swap utilization and I/O throughput with a marked improvement in end user service response time.

Performance Graph

Performance Graph

Source: The performance graphs are taken from the NOC of our cloud based SaaS service, Mithi Skyconnect. The shaded part indicates the time period before the upgrade.

User Experience

A smoother, slicker and much faster Baya (collaboration web client), specially designed to

  • Improve efficiency by reducing number of clicks to perform any operation. Most operations are now single click and without needing to open or view the object, which speeds up the operations many fold.
  • Improve user productivity with proactive notifications, alerts and helpful tips. The interface now talks back to the user and draws attention to items needing some work.
  • Improve response to user with operations like infinite scroll, quick high relevancy search and super fast sort. We analyzed that in more than 95% cases, users found what they were looking for in one operation, first screen.
  • Optimize use of server resources by reducing requests to the server, which in turn also show up as a faster interface for the user.
Baya Inbox Version 3.20

Baya Inbox Version 3.20

More Smarts, More Speed, More Space, More Ways to Collaborate

Mithi has improved the peer to peer and group Video calling application by introducing Screen sharing, which allows the participants to collaborate in real time around document(s) and do group reviews, take decisions, create plans and designs, etc. An in window text chat window allows quick capture of notes during the call, which are automatically archived.

Screen Share

Screen Share

Another exciting development is the integration of the Framebench application with the email attachment viewer in Baya. Once any attachment is opened in Framebench, comments posted on the document will be automatically visible to everyone, every time the document is opened from Baya. Multiple people can view the attachment and comment/annotate on the attachment, live, in real time. Essentially the attachment is hoisted onto a central store and all relevant people access that central document directly, with no copies and versions being made. Try this to see how much time and effort it saves besides the ease of doing the review over a document.

Framebench

Framebench

Want to try the software right now?

Please click here to visit our online trial site and evaluate the new version by creating a free trial account.

 

Introducing the new Baya Video Chat

 

So that your work gets done faster we build our product with one philosophy

–” Enable our users to do more in less time.”

That’s what we did when we added a text chat next to your work email. Quick discussions and status updates became just a ping away and writing emails for such small stuff, a thing of the past. By adding history in your text chat, things became more interesting. Recollecting what was discussed in the previous meeting was just a scroll up away. Suddenly those unmanageable and untraceable chains of emails vanished!

Now with the new Baya Video Chat we take our philosophy of enabling you to do more in less time, to a whole new level. Whether it’s a one on one weekly project review with your boss (ohoo!) or a brainstorming session with your team, with the new Baya Video Chat, you can do all that and more right from your desk.

Make video calls right from your chat roster. Want to add more people to an on-going video call? It too can be done right from your chat roster. You can meet with up to 4 people on Baya Video Chat. With our Screen-Sharing feature, you and others can even walkthrough those lengthy RFPs or give those sales presentations, should be without the need to send these documents and presentations over an email.

You might be now wondering, what if I want to meet my customer or my vendor, who is not on my chat roster! Well today is your lucky day. Wish granted (You should have asked for a million dollars! )

Our new Baya Video Chat allows you to do just that. Just click on the video chat icon on top of your text chat roster window, enter the email addresses of your customer or your vendor or anyone you want to meet, (you can meet with up four people at once), select the date and time of your meeting and click on the ‘Setup Meeting’. Your meeting is set. You and other participants will receive instructions on how to join this meeting on your emails. We have made joining a meeting as simple as clicking a website link. By the way, meetings don’t start without you, so be on time. If you need a reminder, download the calendar event attached in your meeting invite and add it to your Baya Calendar or any other calendar application.

Before we end this, something for your IT team to cheer about. Baya Video Chat requires no special hardware or software setup. You just need a regular mic and webcam for the video chat to work. You don’t even need to download any software as Baya Video Chat works directly in an internet browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Opera (sorry we don’t support IE and Safari as of now).

Sounds too good to be true? Well try it out for your self on www.mithiskyconnect.com

More Smarts. More Speed. More Space. More Ways to Collaborate.


Connect xf 3.20
carries the best Baya release yet – The integrated collaboration environment that runs of your browser, has been through some big improvements and exciting new feature additions. The new version of Baya is smarter, faster, with more working space and more ways to collaborate than before.

You now have even less reason to travel for meetings, spend time organising meetings or sit through long winding discussions. The new Baya release enable you to quickly exchange messages and information, set-up online meetings and collaborate over designs, reports, plans and ideas, right from your desk. That means lesser meetings and more productive engagements.

More Smarts

baya

  • Better email editor with automated spellcheck
  • Automatic update of the contacts based on your email usage
  • An automated mail box update
  • Easier navigation with continuous scrolling through the email items
  • Onscreen Alerts for new Email and Chat chat messages
  • Onscreen Assistance to get you started quickly with the new features
  • Improved invitation and response handling in the calendar.

More Speed

  • Faster search with better controls
  • Faster sort
  • Many more direct operations making it quicker to go through your mails and organise yourself for the day
  • Several System level upgrades for improved performance

More Space

  • Pop-up windows are bigger making them more comfortable and pop-outs are provided wherever there is a need for additional space
  • Emails can be popped out of the email item list into separate browser tabs to pickout the important/urgent mails to work on. It’s like building a to do list for the email
  • The page layout has been optimised to create more working space with slimmer and retractable windows

More Ways to Collaborate

  • The new release comes with Framebench…the easiest way to review and collaborate over documents, designs, videos… Read more about it hereFramebench
  • The video chat app has now been upgraded to include screen sharing to make video meetings more productive…so you can now share application screens, videos, documents etc. from your desktop anything that could make your online engagement more effective.
    The video meeting also now includes a text chat window that enables you to share text messages, information, URLs etc. to make your meeting more productive.

    Baya Video Meeting

     

    Screen Share

    Screen Share

     

    Video Chat Roster

    Video Chat Roster

  • All this from your browser interface without having to download or configure another App

Other Improvements

  • The POP Threshold control ensures faster response to users using POP clients
  • Ability to export the list of domains, users, class of services along with other properties eases the work of user management
  • Some reported bugs have been resolved. Read more about it here

The Easiest Way to View, Annotate and Collaborate over any email Attachment

The Easiest Way to View, Annotate and Collaborate over any email Attachment
Say No to endless exchange of email attachments.
Collaborate over attachments in real time.
Besides previewing and downloading an attachment, you can now open an email attachment sent to you using Framebench. Doing so helps you to not just preview the document but also to collaborate over it with your team without having to download, modify and resend attachments.

With Framebench extention in Baya, you can add comments and annotations to the document and share these with others. Who in turn can add their comments and annotations to it. All the comments, annotations and discussions appear at one place. So everyone in the team is on the same page.

Once you have shared a document using Framebench, you to collaborate over it with multiple people in realtime i.e. your comments and annotations become visible to the people you shared the document even as you are making them.

Now that’s a lot faster and cleaner way to to get your point accross than exchanging comments and mutliple versions of the document over mail.


Opens Inside the mail
Opens Inside the mail
Annotation window pops up inside mail so you can get started without opening a new tab. Work faster, smarter, better.

Preview Without Downloading
Preview any image (jpg, png, gif), document (doc, docx, xls, xlsx), presentation(ppt, pdf, pptx) or a video(.mp4) by clicking the ‘comment’ icon on the attachment.
Preview Without Downloading

Opens Inside the mail
Annotate Directly on the File
Using handy tools, you can start marking up the file. Draw arrows, rectangles or use the pencil to point out specific corrections needed. As simple as pen & paper.

Start a Conversation
Using the comment tool, you can start a contextual discussion on an area in the file. Others can reply to this as well. Its like you’re talking on parts of a file!
Start a Conversation

Share Annotated Documents
Share Annotated Documents
Click save and we export the annotated file and your comments as a draft attached to the same thread. Others can add their comments using a link they receive.

Security is a Priority
Everyone opening an attachment is authenticated to ensure data security.
Security is a Priority

Using ZFS with AWS for higher performance and reliability.

With the adoption of cloud going main stream, huge amounts of sensitive data is being moved from in premise infrastructures to the cloud platform, to help reduce costs of hardware, maintenance and achieve more reliability. While it is a fact that by virtue of leveraging a well designed cloud platform like AWS (Amazon is known for its reliability of its resources with almost no downtime of the data centers), your applications benefit from increased reliability and up-time, our engineers however learned that it is not enough if we want to move up that last 0.1% or 0.2% to get us closer to our goal of always on availability.

Related: For SMEs Cloud Based Services is the default way forward

Here we discuss our journey to achieve that magical 99.9% uptime figure for our Endurance-S solution, served off the AWS infrastructure.

Related: 5 unavoidable reasons to adopt collaboration services on the cloud

Amongst the many components of a collaboration infrastructure, here we discuss our attempt to move the storage infrastructure up a few notches and instead of using a disk as a disk with basic RAI.

We defined the following requirements for our new storage platform:

  • A Logical Volume Manager to help us scale the storage on demand, with no downtime
  • Data Integrity to ensure reliability for the data
  • Compression to optimize storage and also achieve higher performance.
  • Higher I/O performance to enable better response to end users.
  • Protection against data corruptions
  • Snapshots for quick online backups, which don’t load the servers
  • Quota Allocations, etc.

In our production environment for the collaboration infrastructure, we need to handle millions of small files distributed over thousands of folder (maildir). Our current infrastructure runs of an ext4 file system and we had to make a choice of whether we can get all of the above requirements met with EXT4 or would we need another file system.

With this post, we have shared our observation of performance benchmarks done between Linux+EXT4 on EBS and Linux + ZFS over EBS.

The Setup:

  • Hardware:
    • AWS EC2 Instance m3.xlarge (14 GB RAM and 4 vCPU Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2670 v2 @ 2.50GHz)
    • 3×250 GB General Purpose SSD (AWS specific) to test on.
  • Software:
    • CentOS 6.0
    • Kernel Version: 2.6.32-220.el6.x86_64
    • ZFS on Linux v0.6.3
  • Testing Tools used:
    • IOzone
    • Apache JMeter
  • ZFS has been configured as follows:
    • The zfs pool is configured in MIRROR mode of 2×250 GB Disks (Amazon-specific SSD).
    • L2ARC of 40 GB has been added to the zfs pool for improving read speed.
    • ZFS has been limited to use the system RAM maximum of 8 GB and minimum of 4 GB (in 16 GB system).
    • Checksum has been turned off as faster performance is noticed with it.
    • ZFS Compression is set to LZJB compression as it is faster than its counterparts.

Testing IMAP with JMeter

Using Apache JMeter:
We made use of a pre-configured Mithi Connect Xf collaboration server on CentOS 6.0 to stress test POP and IMAP Protocols for different users.

Apache JMeter Configuration Screenshots:
Specify the number of threads (or users) connected concurrently

Under the Mail Reader Sampler,

  • Specify the protocol to be used (IMAP/POP). We will be testing IMAP as of now.
  • Insert Required details as marked in the below screenshots.
  • Number of messages to retrieve (per thread/user) is set to 10. *For very aggressive testing, one can set it to All. However, it is not recommended for large mailboxes as the server will tend to hang up.

The above setup will perform as follows:
For each thread, 10 messages will be retrieved, simultaneously.

In the above screenshot, we can see the throughput = 279.06/minutes. This means that the server can handle ~279 requests per minute for retrieval. Average time is the time taken for 1 request to fulfill.

Output :

The output is shown in CSV format. The field of concern is elapsed and bytes. Here, elapsed time is the time in milliseconds, to fetch 101091 bytes of data from server.

To get different results, we varied the number of thread/users count in the 1st screenshot. The output is shown below in tabular form (for both ZFS file system and EXT4 file system):

Results :

P.S.: For EXT4 no changes had been done as far as optimization and tunings are concerned.

Observation:

  • EXT4 disk get strained on tests done for threads/user counts above 40.
  • ZFS can handle more than 40 threads/user counts up to 60 without significant strain on imapd and/or server.
  • Faster test results obtained when tested against small mailboxes (range: 300-700 MB)
  • Slightly slower tests results obtained when tested against gigantic mailboxes (range: 6-10 GB)
  • No 2 tests had been run for a single user.
  • Each test has been conducted for a different user (large mailbox only).

Conclusion:

  • ZFS looks promising on delivering data during peak hour usage without hampering other processes. On the other hand, tests on ext4 brought down idle time to ~50%.

Testing POP with JMeter:

Using JMeter to test POP protocol is similar to that of IMAP. In this the only change is to be done of protocol name to pop3 and port number to 110.

Same test environment were kept for pop3 testing too.

Results :

*For POP protocol testing, we tested for both Checksum kept ON and OFF.

Observation:

  • Difference of request handling by server per minute when checksum is set to OFF is greater by ~60%
  • Average time to complete 1 request is less when the checksum is set to OFF.
  • Between ZFS (Checksum OFF) and EXT4, slightly higher performance gain can be seen in ZFS. However, the average response time for 1 request is almost same in both the filesystem.

Conclusion:

  • Since both filesystems have the same average response time for 1 request, capacity to handle requests is better on ZFS, which means ZFS can handle loads better than ext4.