Blog Post: event, security, business, tech

Panel discussion on running your own email infrastructure

At the end of last year, Halon was a sponsor of the Winter 2021 Inbox Expo in Valencia, Spain. Amongst the many subjects discussed was the topic of building your own email infrastructure. 

While many organizations rely on outsourcing email sending to email service providers (ESPs), there are plenty of organizations that choose to run their own email infrastructure. During the event, representatives from Mailkit, Postmastery, and Inter7 participated in a panel discussion on the topic. During the session, they explored the landscape of email management, the resources required and some of the potential challenges faced when building your own private email infrastructure.

The panelists in Valencia included:

  • Jakub Olexa. Co-founder of Mailkit (and his new ESP service Omnivery) based in the Czech Republic.
  • Maarten Oelering. Co-founder of Postmastery, a dedicated email infrastructure consultancy established 8 years ago in the Netherlands.
  • Keith Kouzmanoff. Co-founder of Inter7 who specializes in supporting private MTA infrastructure for organizations including GoDaddy, Fastweb, and Playboy. Based in the United States.

With over 30 years of experience in MTA management and hundreds of deployments between the panelists, it was a fascinating discussion amongst a group of seasoned MTA professionals with considerable experience using a broad range of MTA solutions including Halon, PowerMTA, and Postfix.

Key takeaways and discussion learning points:

  1. How to define “on-premise” infrastructure in a cloud world. Even something as simple as “on-premise” can be contentious in today’s world of cloud-based services. Does having your own MTA instances running “in the cloud” count as on-premise or not? Not everyone is 100% aligned in respect of what constitutes ‘on-prem’ in respect of email. The purists will tell you that bare metal is the only way to go. In these discussions, Jakub and Maarten will provide Keith with some interesting insight into their opinions on infrastructure requirements and how cloud hosting has a part to play.
  2. Configuration requirements and costs. The thought of a switch from using a full-service ESP or even a SaaS-based MTA to hosting and managing their own infrastructure leaves many stakeholders feeling a considerable amount of anxiety, even dread. Of course, there are a wide number of requirements involved from software to hardware, and as Keith talks about in this discussion there are so many other moving parts in respect of the intangibles. In respect of the less tangible elements, the panel discusses the maintenance including delivery and deliverability. Be sure to listen to the full discussion to better understand the process. Watching will ensure you are far better informed about the pitfalls and dangers, doing so will ensure you are better armed to judge the benefits of hosting your own MTA. During the session, it became clear that when planned properly, rolling out your MTA infrastructure can be done in a well-structured and organized manner ensuring maximum success. The primary takeaways when approaching this question included:
    • Running your own MTA is a significant undertaking, but one that can be worth doing if the volumes are there.
    • Some senders need to host their own infrastructure in some instances, a primary example being financial institutions
    • Best practice is to learn first hand from the experience of others. Speak to professionals and have a full plan and understanding of what is involved.
  3. Maintenance requirements and costs. As with everything, preparation is key. Taking on your own MTA can be very successful if preparations are made correctly. Maarten at Postmastery highlights that done right, you can outperform a regular ESP by managing everything in-house.
  4. The benefits of running your own MTA are many, like
    • Control
    • Security
    • Privacy
    • Deliverability
    • Cost savings

Want to hear more directly from the MTA experts? Watch the full session now:

Halon’s primary focus is on making service providers (like those ESPs mentioned above) more competitive and efficient using our flexible MTA so that they can offer awesome services to other organizations. Nevertheless, Halon’s MTA can also provide great value directly to organizations that want to run their email infrastructure in-house, usually for increased privacy or control. Clearly, this was going to be a panel we would be following with much interest. 

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