RBI Set to Revamp Its Mail/ Messaging System

by Praveen Kurup    Dec 20, 2006

This would be the culmination of a one-year effort to completely restructure and re-implement its mailing systems.

The first tender in this regard was passed on March 11, 2005, inviting consultants who would study the existing system and help RBI in selecting a suitable implementation partner for the project. In these initial stages, Red Hat was appointed as the consultant. Other players who were evaluated for this role included Microsoft, TCS, Infosys, GTL, 3i Infotech, CMC, HCL, Mithi technologies and Epsilon technologies.

While RBI is tight-lipped about the matter, CXOtoday has reliably learnt that the following companies are being considered to implement the project - Wipro Infotech, CMC, TCS, Sify and Data Craft. In fact, all these companies were present in a pre-bid meeting held on September 4, 2006.

RBI is currently using a mix of Microsoft technologies, primarily Windows 2000 ADS, Exchange 2003 and Outlook mail clients, for its mail and messaging requirements. Problems with the current set-up include lack of automated address book replication across domains, problems shifting mailboxes between locations, changes in routing entries and ensuring high availability of the mail server at all locations.

In fact, one of the key requirements from the new system would be a single domain across all offices. This would also necessitate revaluation and significant changes to their existing IP addressing scheme. The new system should also result in a single unified email address irrespective of the system being used to access email, whether it be LAN, WAN or via the Internet. This means that apart from support for standard Internet protocols, the mail subsystem should also integrate well with RBI’s WAN system called INFINET, along with the PKI infrastructure provided by IDRBT.

RBI also wants the existing system to have mobile access, and it should be extendable to all existing users.

Another significant point is the requirement of a unified interface across platforms — thin /thick clients (windows or otherwise), browsers, INFINET.

The present requirement stated by RBI is for 9000 licenses, scalable upto 25000 users. However, the TCO calculations would be based on 12000 users.

Backup and storage systems will be separately provided by RBI, and is not to be provided by the implementor of the mail messaging system.

RBI’s requirement with regard to gateway appliances for the new mail system were extremely high, and since the bidders for the project were of the opinion that there is no product matching those, the specifications for the same were changed.

The revised specification requires that the appliance should be capable of handling a minimum of 10,000 concurrent sessions at the MTA level, with a minimum queue handling capacity of 50GB. In terms of processing, the appliance should be capable of handling an hourly load of over 50,000 messages with virus detection and spam control on.