Kopano ONE – first steps of a digital-sovereign vision

March 17, 2021

Kopano ONE

It must be the comfort. Or the unawareness. Or maybe both. Just now I read a tweet from a former colleague who offers online workshops due to corona: “I always have connection problems with MS Teams, I’d rather stay with Zoom.” I wonder what’s going wrong there. Especially in the working field of freelancers and SMEs, I often notice that proprietary solutions from the big providers are used unquestioningly on a daily basis, while at the same time people get upset about every report of data misuse. I am surprised that the whining about dependencies is not followed up with consequences.

Small businesses are usually much more flexible than larger medium-sized businesses or corporations. They are able to make their digital infrastructure more independent much more quickly, but they still use this advantage far too little. If Windows is (pre-)installed as the operating system on their own devices, they also use Microsoft products as a matter of course – and are dissatisfied. An e-mail programme other than Outlook? Often not – it was always that way.

Exit and shift out of dependencies

An alternative is offered by software manufacturers who promote enterprise-level solutions responsibly. For daily communication via e-mail and calendar, Kopano Groupware has offered a solution for all company sizes for many years.

In larger companies, the IT department or a network administrator usually takes care that the communication of the employees works smoothly. But what about small and medium-sized companies? Not everyone wants to or can afford the capacity to set up and operate their own sovereign e-mail server.

Solutions for small and medium-sized companies

Kopano took on this problem some time ago. The Kopano ONE project pursues the goal of offering everyone – regardless of their level of technical knowledge – their own e-mail and calendar server. This is enormously important because e-mails and calendars are still the cornerstones of the digital communication and organisation infrastructure – and will certainly remain so for a long time. The information from all apps and services converges in the email inboxes. Just think of the links to reset passwords! You’d rather have such data under your own control.

Kopano ONE is not only intended to simplify the way to one’s own email and calendar server, but also to make its operation manageable with all the antiSPAM, anti-virus or blacklist avoidance challenges. This is done in various stages:

  1. Create a defined environment
    Kopano ONE can be understood as an easier-to-operate version of the core product – Kopano Groupware. Kopano Groupware is characterised by maximum flexibility, i.e. from user and access management to the actual mail server, one can select almost any component as desired. However, this high degree of flexibility goes hand in hand with considerable demands on the expertise of those who have to ideally connect and maintain these components. Kopano ONE, on the other hand, is a pre-configured environment with components (mail server, directory service, web server and database) that are precisely matched to each other.
  2. Kopano ONE will be easily available
    Kopano products are always compared to cloud solutions. There you enter a few data and within a very short time the service is available. However, it will never be quite that simple if you want to manage your own system. Nevertheless, that is the yardstick Kopano uses as a benchmark. Kopano ONE will be available as an easy-to-set-up package for multiple appliances, such as the Synology NAS and platforms, such as the Univention Corporate Server, as well as for private cloud environments. The latter in particular will hardly rival the simplicity of a cloud service, with the difference that an organisation can easily move its system to another cloud provider or to a local system.
  3. Outsourcing complexity to experts
    A lot can go wrong when operating a mail server. That’s why a Kopano ONE operator doesn’t necessarily have to take care of the smooth sending and receiving of emails themselves. If desired, this can be taken care of by a scalable, federated cloud service operated by an independent, diverse network of email logistics experts. In this way, Kopano ONE separates data transport (under the control of experts) from data storage (under your own control).
  4. Making data usable
    The fourth point relates to Kopano ONE and Kopano Groupware: having data under one’s own control should not be synonymous with locking the data away in an isolated solution, because many third-party applications increase productivity by using calendar data in a different form, for example. Kopano Kraph enables a wide variety of applications to access the data of Kopano users – as long as they release their data for this purpose. The highlight: Kopano Kraph is highly compatible with Microsoft Graph, so that applications that can communicate with MS365 products can also interact with Kopano ONE with minimal effort.

With this vision in mind, Kopano is working to offer an out-of-the-box, self-hosted email & calendar server. It is being developed to run on the full scale from fast and easy availability to maximum digital sovereignty.

Lightweights for SMEs – Container Solutions

Kopano ONE will still be available for small and medium-sized enterprises in 2021 – in one of the first steps, containers will be available that can be installed on one’s own NAS server, for example.

Containers can be understood like apps on a mobile phone – but related to the server. A container contains both the application and all the required resources, libraries, utilities and static data and combines them in an image file. The technique for this is called containerisation and differs from virtualisation. Containers usually contain an operating system reduced to the minimum and are therefore comparable to a lightweight virtualisation. Containers originate from the Linux environment, but can now also be used under Mac OS and Windows.

Sounds interesting? Then please contact us for a personal exchange and further information.