Email Services

Email is one of the most heavily used information technology services on the Rensselaer campus. All members of the Rensselaer community have an email address of the form <rcsid> 

DotCIO, the Division of the CIO, runs not one but many e-mail servers and services:

  1. SMTP cluster (
    SMTP is the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol used to send email messages from clients to central mail servers such as, as well as from e-mail server to e-mail server.'s SMTP service is implemented as a Linux cluster in addition to delivering mail virus scans incoming and outgoing messages.
  2. Exchange - For Employees
    DotCIO's Exchange service is a cluster of 6 Windows 2008R2 servers running Microsoft Exchange 2010 SP1. This service provides email and collaborative calendaring for all RPI Employees.
  3. Outlook Web Access - OWA (
    Rensselaer's Web-based mail service for Exchange users. This is a cluster of Windows servers configured to allow user's to access their Exchange mailbox, using any modern web browser, from anywhere in the world.
  4. Cyrus-IMAP - For Students
    DotCIO's Cyrus IMAP service provides email for all RPI Students.
  5. WebMail (
    Rensselaer's Webmail service is a single UNIX server running a highly customized version of EmuMail. Webmail is an IMAP client.
  6. IMAP
    IMAP is a protocol used for e-mail retrieval from a mail storage system which can be accessed by any IMAP client. Users can create and share folders, and access email from anywhere. Multiple clients can be configured to access IMAP. All clients will see the same email. RPI provides access to a user's mailbox using IMAP on both the Cyrus-IMAP mail system ( and Exchange mail service (
  7. E-mail Lists
    DotCIO provides mailing lists for clubs, classes and other organizations having some interest to the Rensselaer Community. All RPI mailing lists will have in the "from" address.

  8. RESPITE (
    RESPITE is the Rensselaer Enterprise SPam Interdiction TEchnology server. It is a server-based spam-trap, based on Roaring Penguin's CanIT Trap Pro software, which uses heuristics to identify messages that might be Unsolicited Commercial Email (spam). All RCS users (email accounts) are automatically enrolled in RESPITE.  Users have configuration options.

    Log into RESPITE .

On a typical day, over 1,000,000 emails are sent to the main RPI mail servers at The overwhelming majority of these are spam messages which are rejected or trapped by Respite. There are over 600,000 attempts to read email via the POP3 or IMAP protocols. The Exchange server handles at least another 100,000 internal email messages.

If you are running programs which send email, it is your duty to ensure the program and resulting email do not interfere with the operation of the mail services of Rensselaer or any other email service provider.

The published policies and procedures apply under normal operating conditions. When necessary for the continued operation of email services, these policies may be suspended or changed without notice. Except where noted, users are responsible for checking their email, keeping copies of their email, and providing for backup of their email.

Rensselaer maintains backup copies of the e-mail spool(s) for disaster recovery purposes only. These backups are done nightly, not continuously. Users should not assume they can recover inadvertently deleted or misplaced messages from these disaster recovery copies.

A special note to graduating students

Planning to graduate soon?  The Help Desk staff has assembled some important information explaining what happens to students' accounts, e-mail, personal webpages and locker space upon graduation.