E-mail Wars Rage On


Next week, Open-Xchange plans to launch a feature update for Open-Xchange Server 5 with RSS feed support, better support for push technology for Outlook users, improved interface and usability for contacts and calendar features.

OpenXchange, formerly known as Netline, is based in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Scalix on Tuesday plans to launch a version of its e-mail server with better enterprise features. Scalix 10, which like its forebears runs on Linux, is rooted in the old Hewlett-Packard OpenMail franchise. Last week Zimbra announced general availability of its messaging and collaboration offering. Zimbra dubbed it Collaboration Suite 3.0, even though it is the first release.

Chief among the new Scalix features is clustering technology that automatically detects failed messages and reroutes them to achieve what the company claims is 99.999 percent uptime. VARs can now also host multiple Scalix domains on a single server, making it a better platform for hosting. The mail system supports 64-bit support for Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

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Scalix 10 also enhances the existing AJAX e-mail client, and now has calendaring that works across platforms and organizations, the company said. Scalix users can thus coordinate appointments with colleagues and partners running Microsoft Exchange Server, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise.

With much of the corporate mail market saturated by Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM's Lotus Domino, some question the viability of other players. However, industry watchers say both Domino and Exchange tend to be pricey and resource intensive, and that mail products coming out of the open source realm may be a better choice.

Gregg Rosenberg, president of RICIS, a Tinley Park, Ill., e-mail solution provider, said there is still a good market for the smaller, innovative vendors. RICIS sells and upports Scalix, Open-Xchange and Stalker's Communigate Pro.

Rosenberg lauds improvements to Scalix management capalities. "Before it was very command-line driven," he said. "Now there's a lot more central management. They have stronger features for administrators to manage domains, users and groups."

While many of the feature improvements of the mail systems are check-box items, he said Scalix's new high-availability and clustering is a competitive advantage, especially for larger companies looking for alternative mail systems.

He said many customers simply do not want to pay the freight to field Exchange Server or Domino, and thus some of these smaller challengers have a shot.

"OpenXchange is good if customers want a lot of collaboration and groupware features that come in a single bundle," he noted. "They have simple project scheduling and tasks, simple document management."

CommunigatePro "has a lot of bells and whistles," including instant messaging, SoftPBX and interactive voice response (IVR) functions, he noted.

Zimbra's strength is in its "wow factor" GUI, he added.

In other mail-related news, Gordano last week updated its offering as well with better linkages to outside network management offerings.