Email Servers

Webmail/email/groupware servers

Since our server migration, which took place in early September and after much research, Zimbra has been the groupware solution of choice. Other groupware solutions such Kerio, Microsoft Exchange, Winmail, Scalix, eGroupware and PHPGroupware were all given a fair testing but failed on points such as ease of setup, reliability, features, costs and compatibility. These are my personal opinion, which I may not have expressed in the most politically correct way or in as much detail as you may like. So if i break mid sentance at points please either ask me or be patient whilst i construct as best a blog as possible please. Thank and hope this helps.

Zimbra

It offers a superb webmail interface in addition to mail filters, calendars, IMAP(s), POP(s), Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, . For most small – medium sized businesses with between 5 and 50 users Zimbra is an excellent solution. It has the added benefit of being shipped with ClamAV anti-virus and SpamAssassin anti-spam. The Open Source edition does not have an online backup solution, but this is just a simple case of copying the whole ‘zimbra’ folder to a backup folder. Zimbra presents webinars and has a good forum which is active and provides an excellent wiki. Updates are regular and the developers have a feature requests feature which I haven’t used yet — but its only early. I have seventeen users as well as a demo account which is available at http://webmail.lcrm.co.uk. Login using “demo@test.net” password “demo”.

Scalix

Scalix, the alternative to Zimbra (comparing licence costs) is rather more complicated to setup as it requires thrid party integration. Provides a faster interface at face value, does not have the same feel as Zimbra. Administration was found to be complicated and rather limited. Support was good with regular ‘Live Tuesday’ webinars and a forum for the Open Source community. Requires a lot of time and attention with no sign of backups from my experience.
Kerio

We used this for a long time, which was very costly. However, if you have the money and run a Windows, Mac or Linux platform – I would highly recommend this choice. Backup and security is paramount with a commonly featured webmail interface. I thought POP and IMAP access performance was slowed due to the dual anti-virus – but who knows! Installing is very easy and backups are a since with excellent full and incremental options. Anti-spam is provided along with mail filters. Last I experienced, Kerio were integrating ClamAV

Summary

In comparison to the licence costs and ease of setup and administration Zimbra wins hands down. Using a Linux platform Scalix may seem faster for the end-user when intereacting with the webmail interface. Using the Windows platform Kerio id the easiest and most reliable choice, in addition it allows for two anti-virus applications to scan mail — however, it costs!

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