Linux alternatives to Windows SBS part two
Back to the funny names, Zarafa has long been competing with Microsoft Exchange in the Linux world but is a newcomer to the world of open source. On September 18 Zarafa announced the core of its server product would be licensed under a GNU public license.
Zarafa, like Zimbra, aims squarely at providing a rich groupware environment without the expense of Exchange and with the stability of Linux. The expected mailboxes, webmail, calendar, contacts, tasks, global address book, public folders and more are all to be found.
Outlook is supported, and the webmail site also closely resembles Outlook to ensure users have no barriers to working with it swiftly. Your users will only be able to tell the difference between Zarafa and Exchange because Zarafa gives a more featured environment.
Zarafa integrates with Active Directory and LDAP-based environments. It offers brick level backup which makes it possible to restore a single mail message or folder or complete mailbox.
ActiveSync support is included meaning Windows Mobile devices and the Apple iPhone can be connected and synchronised over-the-air. BlackBerry support is expected within the coming months.
Zarafa is available in four editions. The first, the Community Edition, lacks tools for bricklevel backups, auto deployment and high availability tools but does provide the terrific collaboration and mail environment. Outlook support is limited to three users. Moving up, the Standard Edition adds bricklevel backups, and then the Professional and Enterprise editions give the lot. The difference between these two upper-level releases is that the Enterprise Edition offers support for multiple server environments.
The Community Edition is available for free, which is especially impressive when you consider that it offers Outlook connectivity, even if just for three users. The Standard Edition has a base price of 150 Euros and then a fee of 30 Euros per user. The Professional and Enterprise editions skip the base price and are charged at 28 Euros and 45 Euros per user respectively. Volume discounts are available.
Check out the online demo and be impressed by this genuine Exchange killer.
Page one – introduction
Page two – Zimbra
Page three – Open-Xchange
Page four – Zarafa
Page five – Kerio and reader feedback
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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.