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I am a self employed technical consultant. I provide basic networks and basic security for small business. I try to stay away from cheap equipment and lousy software. I now use linux/BSD for routers and firewalls almost exclusively and I want to start offering SAMBA for domain controllers.
I have used samba in the past and found that it is very reliable and efficient, with uptime measured in months at the least. I want to get off of windows on the server, not because of cost, but because of security issues and general reliablity. The only remaining issue is groupware.
I have been considering Suse OpenExchange, it's open source cousin, Open-Xchange, OpenGroupware.org, Kerio Mail Server, and Exchange4Linux.
I have clients that will never get rid of outlook, so outlook compatibilty is essential. Right now I'm leaning towards Kerio Mail Server because Kerio products have been good in the past for me and it's cheap, it's around $500 for 20 users. Now some may say that opengroupware.org and exchange4linux are free, but they are not because the outlook connectors on them cost money, too. Suse exchange is prohibitively expensive.
I need opinions on this. It has to be groupware. If you have never used exchange, you may never understand: it gives a boss incredible control over thier company, to send appointments, to assign tasks, to view calendars, etc. You're not going to take this away from a boss without offering him something very, very similar. I didn't understand exchange for a long time because I never looked at it as an end user, only as a technician/administrator. I would like a groupware server that has a web interface, outlook, and some other windows clients so i can offer an open source alternative to outlook, the same way I offer openoffice.org as an alternative to MS office.
Also I need help picking out a distribution to run it on. I want a modern version of linux that will run the lastest stable build of SAMBA, but that's all I want. I like many of the linux router platforms because some of them will even fit of a floppy. Every service you add to a server takes up ram and adds potential vulnerabilites. FTP, apache, etc will not be needed, this server is to run SAMBA, groupware, webmin, and backup software. If the clients need a web server, I will build a seperate apache box.
Originally posted by stolenpants Forgot to mention the cost: Microsoft Small Business server has Server 2003 and exchange 2003 and it costs around $430. That's the price point I need to be competive against.
Do not underestimate the price of the CALS though. CALS are dramatically more expensive for SBS than they are for Standard, and you have to buy SBS cals (because of the fact that you need the CAL for SQL, and Exchange, and Windows, etc). I want to say that the CAL for SBS is approximately 3 times the cost for the Standard CAL.
As far as groupware, I would recommend checking out Stalker's CommuniGate Pro. I can give you information on it if you want.
IMHO this is one of the areas where Linux has trouble competing with Windoze.
I presume you just want shared calendars and an email front end in this respect. Frankly, I'm looking for Mozilla to beef up (and integrate?) Thunderbird and Sunbird
The Outlook/Exchange bond is pretty strong. That said, at work we have a generic IMAP/POP server including webmail, and are using Oracle corporatetime for calendaring - I don't know what other calendar server are compatible with Outlook.
Do a Google search for
outlook linux calendar server
and it comes up with some nice hitz
Thanks for you advice, I checked it out and I may do some more investiating after I try out Kerio Mail server for a while. It's a bit cheaper and I'm comfortable working with it as I've run it on windows systems before. I'm currently hunting down a linux distro to run it on.
Originally posted by stolenpants Thanks for you advice, I checked it out and I may do some more investiating after I try out Kerio Mail server for a while. It's a bit cheaper and I'm comfortable working with it as I've run it on windows systems before. I'm currently hunting down a linux distro to run it on.
Ok. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. I'll help you out with a little presales support, if you'd like.
I think that I'm going to become a Stalker reseller, so, if you're interested, let me know.
Also...Check this out. It far outperforms many of the other platforms tested, some of whom were major.