Thursday, May 29, 2008

Exchange finally has decent competition?

PostPath seems to have released a Linux based messaging and collaboration server that is open and compatible with Exchange Server. Right now, I'm assuming it is compatible with Exchange Server 2003, maybe not 2007, but I'll have to investigate this a little further if I can find the time.

Have a look at this video for an intro to PostPath by their CEO and here for some information on one hospital who have upgraded from Exchange Server 5.5 to PostPath and saved about 50% in Licensing costs. I do have to ask, though, why it took the hospital this long to upgrade from Exchange 5.5 that hasn't been supported for quite some time now.

What looks *really* impressive here is that PostPath is a drop-in replacement for Exchange. This is a hill that Zimbra, another Exchange competitor, cannot claim to have conquered.

Here's another take on PostPath.

Does Microsoft have something to worry about now? I'd think they might - Zimbra isn't going to make massive inroads to Exchange's client base, however PostPath looks like it has the ability to do what no other messaging and collaboration server has been able to do in years - go toe to toe with Exchange Server and not come out looking like "ehlo world" in comparison. :)

On the PostPath website there's a free 12 user evaluation download available as well as a VMWare edition with PostPath preinstalled into a Linux VMWare guest environment. They even have an Archive Edition which - if it works with Exchange Server as well as with their own PostPath Server, then they could have a real winner here, even if only for allowing easy archiving of email in an otherwise Exchange-based environment.

Combine this with the Evolution client running on a Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition (Hardy Heron) computer and you may start to have a good non-Apple replacement for XP Pro, since Microsoft has not yet released one.


The Outspoken Wookie


Anonymous said...

Apparenlty it's cheaper than exchange, assuming you buy 4 exchange CALs per user, and buy Windows CALs for Exchange users, but wouldn't buy Windows CALs in a scenario where you deploy a "Drop in replacement" for exchange - also since your users don't have an OS, they don't need the free MS Outlook license that comes with an exchange 2003 CAL. Did they mention it's Exchange 5.5 compatible, not 2003?

Morgan said...

I think it is good to see some competition finally. I though Zimbra or openXchange would come out with native exchange first, but a new comer, comes to the fray. Now if they open source it then I'll really be impressed. As it stands, it is just another proprietry product that won't sell as well as it needs to, to justify its existence and it will probably die.

Anonymous said...

>> I do have to ask, though, why it took the hospital this long to upgrade from Exchange 5.5 that hasn't been supported for quite some time now.

Good god mate, you do realise there is still a MASSIVE base of Exchange 5.5 customers out there. You can't simply "upgrade" to Exchange 2000+ and you can't install it on the same server, so you're talking a massive overhaul of hardware/software/setup to make the move. In the real world this meant everyone simply ignored it for a long time, then constantly put it off for a long time, and then either made the move or made the migration slowly (current company I work for I'm in the middle of the slow migration approach to shifting every site across the country over to it).

For a large organisation it is simply not feasable to rollout a totally and utterly revamped version of a product like this... I couldn't even begin to count the number of people I know who are still pure 5.5

Scary, but a fact of life.

And the fact that it's been unsupported for many, many, many years... exactly what do customers that have had it running for this long suddenly need support for exactly?

When Microsoft have rung me at various organisations doing their usual sales/assistance speil, I've always mentioned I still have a few 5.5s at whatever company I'm at... and to this day they still acknowledge that a high percentage of customers still use it and they're happy to do whatever they can to help the migration... so if that's not support I don't know what is.

Not that it's too hard once you've done it countless times and have developed robust and streamlined procedures for the transition.