Is Scalix a contender or pretender for Microsoft Exchange?

Summary:David Berlind posted this interesting blog on an Exchange server and Outlook client alternative from the company Scalix. Since Microsoft avoided going to aSQLdatabase backend with their soon to be released Exchange 2005, this leaves the door open for a more scalable challenger.

David Berlind posted this interesting blog on an Exchange server and Outlook client alternative from the company Scalix. Since Microsoft avoided going to aSQLdatabase backend with their soon to be released Exchange 2005, this leaves the door open for a more scalable challenger. I have yet to see one yet, butyou can't rule anything out.Will Scalix be the one to replace Microsoft Exchange 5.5, 2000, or even 2003?

I would need to have some of these fundamental questions answered before I can judge.

  • Can it natively integrate in to an Active Directory or just a Windows NT domain? LDAP would be second preference but it wouldn't be as smooth when it comes to seamless integration and administration.
  • Can it support RPC tunneling over SSL for Outlook 2003 clients? This allows an Outlook 2003 client to connect to an Exchange server securely without a VPN client or where VPN is blocked and only Web access allowed.
  • Does the Scalix web based client meet or exceed the functionality and richness of the ActiveX based Exchange 2003 Web Client? From the looks of some of the screen shots, it comes close but not quite as good as OWA 2003.Is theScalix web client as lean and fast asthe OWA 2003 client?I would have to see the real thing to judge. Too bad Scalix doesn't provide a real live demo of the Web based interface.
  • Canthe Scalixservermove beyond the current MS Access style jet database technologyused inExchange 5.5, 2000, 2003, 2005? CanScalixuse an ODBC backend instead like Microsoft SQL server, Oracle, IBM DB2, or even a MySQL backend? This is one of the few weak spots of Microsoft Exchange and I really wish they had not canceled their plan to have Exchange 2005 use Microsoft SQL Server 2005 for a backend.It may havemeantthatthe next Exchange server wouldneed towaituntil 2006, but it's well worth it.
  • Isthe Scalix solutiona stable and manageable platform?This isn'ttrivial, andI'd have to see the execution first hand to judge.
  • SinceScalix wants to move in on Exchange server,is theirsolution easyto implement for a Windows and Exchange administrator?
  • I'm a little nervous when someone tells me that they have a lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) since TCO ishard to define. I would need to see some actual numbers on licensing and supportcost. Scalix would need to compare itself to both Microsoft Small Business edition server and the regular corporate pricing of Windows 2003andExchange 2003.

After I get these questions answered and verified, I'll do a follow up.

Topics: Microsoft

About

George Ou, a former ZDNet blogger, is an IT consultant specializing in Servers, Microsoft, Cisco, Switches, Routers, Firewalls, IDS, VPN, Wireless LAN, Security, and IT infrastructure and architecture.

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