- Easy-to-use monitoring and management tools
- Robust and functional Outlook connector
- Blackberry push email
- Windows only
- Antivirus is an optional extra
- No support for Exchange ActiveSync
Now in its eleventh incarnation, MDaemon Pro is a tried-and-trusted solution that goes a long way towards emulating Microsoft's Exchange. It's also a very affordable alternative and much simpler to manage, making it popular in small to medium-sized organisations.
Like Exchange, MDaemon is only available for Windows, but you don’t necessarily need a server or Windows server OS to run it. Any version of Windows from XP onwards can be used — although, as a mission-critical application, a reasonably well-specified server is recommended, especially if you intend to take advantage of the various collaboration options.
Installation is pretty straightforward, with most of the functionality delivered in the core package including a rock-solid SMTP mail server capable of supporting both POP3 and IMAP clients. A domain-sharing facility allows a single email domain to be hosted on multiple servers (in distributed branch offices, for example) with LDAP and Active Directory integration as standard. You also get built-in archiving tools, basic anti-spam plus a range of sender authentication and content-screening tools.
An optional module called SecurityPlus (from £83 ex. VAT for 6 users) offers integrated antivirus protection — based on Commtouch and Kaspersky technologies — along with more advanced anti-spam and anti-phishing tools.
Web-based management is available, but most customers will opt for the custom Windows console that includes comprehensive monitoring as well administration tools. This we found relatively easy to navigate, despite the assumption of a high degree of technical knowledge as well as familiarity with how the MDaemon software works. That said, it's a lot simpler than managing an equivalent Exchange setup, thanks to an optional 'easy' interface that banishes unnecessary on-screen clutter.
End users get the usual browser-based client (WorldClient), while support for Outlook and other POP3/IMAP clients is available via an optional Outlook Connector (from £80 ex. VAT for 6 users). This has been available for several years, and earlier incarnations were far from perfect. However, Outlook users now get a seamless Exchange-like experience, including calendar and contacts sharing plus meeting scheduling complete with free/busy information support.
The collaboration features are also available from the multi-lingual WorldClient, which can be made to look like Outlook and customised with an wide range of themes and colours. An optional summary or dashboard page is another new feature in the latest v11 implementation, together with follow-up flags and enhanced search facilities.
Also new in v11 is enhanced support for push email to Blackberry mobiles. Unfortunately, there's no support for Exchange ActiveSync yet, although a variety of wireless mobiles can be supported — including Apple’s iPhone, Google Android and Nokia smartphones — using a combination of built-in mail clients, SyncML and add-on tools. Migration tools are available for companies looking to move to MDaemon, with archiving another standard feature of this venerable and well-supported Exchange alternative.