FTGate4

  • Editors' rating
    6.8 Good

Pros

  • Very complete solution for the price
  • no extra charge for collaboration features and client software

Cons

  • No Outlook integration beyond basic messaging and IMAP folders

Very much a small business product, the latest FTGate4 email server from UK developer Floosietek provides support for IMAP4 folder sharing, instant messaging and a number of other useful collaboration options. Security is also enhanced in the new version, with optional SSL encryption and the previously separate UbeBlock anti-spam tool now incorporated into the main product. FTGate costs £5.15 (ex. VAT) per seat for a 100-user installation.

Installation is quick and very easy. The main server component is first downloaded from the Floosietek Web site, and then installed on a Windows host. This can be any version from Windows 2000 onwards, including XP, although a server implementation is recommended. A wizard then takes you through the setup process including creation of the main email domain and its users, after which all further management is via a browser.

The browser approach makes remote management simple: the interface is pretty easy to follow, with plenty of context-sensitive help available. Existing Windows Active Directory users can be imported rather than having to create mailboxes from scratch; you also get an array of logging and monitoring tools, although navigating through the various management options can be a bit daunting -- at least to start with.

Security is significantly enhanced in FTGate4, with SSL encryption as an option on most of the services and comprehensive security policies that can be applied across services, domains and users. Viruses can be blocked or quarantined using third-party antivirus tools (Sophos Anti-Virus is configured automatically if already deployed), and there are several anti-spam options, including the use of public real-time black hole lists and Floosietek’s own UbeBlock self-learning spam filter.

On the collaboration front, FTGate4 includes an instant messaging server and support for shared IMAP folders, plus both global and individually shared address books, calendars and task lists. These can all be accessed together with the basic messaging facilities using the browser-based WebMail interface, or separately using Windows client software called SolSight. This must be downloaded and installed independently, but there’s no extra cost involved.

Unfortunately what you don’t get with FTGate4 is access to most of the collaboration features available in Microsoft Outlook. Email messages and shared IMAP folders can be accessed using this and other industry-standard clients, but the shared address books, calendars and so on can’t. Moreover, although the WebMail and SolSight clients can access shared data interchangeably, the interfaces lack customisation facilities and won’t be to everyone’s taste. Finally, the lack of an Outlook connector is a major weakness compared to most of the competition.

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