Ipswitch Collaboration Suite

  • Editors' rating
    5.6 OK
  • $5,995.00

Pros

  • Integrated list and LDAP servers
  • instant messaging server
  • Outlook collaboration features

Cons

  • Separate installation and management interfaces
  • separate client utilities
  • lack of user self management

The Ipswitch Collaboration Suite is an amalgam of four existing products, starting with IMail, the company’s Windows-based SMTP email server. To this is added an antivirus mail scanner, based on Symantec technology, and WorkgroupShare, which provides collaboration features for users of Microsoft Outlook. You also get instant messaging, but the mix isn’t a happy one, with a general lack of integration and a lot of rough edges to contend with. Ipswitch Collaboration Suite costs £12.32 (ex. VAT) per seat for a 100-user installation.

Problems start with the install, which is done on a server running Windows 2000. The procedure starts well enough, but the setup program spawns separate installation routines for each of the component products, some of which began before the previous install had ended on our server. You then have to contend with different management interfaces for the mail server, WorkgroupShare and instant messaging components. Also, you need to install separate clients to use the WorkgroupShare and instant messaging services.

In its defence, the IMail server supports both POP3 and IMAP4 access and is easy enough to manage, with the option to use an external ODBC database rather than an internal user store if preferred. An LDAP server, list server and browser-based email client also come as standard. Basic Web-based administration is another option, and Web users get their own calendaring tool, although calendar sharing isn’t supported this way and the browser interface is very basic and unlikely to win many converts.

On the plus side, Microsoft’s Outlook client can be used both to send and receive mail via the IMail server and collaboration features added by installing the WorkgroupShare client. This works well enough, with background synchronisation to update the contents of shared address books, calendars, tasks and notes folders. However, each client has to be configured individually and users can’t share folders themselves without getting an administrator to configure the rights.

On the security front the antivirus scanner does a decent enough job, but the anti-spam tools don’t measure up to those of the competition. And that despite the inclusion of a Bayesian filter alongside support for real-time blackhole services.

In principle, the Ipswitch Collaboration Suite ticks the right boxes to fit it for duty as an Exchange alternative in a small business. However, in practice this first release is little more than a bundling of existing products that need to be more fully integrated if they are to challenge the competition.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Category internet & communication applications
Subcategory internet & communication - email clients & email utilities, internet & communication - fax software, internet & communication - ftp clients, internet & communication - instant messaging application, security - desktop antivirus, security - network antivirus
Distribution Media CD-ROM
Software
Subcategory internet & communication - email clients & email utilities, internet & communication - fax software, internet & communication - ftp clients, internet & communication - instant messaging application, security - desktop antivirus, security - network antivirus
Category internet & communication applications
License Type box pack
Bundled Support 1 Year Service Agreement
License Category shrinkwrap
Service & Support
Type technical support
System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Software Requirements Internet Explorer 5.0 or later
OS Family Windows
Header
Brand Ipswitch
Product Line Ipswitch Collaboration Suite
Model Service Provider & Educational Edition
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
System Requirements Details
Processor Type Pentium III
Processor Speed 500 Hz
Min RAM Size 256 MB
Service & Support Details
Service Type new releases update
Full Contract Period 1 year

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