- ✓Very scalable SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 mail server
- ✓Outlook collaboration via GroupWare plug-in (enhanced Outlook Connector due soon)
- ✓good set of anti-spam tools
- ✕Antivirus is an optional extra, adding to the price
Popular with small to medium-sized businesses and beyond, MDaemon Pro is a fully featured SMTP mail server that can be further extended with a range of optional add-ons. Among these are an antivirus scanner and LDAP directory server plus MDaemon GroupWare, which adds Exchange-like collaboration features accessible both from the built-in Web client and via Outlook. MDaemon Pro costs £8.89 (ex. VAT) per seat for an installation of 100 users.
Although it can be run on a Windows 95/98-based PC, MDaemon Pro is best deployed on a server where it runs as a background service. Installation takes just a few minutes with a setup wizard that simply asks for the name of the primary domain and details of the administrator. A custom Windows management console is then used for both local and remote administration with an optional Web management interface also available.
Anti-relay controls are turned on by default, and you also get a number of anti-spam tools as standard -- including Spam Blocker -- to filter messages using real-time blackhole services, plus a rules-based content filtering engine. Some setup is required to get these working, but it’s not that difficult as a self-learning Bayesian filter is also included.
Virus checking, however, doesn’t come as standard. This facility is added by buying the optional AntiVirus plug-in, which is based on a Kaspersky scanner. This costs £1.95 (ex. VAT) per seat for 100 users for one year.
The GroupWare plug-in is also currently an optional extra (£4.89 ex. VAT per seat for 100 users), adding support for shared address books, calendars, notes and journals. These can be accessed from Outlook using a client plug-in to synchronise locally held copies with shared IMAP4 folders on the server. Users of the WorldClient browser-based email client can also access the shared folders, and the software works reasonably well for small numbers of users. Unfortunately it doesn’t scale very well, so as part of the forthcoming MDaemon Pro 8 release (due in March 2005) the GroupWare functionality will be included in the base product, with an all-new Outlook Connector available to access it.
The new connector will interact directly with the mail server, with no need for local PST files or synchronised IMAP folders. Instead, the connector will use MAPI to access the information store, just as when using Outlook with Exchange. WorldClient users will also get access to the same unified collaboration store with an enhanced Outlook-like interface, if required.
We tried the beta version and were very impressed with the new implementation, which is a major improvement both in terms of performance and usability. The new Outlook Connector will also be cheaper than the current GroupWare plug-in (just £400 ex. VAT for 100 users), with free upgrades for customers with upgrade protection when the new software is released.