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At Cleartext we've been using the @Mail platform from Calacode, chosen because they are an Australian company (so there's local support.. cough) and because their platform is in use by lot's of ISP types, like iiNet. @Mail has been very reliable, is easy to use and looks good. However we need to move on, with additional services, and Calacode aren't moving on as quickly as we'd hoped so I've been looking around for new platforms. The obvious choice is Hosted Exchange, but then we'd have Microsoft branding plastered over everything and I'd be nervous about standards compliance and interoperability, so that's not on the list. What is on the list the excellent Axigen server, CommunigatePro and recently Isodes 'M' suite of servers. Our general thought process for the migration is that if we're going to do it then the new platform should bring new value via additional (chargeable) features or services. Axigen I love this solution even though it's a newer player in the market, it's easy to install, easy to run, very secure (the spam filtering is very good) and looks great, web based platforms have to look great don't they? It's being updated at a rapid rate and feature requests we've asked for, as a reseller, find their way in quickly. But whilst it has all that we need including Outlook groupware integration, it doesn't really give us 'more'. CommunigatePro This was an interesting experience, it was recommended by our systems admin and was worth a look because it gave us XMPP and VoIP. However, it was not easy to get to grips with, admin was not intuitive and it was very 'web 1.0', not a good user experience. It does have a very cool Flash interface, but I'm not sure an all Flash interface is the way to go. So whilst CommunigatePro gave us more, it would have caused a number of clients to wonder why we were rolling at a new platform that looked terrible. I can see that if you have a spare development time and some good graphics people then these issues could be fixed up, but that's an extra spend. I'd say this is a good platform for larger providers. Isode So that brings us to M-Switch, M-Box and M-Link, Isodes email and XMPP offering. We looked at this briefly a few months back but discarded it due to the lack of a good web mail offering, SquirellMail wa suggested, juk! Luckliy the guys at Calcode have just open sourced their AJAX enabled web mail platform, and this works with Isodes server, and would mean a familiar interface for our clients. The interesting thing about Isode is that their messaging platforms hinge around a standards based directory, this makes it easy to provision end users accounts for email and XMPP. They also include some good management tools and are hard at work building out the funcitonality of the XMPP component. This is just what we've been looking for, an extra service we can charge for and build out new services on top of based on XMPP. There's no 'commercial' spam or virus filtering but we have that covered with ClearEmail MX anyway. There is one snag, there's no Outlook groupware compatible in the platform, but after a quick survey of our hosted email clients it looks like hardly anyone is using this anyway. So we're going to run an evaluaiton over the next few weeks, having already negotiated a good price and importantly working relationship. I'll post more when we have spent some time with Isodes platforms.

Published: October 14th 2008 at 11:36am

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