CommuniGate Systems CommuniGate Pro Real-Time Collaboration 4.3 is the most well-balanced messaging solution eWEEK Labs tested. It has broad hardware and operating system support; good management tools; support for third-party anti-spam and anti-virus applications; and, last but not least, good groupware tools.Pricing for CommuniGate Pro starts at $22 per user for the base version of the software. Adding clustering capabilities significantly jacks up the priceto $28 per user for 2,500 usersbut none of the other products we tested offers this capability.During tests, we found that CommuniGate Pro provided an Outlook experience similar to what we would find with Exchange. We could easily manage group calendar and scheduling functions, as well as create and manage groups, discussions and shared folders. Read more here about flexible messaging and collaboration options. Because CommuniGate Pro stores message, calendar, task and contact information separately, it supports a wider range of clients, including Apple Computer Inc.s iCal. This gives administrators a little more flexibility when it comes to backing up and restoring data than they would have with groupware servers that consolidate this data in a single database. For example, administrators will be able to restore a corrupted calendar file without overwriting a users mail file. CommuniGate Pro has good systems management and security features. We liked that the connector can be installed remotely from the server and is self-updating. The connector also supports SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)/TLS (Transport Layer Security) as well as secure authentication, so companies could give users remote access without having to run a VPN. Threat prevention includes support for plug-ins from anti-virus vendors Kaspersky Labs, Sophos plc. and McAfee Inc. On the anti-spam side, CommuniGate Pro supports Mailshell Inc.s SpamCatcher Engine. CommuniGate Pro is extensible through an open API. In addition to several vendors of threat prevention plug-ins, VOIP (voice over IP) vendors such as Grand Central Networks Inc. have used this API to integrate voice solutions. CommuniGate Pro supports a broad range of server hardware, including x86-based systems, Apples PowerPC-based servers, IBMs S/390 and AS/400, and Sun Microsystems Inc.s SPARC-based systems. Server operating system support is also broad, including FreeBSD, HP/UX, IBM OS/400, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris. CommuniGate Pro can also be extended to function as a broad real-time communications platform. The server includes a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based presence engine and an instant messaging server that can be integrated with VOIP phones so that users can use presence data to choose among e-mail, phone and IM-based communications. The IM server supports Microsofts Windows Messenger client. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.