With complications and question marks looming on the technology horizons for Microsoft Corp.s Exchange and IBMs Lotus Notes, low-cost e-mail server vendors are moving to capitalize on growing disenchantment with groupware giants.
New offerings from Ipswitch Inc., of Lexington, Mass.; Rockliffe Inc., of Campbell, Calif.; and Sendmail Inc. are pushing for small to midsize businesses by adding improved security and virus protection and enhanced calendaring capabilities.
"Ive been in the LAN industry for 10 years, and I used to be a huge fan of the groupware servers," said Erik Tijburg, senior engineer/systems architect at RedMoon Broadband Corp.s ISP Support Services group in Frisco, Texas. "Now I dont know why anybody would use Exchange, except for a very large enterprise.
"The administration overhead is phenomenal," Tijburg said. "Now in the next version of Exchange ... administrators will have to be SQL administrators. Its getting nuts."
Tijburg uses Version 7.1 of Ipswitchs iMail product, which the company announced last week, internally and for his companys ISP clients.
The new version, which is targeted at the small-to-midsize market as well as to service providers, features 128-bit encryption and a new rules engine that blocks spam and viruses from being received and helps administrators prevent sensitive information from going out.
In addition, iMail 7.1 supports compatibility with Microsoft Outlook clients for Web calendaring.
Tijburg said what he likes most about iMail 7.1 is its improved stability and speed.
"Its a lot faster than 7.0," he said. "Youd notice it particularly with the Web interface; the Web sessions would get served up slower when people would check their mail. But I havent had any of those issues yet with 7.1."
Ipswitchs announcement came on the heels of Rockliffes release earlier this month of MailSite SE Version 5 for Small Enterprises, which added support for virus scanning, with F-1 Secure Corp.s self-named tool built in, and personal calendaring.
Sendmail, of San Francisco, which added calendaring support last month and anti-virus technology in March through a partnership with McAfee. com Corp., announced this month a Windows NT and Windows 2000 version of its Sendmail Advanced Message Server platform.
Pricing for Ipswitch iMail 7.1 starts at $995 for a 250-user license. Rockliffe MailSite SE starts at $595 for 50 users.