Novell Inc.s new GroupWise comes with an integrated e-mail and instant messaging interface, enhanced Outlook XP and 2003 support, improved calendar support and a bundled copy of SLES 9 (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server) to run it on.
New GroupWise buyers wont need to buy a server operating system to run the server, and while it comes with SLES, you dont need SLES to run it. GroupWise 7 also runs on other versions of Linux, NetWare and Windows 2003.
On the client side, Novell supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS with new clients. In addition, the updated GroupWise supports a Web interface and mobile devices. GroupWise 7 also supports PocketPC and Palm OS-based PDA synchronization.
The groupware server already has third-party support for other e-mail devices. Research In Motion Ltd., for example, supports GroupWise for use with Blackberries with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Novell GroupWise.
"The new features in GroupWise 7 combined with the migration tools and incentives we are offering make it the ideal collaboration platform," said David Patrick, vice president and general manager of Linux, open source platforms and services for Novell.
Early adopters are happy with the new GroupWise. "Novell has provided us with a clear path to the future with GroupWise 7," said Roger Fenner, infrastructure services manager for Comair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.
"It maintains the reliability and security weve come to expect and rely upon from Novell and GroupWise, while adding features that allow us to offer greater flexibility and capability to our user community."
Fred Candelaria, supervisor of WAN Engineering for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said, "GroupWise has been a key component of our enterprise for some time, providing a high level of corporate security that has protected us against vulnerabilities and attacks."
"Now GroupWise 7 security enhancements give us more options for configuring how we protect our collaboration system. GroupWise 7 will enable us to keep our users connected regardless of location, device or platform, while maintaining a very low total cost of ownership," said Candelaria.
It is Novells hope that the new GroupWise will attract new users to the system from Microsoft Exchange—especially the soon-to-be-obsolete Exchange 5.5—and IBM Lotus Notes.
"Customers are often afraid to disrupt their day-to-day business to make a change, but GroupWise 7 makes migration from Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes extremely easy, technically and financially," said Patrick.
While its true that GroupWise "customers are generally a happy and loyal bunch," said Richi Jennings, lead analyst for e-mail research house Ferris Research, GroupWise "mailboxes make up about 10- to 20 percent of the corporate e-mail market, trailing Exchange and Notes/Domino."
Jennings doesnt see challenging these e-mail systems as Novells top priority. Instead, "Novells job number 1 is to migrate their customers from NetWare to Linux. Only once thats seen to be successful should prospects consider moving to GroupWise from Exchange."
Thats not to say that Exchange users should dismiss a Linux-based solution. "For Exchange users looking for a Linux alternative, there are more appealing alternatives, such as Scalix, which won Best Of Show: Messaging for the second time at LinuxWorld, or even Notes itself." (Notes Domino server runs natively on Linux, and Notes client support is coming.)