Extending the IM Experience
Companies looking for more effective real-time collaboration through instant messaging will find that products based on the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, or XMPP, provide a good set of options and integration with other platforms.
eWEEK Labs recently evaluated three products based on XMPP: Antepos OPN System Rivoli, Jabbers Jabber XCP (Extensible Communications Platform) 5.1 and Jive Softwares Wildfire Enterprise 3.1. We found that all of the products do a good job of extending instant messaging to a wide set of applications, but they have significant differences in terms of how they foster broad collaboration and ease administration.
Antepos OPN System Rivoli is priced at $18 per user; Jabber XCP is priced starting at $35 per user; and Wildfire Enterprise is priced at $495 plus $12 per user. Antepo offers a free, limited version of its application, and Jive Software provides a limited version of Wildfire through an open-source license.
In volume licensing, the products will likely have similar per-user prices. Administration costs will be variable among the three products because they have significant differences in administration capabilities and database support.
Because all of the products are based on the XMPP standard, they provide the same core IM capabilitiesone-on-one communications and group chat. Each product has its own XMPP-based client, and each can work with other XMPP-based clients.
Our tests show that all of the products have good interoperability and federation capabilities, allowing companies that deploy them to connect with AOL or directly to organizations running another IM platform. All three can connect with XMPP- or SIP/SIMPLE (Session Initiation Protocol/SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions)-based servers.
Antepos OPN System Rivoli is well-suited to large organizations, as it is easy to manage and integrate with external IM systems. In addition, its direct support for SIP/SIMPLE means it can act as a back end for Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 for companies that want to use the latter platform for VOIP (voice over IP) communications and desktop and application sharing.
Jabbers Jabber XCP has broad database and operating system support, but its management tools can be complex. Jabber XCP or the Jabber client can integrate directly with third-party Web conferencing systems.
Jive Softwares Wildfire Enterprise simplifies management to the point that a relatively small IT staff could easily manage the system, and the platform can be extended using plug-ins.
Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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