The latest upgrade to Novell Inc.s GroupWise collaboration software should help the company win back lost customers and possibly woo some new ones.
GroupWise 6s messaging and collaboration tools put new emphasis on mobile device access. Version 6 also provides strong security and multiplatform support via GroupWise agents that sit on client NetWare 5.x and 6 and Windows 2000 and NT platforms—all at a price that competitors cannot match.
GroupWise 6 falls short of its Microsoft Corp. and Lotus Development Corp. rivals in Unix, Linux and Solaris support: GroupWise supports these operating systems only as clients.
After testing Novells upgrade, eWeek Labs concluded that companies with Windows server systems should stick with Microsoft Exchange 2000 for messaging and collaboration because GroupWise 6 does not integrate as easily into Microsofts Active Directories, and installation in Windows shops is burdensome.
GroupWise 6, which started shipping in April, costs $130 per user for the Full Client version and $30 per user for the Web Access/Wireless-only edition. This scheme enables mobile workers to get the full range of features via GroupWises messaging services over the Web or WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) devices.
Other vendors charge on a per-user basis no matter how the users connect—which can get expensive in large environments.
For NetWare 5.x or 6 shops, this collaboration package adds scalability, reliability, and easy and tight integration with the NDS (Novell Directory Services) eDirectory.
GroupWise 6 also offers client support for Windows 98, NT and 2000. Companies running heterogeneous environments on a NetWare backbone can take full advantage of GroupWise 6s reliable, secure messaging and collaboration features.
GroupWises Universal Mailbox allows any WAP-enabled wireless device, including Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry or devices running Palm OS, access from anywhere. This feature outdoes similar efforts in Lotus and Microsoft collaboration packages because GroupWise supports more applications.
The Smart Caching feature allows updates and synchronization to occur in the background, decreasing server requests that can bog down network performance.
In addition, administrators can reduce bandwidth use by imposing message size limits or prohibiting attachments for users connecting through WAP-enabled devices.
GroupWises reliability surpassed standard file-level backup in tests, enabling us to selectively restore messages. The package provides integration with cluster services for companies that rely on failover capabilities to provide 24-by-7 service.
GroupWise integrates very well with NDS eDirectory to provide centralized management from ConsoleOne, eDirectorys management interface. We tested GroupWise 6s e-mail, calendar, document management, workflow and address book capabilities in a NetWare environment and a Windows 2000 Server system.
Installation in the NetWare system was seamless, with an easy step-by-step guide to install Administrator and its programs for access from the NDS eDirectory. We easily created a GroupWise domain, post office library and agent objects. Creating server connections was also a snap.
GroupWises e-mail functions fared well in tests, supporting most major standards. It was easy to integrate with Microsoft Outlooks address book and calendars already running on Windows.
Novells GroupWise 6 surpasses Exchange 2000 in integration and ease of use for users, but in strictly Windows environments, Exchange Server offers faster access to messaging abilities.