Sun, Open-Xchange Collaborate Well

Review: They don't collaborate well with each other, but they do with servers that put an Outlook face on robust e-mail tools.

Companies looking for an e-mail, calendar and scheduling platform that supports Microsoft Outlook will find Open-Xchanges Open-Xchange Server 5 and the collaboration suite in Sun Microsystems Java Enterprise System to be good, low-cost options.

Open-Xchange Server 5 is priced starting at $850 for the server and 25 users, with each additional user costing $25. Sun prices the e-mail, calendar and instant messaging components of the Java Enterprise System on a per-user basis. Messaging Server starts at $20 per user, while the Calendar Server and Instant Messaging Server each start at $30 per user.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Suns try-and-buy program.

Per Suns published volume discount pricing, large enterprises should expect to pay about $40 per user for the three components. These servers are also sold bundled as the Sun Java Communications Suite on a subscription basis for $50 per user. A pared-down version of Open-Xchange, without Outlook support, is available for free in the open-source Open-Xchange 0.8 Server.

Open-Xchange Server 5, released in April, is a Linux-based system that provides more features than most of the messaging and collaboration servers in this space. During eWEEK Labs tests, the product was not only easy to manage but also offered a well-balanced Web client for its e-mail, calendar and scheduling, and project management applications.

However, the advanced collaboration tools, project management, document management and discussion forums are available only through the Open-Xchange Web interface and not through Microsoft Outlook.

The collaboration servers in Suns Java Enterprise System provide a more basic approach to messaging, group calendars and scheduling. The Sun system, released in February, also adds IM. Suns products have a legacy of supporting ISPs and hosted messaging solutions, and, for that reason, Sun sells the servers as discrete products.

There are some domain management features that add a level of complexity to the Sun product, but we still found it easy to administer. The end-user Web interface doesnt have the slick look and feel of interfaces found on competitors—such as Microsoft Exchange Server, IBM Lotus Notes and Domino, and Scalixs namesake product—but it is fast and makes it easy to navigate the various application elements.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read the full review of Sun Microsystems Java Enterprise System.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read the full review of Open-Xchange Server 5.

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at