Taking on Exchange Update

E-mail server vendors Stalker and Gordano position their products as alternatives for Exchange shops reluctant to upgrade.

With Microsoft Corp.s long-awaited Exchange 2003 upgrade due this week, e-mail server vendors Stalker Software Inc. and Gordano Ltd. are positioning their products as alternatives for Exchange shops that are reluctant to upgrade.

About 40 percent of Exchange customers still use the 6-year-old Exchange Version 5.5, according to Microsoft officials. Many users said that is because moving to newer versions would require an upgrade to Active Directory as well as an operating system upgrade.

Stalker this week will announce that its CommuniGate Pro e-mail server software supports Linux for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s AMD64 processors. This will provide customers with a migration path from 32-bit to 64-bit computing without sacrificing performance, said Stalker officials, in Mill Valley, Calif.

Separately, Gordano next week will introduce a product called GMS (Gordano Messenger Service) Collaboration Server Phase 1, which integrates Microsoft Outlooks e-mail functions such as calendaring and scheduling features with Gordanos GMS Mail client. Customers who replace Exchange with GMS would notice no difference in the Outlook client experience, said Gordano officials, in New York.

Enhanced Outlook support in GMS Collaboration Server Phase 1 includes full-read access to global and personal GMS address books from within Outlook, allowing administrators and users to manage address books at the server level, subject to access rights. Users can get their GMS address book details directly from Outlook, and the Outlook address completion feature now works from the GMS address books.

Being able to continue to use Outlook is a key user requirement when migrating to any e-mail server from Exchange, said Miheer Mafatlal, principal at CipherSpace LLC, a Morristown, N.J., corporate ISP. CipherSpace recently migrated an Exchange 5.5 customer to Stalkers CommuniGate Pro on a hosted basis. "The requirement was that Outlook would have to continue to believe it was talking to an Exchange Server," Mafatlal said. "The end-user experience could not change."

Mafatlal said making such a change does require configuration work.

"Stalker says you can just drop in CommuniGate Pro and replace Exchange," Mafatlal said. "If you take that with a few grains of salt, it is a valid statement."

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