View Full Version : Help with Groupware Solution Selection

April 7th, 2008, 03:08 AM
Currently I have two separate domains that are hosted by the company from which they were purchased; this company provides e-mail services via both IMAP to compatible clients, and a Web-based interface (whichever the individual user prefers at the time).

Each user also synchronizes their contacts with a free, third-pary, Internet-based service using SyncML on their compatible cellular (mobile) telephone...

I would like to change this so that each user can synchronize their contacts with their e-mail address, allowing their contacts to be accessed from their SyncML-compatible cellular (mobile) telephone, any computer-based e-mail clients they may be using and the Web-based interface for their individual e-mail address.

For each user's cellular (mobile) telephone, size plays a crucial role - roughly the size of a typical (QWERTY keyboard-featured) Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry device is the maximum size I would like a user's compatible cellular (mobile) telephone to be.

Whilst it's not compulsory, it would be preferable be able to receive e-mail via a "push" solution; it IS compulsory however, that I keep IMAP-type functionality (ie. e-mail messages are synchronized between clients and the Web-based interface).

The "users" are all family members (approximately five users in total) and because it is not for business/commercial purposes, I would like to minimize any costs (particularly on-going costs) associated with this, as much as possible...

At this stage, I am considering the only two solutions I am aware of, which are Skyrix's Instant OGo (based directly on the Open Source OpenGroupware.org) and Microsoft's Exchange: Server, however I have identified a few potential flaws and benefits for each:

Exchange: Server
* As I understand it, Exchange: Server can only meet my requirements with Microsoft-powered devices and software, UNLESS I look towards "add-on" solutions, such as a BlackBerry Enterprise Solution (BES)...
* If I utilize a BES, as I understand it the initial setup costs aren't too bad, but there are on-going fees for the BES side of things.
* Most of my users will be using Apple's Mac OS X, however at least one user will be using Ubuntu Linux, both of which I understand may not be compatible with Exchange: Server.
* Contacts synchronization will not be available to "traditional" phones, which typically only support SyncML - as I understand it, Exchange: Server does not support SyncML and this cannot be added to it as an "add-on"...

HOWEVER, It appears that an Exchange: Server-based system (particularly WITHOUT a BES) could be the cheaper option as Hewlett Packard sells Microsoft Windows: Small Business Server systems (which include Exchange: Server I'm told) for ~$AU1500-2000; I am of the impression that there are no on-going fees for Exchange: Server itself.

Instant OGo
* The initial purchase of Instant OGo appears to be VERY high, BEFORE I have even bought the hardware; it appears to be significantly more than buying a complete system from Hewlett Packard, as referred to above.
* From what I can tell, the on-going costs for Instant OGo are quite steep, specifically with regards to upgrades and so forth.

HOWEVER, I am of the impression that Instant OGo either naively supports SyncML, or this can easily be added to it (possibly for free).

I am still a few months off setting this up (I plan to set this up in about 3-4 months), however the solution I select will be built for the long-term, so I want to do this right and will be researching my options extensively...

For the initial setup of my chosen solution, I will be paying a professional to do this for me, unless it simple enough for me to do (I believe Instant OGo is pretty straightforward).

What are people's thoughts and do you all have any suggestions or comments?

By the way, if any of the above information is incorrect, please correct me - I have NO experience in groupware, SyncML or e-mail servers at all...

FYI, this thread has been started in a number of carefully-selected forums, in which I believe its members have the knowledge and experience to offer appropriate comments and feedback.