hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

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Cold Gin
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hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by Cold Gin » 2013-01-02 23:50

Hi,

My company is looking for alternatives to Exchange. One of the COO's colleagues mentioned hMailServer to him and he tasked me with finding information. I am not familiar with hMailServer so I came here for answers.

I have read several forum threads here, but management is pressing the issue and I don’t have time to read every thread to glean pieces of information. Therefore, I have these questions and I apologize if some of them are basic or have been answered elsewhere.

Are there any tools to assist with migration, such as a tool to pull mail off the old server and migrate it to the new server. Tools such as this exist for Exchange.

If there are no tools, can we import PST files in to hMailServer?

Installation looks straightforward enough but how do we get help DURING the installation in case we have questions about the configuration? Forums do not offer quick response times.

Is there a way to find a consultant in my city to assist?

Since there is no native webmail support, what do hMailServer admins prefer for a webmail app?

We have seen many comments on iPhone and other smartphone connectivity but there are disparate statements regarding this topic. Can iPhones and Droids (Blackberries, Palms and Windows Phones) connect AND sync with the mailboxes? Many comments I've seen elsewhere on the web claim that there are issues with this and phones can only POP mail down and not sync with the mailboxes. In those scenarios, clunky workarounds are offered but we don’t want something that’s going to break all the time. Don’t know if it is limitations of the posters’ networks/servers or hMailServer that are the root causes of these issues, thus the reason for asking.

Can contacts be synced between phones and mailboxes?

Are there public calendars or any other collaborative features?

What are the size limits on the mailboxes?

Will we need to build a separate dedicated SQL server or can we install SQL on the server on which hMail will be running?

Currently, we have 200+ mailboxes. We are expanding and will likely have 1000+ users by 2015. Does hMail have the capacity for this?

Is an SSL certificate mandatory?

Can hMailServer be integrated with Active Directory?

Do I have to know Unix or any specific programming/scripting languages?

Is there an ability to archive built in or will a third party tool be needed?

Are there other sources for support besides the hMailServer site? The search engines didn't turn up much in that area.

Thank you in advance for any input.

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mattg
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Re: hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by mattg » 2013-01-03 00:13

Tools - IMAPCOPY for large number of accounts, OR simply opening a connection to both and dragging and dropping mail within a mail client is easy for a small number of accounts.
hMailserver doesn't import pst files, but again, open outlook and add a new account to hMailserver then drag and drop.

Forum response times can be pretty good. (single answer questions are often answered in minutes - longer more detailed questions like this can take a while just to write). We don't really have a model for paid support here there are a few of us that frequent here. Also IRC tends to get very fast response times.

Where is your city?

Webmail - NASMail, Squirelmail, roundcube, Afterlogic take your pick. It depends on what else you run on your system (PHP, ASP etc)

Connecting smart phones via IMAP is easy. POP3 isn't intended for multiple connections (as per RFCs), most issues are POP3 related.

There is no way facility to sync contacts or events. That is propriety Microsoft stuff in exchange / outlook combinations. MS are walking away from Exchange for this though and migrating towards Sharepoint for these things. You can use sharepoint + hMailserver (I do). There are no calendars or contact lists at all in hMailserver. hMailserver is purely a mail server.

No limits unless specified by the admin for users.

SQL server can be same machine, in fact most are this way. Don't use built in database - it is intended for play only.

There are reports of some hMailserver users hosting 100 000's of accounts with millions messages per day. Depends on your hardware.


SSL is NOT mandatory, although some mail clients like to make you think you should. SSL doesn't do what most people expect it to anyway.

Active directory integration - very basic integration yes.

No programming / unix skills required. Some knowledge of mail protocols is required. You can script in VB or JS to 'add on' to your hMailserver but this isn't necessary.

Archive is built in to 5.4

Support is this forum or IRC. You won't need much though - it is 'point and shoot'.
Just 'cause I link to a page and say little else doesn't mean I am not being nice.
https://www.hmailserver.com/documentation

DeanoX
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Re: hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by DeanoX » 2013-01-03 01:30

Currently, we have 200+ mailboxes. We are expanding and will likely have 1000+ users by 2015. Does hMail have the capacity for this?
That is nothing to hMailServer.

It's the capability of the box it's installed on, that will determine how much load it can support.

For instance, my mail machine is a dual xeon quad core, 32gb ram, 4x2 TB HD's with W2K3 ENT, running hMailServer, Apache 2.X, squirrelmail, roundcube, clamAV, avast, mysql 5.X, bind 9.X, and other assorted programs.
Currently it hosts 150+ domains, with over 6K accounts. I am an ISP.

At it's busiest times, it does not even breathe hard.

It's been rock solid for years.

That's my testimonial.

-Deano
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DeanoX
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Re: hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by DeanoX » 2013-01-03 07:49

Also, I thought I would post the server that I am using, in case you are looking to upgrade. ( I already received a few emails asking about it. )

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid ... 2R&cat=SYS

Mine has more memory, and more hard drives, but it's the same motherboard/case.

I use all rack servers myself, but this could easily be put into a another case. Or check the same site for a similar pc in a desktop case. I purchase from geeks.com a lot, good outfit.
hMailServer 5.4.2-1964, mysql, ClamAV, SpamAssassin, SquirrelMail, GeoIP.
hMailServer Support Services for US Based Clients.
Low Rates, Quick Service. Send a Private Message for More Information.

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dzekas
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Re: hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by dzekas » 2013-01-03 20:21

Exchange is groupware suite tightly integrated with Microsoft Office Outlook. hMailServer is generic email server.

Two different kinds of beast.

Generic SMTP servers don't have shared calendaring support and GAL support is available only in specific email server configurations. If you are looking for something to replace Exchange as email server, you are making wise business decision. If you expect to replace all Exchange features with generic email server, you are making a mistake.

Cold Gin
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Re: hMailServer Features vs. Exchange

Post by Cold Gin » 2013-01-04 00:22

Thanks for all the replies and the information contained therein. Very useful.

I am in the Atlanta Metro Area.

Of the 200 users that I currently have, only about 10 use Outlook as a client. Everyone else uses either OWA or a phone. It's the nature of our business (hospice) that 80% of my users are in the field. It was a choice to have them use OWA and/or their phones rather than Outlook because we use our ISP's Hosted Exchange and keeping people on OWA makes my fleet of laptops easier to manage. So...a webmail client and mobile device support are very important to our operation.

With the answers provided here, I can see that hMailServer will be robust enough to handle any number of users and volume that I may have in the future. Due to infrastructure issues at our office, management wants to put our email server (no matter what app) in the private cloud on our MPLS network so hardware isn't an issue, other than making sure the virtual server is configured robustly enough. That's a pretty good deal that DeanoX shared, though. Might have to get one for myself.

I have supported Exchange in the prior positions and am familiar with its capabilities and, now that I've been educated, I see that hMailServer is purely an email server. Neither is a bad thing. Management, however, is enamored of the groupware offerings (calendars, invites, etc.) from Exchange but, as with many who move away from Exchange, don't want to make Bill and Steve any richer. But...they want all the stuff that Exchange offers. This is what I'm trying to accomplish.

Knowing that SharePoint can be used with hMailServer is useful. I will look into that.

Thanks again for the input.

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