Netline Internet Service rolled out a new version of its Open-Xchange Server that features improved compatibility with Microsoft's Outlook, and complemented that offering by also debuting a version of the product designed specifically for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).
In Version 5 of Open-Xchange server the company has enhanced its Outlook connectors that allow users to have shared folders, distribution lists, documents that can be attached to specific objects, Outlook categories compatibility, and synchronization with .PST files.
"Between 50 and 60 percent of all the people using Open X-change said they wanted to have Outlook as their preferred client. This is something the [open source] community wanted to see. We had promised this back in August and it is important to customers that you be reliable in delivering this sort of capability on time," said Frank Hoberg, Netline's CEO.
Some industry observers believe the arrival of Version 5 with its new enhancements is well timed given the increasing interest among both enterprise and SMB users in blending open source applications with their existing legacy systems.
"People are now becoming more interested in open source software above and beyond Linux. They are looking to see where else they can take advantage of open source software's benefits. In talking to a number of ISVs about [Open-Xchange 5], they would like to be able to embed their own messaging in with this and avoid the high-priced licensing costs of a Microsoft or IBM," said Dana Gardner, a senior analyst with The Yankee Group.
Open-Xchange is intended to let administrators migrate and integrate products over to an open source environment so they can create applications without having to change over basic infrastructure components such as a database, e-mail server, or message transfer agents. As an example, a user can retain a favored mail client such as Outlook but also have access to an open source mail client such as Kontact.
The company's new Open-Xchange 5 Small Business Server Edition, which supports between five and 25 users, comes with one year of maintenance, initial installation support, Outlook and Palm connectors, and a five-year guarantee. Pricing for the first five users is $295, with an annual maintenance subscription for additional users priced at $25 per user.
The new Open-Xchange Advanced Server Edition of the product, which supports 25 users and up, comes with one year of maintenance, administration interfaces, initial installation support, and Outlook and Palm connectors for a cost of $850. It also carries an annual maintenance subscription for additional users priced at $25 per user.
The version of Open-Xchange Server 5 for Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server can be downloaded now at www.openexchange.com. Support for Red Hat's Enterprise Servers 3 and 4 will be available at the end of this month, company officials said.
Free copies of the open source version of Open-Xchange are available at www.Open-Xchange.org and www.openexchange.com. That version works with those versions of Linux from Novell, Red Hat, Red Flag, and Debian.