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Start-up targets Exchange customers

PostPath looks to bring in Linux-based replacement.

By , Network World
May 11, 2006 06:14 PM ET

Network World - Messaging vendor PostPath emerged from stealth mode last week, saying it plans to ship a Linux-based replacement for Exchange that supports Linux network protocols and is designed to look just like Exchange on the network.

PostPath Server, expected to ship next month, is designed not only as a replacement for an entire Exchange environment but also as a piecemeal replacement for individual Exchange servers, such as those in branch offices.

PostPath Server is a replica of Exchange at the network level, so it looks like Exchange to other Exchange servers and to other software plugged into the server, such as Outlook, Active Directory and third-party applications including Research In Motion's BlackBerry mobile gateway. The company says its support of open standards will give users more options in third-party products, such as storage or anti-malware software, for messaging environments. PostPath Server also gives users alternatives for storage, backup and restore, archiving, and filtering. It ships with a Web client based on Asynchronous JavaScript + XML technology.

"The thing that seems to be most unique about this server seems to be its interoperability with Exchange," says Erica Driver, a Forrester Research analyst. "There are plenty of other Exchange alternatives out there, but I have not heard anyone else describe theirs as 100% interoperable."

PostPath Server will compete with servers from CommuniGate, Gordano, IPSwitch, Mirapoint, Rockliffe, Scalix and Sendmail.

However, Driver says the proof will be in customer deployments once PostPath Server is generally available. "If they can work as well with SharePoint 2007 as Microsoft does, that will be very interesting. But it remains to be seen."

Others are skeptical the server is a full Exchange replacement, which has been attempted by IBM, Novell, Oracle, Sun and others. "There are a dozen vendors out there that claim to do a great job of supporting native functionality from Outlook, and basically none of them do," says Matt Cain, a Gartner analyst. "I have yet to see a broad enterprise deployment of Outlook running in rich protocol e-mail mode against any back end other than Exchange."

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