MDaemon v10

Alt-N Technologies 3.45 out of 5 Windows 2008 for 100 users, first year: $1,015, including antispam; $1,500 including both antispam and Kaspersky antivirus (as tested); Subsequent years: from $0 to $650, depending on the level of support needed (updates to software and antispam are free even without support); add $485 for Kaspersky antivirus updates.

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Price

Windows-based MDaemon is a heavy-duty SMTP MTA with a mailbox server attached. As an SMTP receiver, MDaemon has as many features in the areas of security, SMTP transaction control and message routing. And, we were totally blown away at the level of visibility into message flow through the system for a product aimed at this market. We also found that MDaemon has a great management system. Unfortunately, all those cool features aren't critical in the typical mail server deployment where it's the mailbox server and the groupware features that matter most.

While MDaemon has a MAPI connector, making Outlook access easy, there is no ActiveSync support. That puts the world of Windows Mobile devices and iPhones out of easy reach of MDaemon (a third-party SyncML client can be used with Windows Mobile, although previous tests with SyncML have generally offered less than satisfactory results). Instead, MDaemon has SyncML support, which is not particularly common in the United States — although it does provide an alternative to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server with a third-party SyncML client for BlackBerry devices. While some of the deficiencies in mobile device support would be easy to work around, our experience in testing mobile devices is that SyncML offers a lower level of reliability than the built-in ActiveSync clients in Windows Mobile and iPhone.

MDaemon offers some nice technology, both in the SMTP MTA, and in areas such as multi-site scalability. We were impressed by the management tools in MDaemon, although we are worried about the scalability of its message store, which stores each message as an individual file in a per-user Windows directory. Our testing didn't uncover problems, but we didn't try archiving 500,000 messages in a single mailbox either.

MDaemon wins the low price award in this test, both in initial costs and continuing support. Unlike all other products tested, updates for licensed users to the core product and antispam feature are free, as is e-mail support. (Antivirus updates, from Kaspersky, require an annual fee.) Telephone support can be purchased per-incident or on an annual basis. A five-user community edition is also available completely free.

MDaemon is aimed at midsize deployments where the system manager isn't afraid to dive in to make things, such as mobile sync and the Outlook MAPI connector's fine points, work properly. It's also good for the environment where troubleshooting support and quick access to management tools are important features.

< Return to main test: Exchange alternatives are good bet for mid-sized rollouts >

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