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Sendmail aims server at workers without e-mail

May 12, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinuxMessaging Apps

Sendmail has released a mail server aimed at corporations looking to provide low-cost e-mail access to workers who don’t have a dedicated computer or even a desk.

The so-called “deskless worker” is the target for the WorkForce Mail server, a Linux-based package that integrates Sendmail’s e-mail software, HP’s ProLiant servers and Intel’s Centrino wireless platform.

IDC says there is a growing desire in certain industries to expand the scope of e-mail deployments to employees such as shop floor workers in manufacturing, store clerks and warehouse workers in retail, and nurses, technicians and support help in health care.

“These are groups of workers who don’t currently have e-mail but would benefit from having it,” says Mark Levitt, an analyst with IDC. “There are those who need information from the company or are in a position to provide feedback.”

Levitt says the challenges will be deciding whether to provide access over a wireless connection or through a kiosk. “The decision will be based on total cost of ownership. How much it will cost to put these systems up, keep them running and training users. The cost of the user license has to be low, but the follow-on costs will be key in decisions to roll this out.”

Sendmail will find competition from IBM/Lotus which next week will announce the name and pricing for the bare-bones mail server it announced in January called Next Gen Mail IBM also is targeting the deskless worker. Other pure messaging servers that could compete include Critical Path, Gordano, Mirapoint and Rockcliffe. Microsoft has yet to offer anything other than licensing deals on Exchange.

Workforce Mail is based on Sendmail’s MailCenter software. It includes content management features such as antispam and antivirus filters and a policy engine to manage the exchange of corporate data. Users can access the server with a variety of devices, including those based on Intel’s Centrino wireless technology, and the server integrates with existing e-mail infrastructure.

“Companies have pretty much dumped their business processes into e-mail because it is fast and it works, but the thing that is significant is that not everybody is in the loop,” says Greg Olson, chairman and co-founder of Sendmail. The company estimates that as many as 60% of workers do not have access to e-mail.

In addition to Red Hat and SuSE Linux, the server runs on Sun Solaris and IBM AIX, and Windows 2000. A Windows Server 2003 version is under development.

WorkForce Mail is available now. For 10,000 users the price is $69 per user per year including server software with antivirus and antispam capabilities, hardware and maintenance. The cost drops to $36 per user per year for the same bundle minus the antivirus and antispam filters.