The IceWarp server, created by the company of the same name, offers not only an e-mail function but also instant messaging, groupware functionality, a VoIP server, and a web interface for administrators and users. Anti-spam and anti-virus protection is also integrated, and Outlook and various phone systems can also be linked to the application. The manufacturer claims that more than 50,000 servers have been installed, serving more than 50 million users. The server provides most of the familiar features of Exchange Server. In other words, the IceWarp mail server is a direct competitor for Exchange or Lotus Notes.
The IceWarp server is modular. Administrators can activate and configure individual functions separately, and the licensing model is also modular. This allows companies to exclude unnecessary functions and save on license fees.
Most importantly, the IceWarp mail server supports the SMTP and POP / IMAP protocols supported by all common mail clients, and the services can be encrypted with TLS and SSL. The server creates an wow writing archive of an incoming and outgoing email that users can access, and then protects the archived email from accidental deletion.
Storage of attachments locally
When a user sends an internal email with an attachment, the server stores the file locally and sends only a link. In other words, when users send email to multiple users, only one copy of the file is required. Access to files is also possible via network or FTP shares, which helps businesses save space, especially when there are many large attachments. In Exchange, on the other hand, the entire file is still stored in its entirety in the user's mailbox, thus inflating already fragile databases. Public folders can also be used with IceWarp. Access is via Outlook, another client, or the integrated web client.
A real advantage of IceWarp is its approach to data storage. While Exchange uses the legacy Jet system for data storage, the IceWarp server relies on real database systems. You can connect Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, or Oracle and the server can communicate with clients using the licensed Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Thus, users generally do not need to change software or hardware and can continue to work with Outlook and their current smartphones. Other clients can connect without a problem. The IceWarp mail server supports a variety of protocols and services.
Active Directory or LDAP
The IceWarp server manages user data in Active Directory, but it also supports OpenLDAP. Generally, user management is managed in IceWarp, but the server can read data from Active Directory if the administrator creates users. Although IceWarp is flexible, management with Exchange is easier: in Exchange, administrators have only one interface to manage users and email accounts, as well as a single directory service in the form Active Directory. Active Directory user accounts become immediately available on the mail server and can send and receive email and use instant messaging.
Instant messaging, SMS and VoIP
Beyond the messaging functions, IceWarp also offers instant messaging and voice over IP (VoIP). For chat functionality, users can either turn to the locally installed client or use the web interface. The server saves the chat history so that it is available to all clients. The instant messaging server can also access other systems on the Internet. For example, IceWarp supports ICQ, Google Talk, Yahoo, or Facebook chat. Administrators can define the networks to authorize. The instant messaging function is based on XMPP (Jabber). Companies that use Exchange instead of IceWarp, on the other hand, also need a Lync server.
Another feature of the IceWarp mail server is a short message connector. Users can respond to text messages from mobile phones via their messaging clients and receive text messages via the same route. Businesses need a GSM modem to take advantage of this feature.
Try and buy
The manufacturer offers trial versions and installations on request. If you don't want to install a full server, you can also test IceWarp in the cloud. The hosted model means that administrators don't have to worry about the server but can still manage the server through the web interface. An authorized IceWarp server for 15 users without integrated anti-spam and anti-virus protection will cost only around 500 EUR.
Companies opting for the cloud version can expect to pay a total of 400 EUR per month for a license of 100 users. IceWarp support offers a guaranteed response time of 48 hours. However, faster response times are available at an additional cost. The manufacturer also offers a private forum. If you're looking for information on the IceWarp server online, you won't find much.
The IceWarp mail server is a serious competitor for Exchange and other messaging systems. The upside is storing data on a real database server, space-saving management of attachments, and support for popular formats for accessing email and more. The numerous protocols and functions and the modular design are also a plus. The built-in instant messaging server and other features, such as spam and virus protection, are sometimes better than those offered in Exchange, but they are not available for free. IceWarp comes with its own migration tools.
The server is an alternative for smaller environments. In the corporate environment, integrating additional tools with Outlook or using multiple servers can cause certain problems (for example, if the SMTP service is overloaded). Because IceWarp is not particularly popular, it is difficult to find help with problems on the Internet, and administrators should rely on proprietary support if problems arise. With a 48-hour response time, the risk is that users won't be able to work with the messaging system for two days, so before deployment, a company must first test exactly what features it really needs, then use only these functions.
If you're looking to buy a new mail server, the IceWarp mail server is worth considering; however, in my opinion, it is hardly advisable to migrate an existing Exchange or Lotus infrastructure if the current environment works well. Some companies do not use the IceWarp mail server as their primary mail server, but as a gateway between Exchange and the Internet. They take advantage of the security features and continue to use their existing messaging system.
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