[Dovecot] OT: Large corporate email systems - Exchange vs open source *nix based

Alan McGinlay - SICS alanm at sics.se
Wed Dec 11 12:45:50 EET 2013

On 2013-12-11 11:36, Stan Hoeppner wrote:
> On 12/10/2013 8:15 AM, Charles Marcus wrote:
> There has been some whispers about considering migrating our mail
> systems to Exchange Server. I want to try to nip this in the bud.
> I would like to ask for some help with providing some kind of 
> comparison
> of large(r) commercial companies use of email systems... specifically,
> those using Microsoft Exchange Server, vs those using open source
> Linux/Unix based systems, including even commercial *nix groupware 
> based
> systems like Zimbra, as well as plain mail systems like dovecot, or
> cyrus or courier.
> I know that many (if they are smart) Admins that do use Exchange
> internally will use postfix (or something else linux/unix based) in
> front of it as their relayhost (for both inbound and outbound), so 
> just
> counting the number of publicly accessible smtp servers won't be a 
> good
> gauge.
> Does anyone know of any decent non-biased studies that have been done,
> hopefully relatively recently (last few years) that provide such a
> comparison?
> Microsoft Exchange is a mature, very robust mail/groupware platform, 
> and
> when combined with Outlook provides a very rich feature set and user
> experience.  The level of client integration is superb out of the box.
> MS Windows Server and Exchange server run just fine virtualized on ESX
> and are both certified by Microsoft and VMware in this configuration.
> If one looks at Exchange without wearing glasses colored by FLOSS, it 
> is
> a really great piece of software.  Lotus Notes was/is a piece of junk.
> Novell's Groupwise was/is pretty close to Exchange but never achieved
> wide adoption due to the MS Juggernaut.
> There are multiple FLOSS groupware alternatives with similar features.
> None offer the same level of seamless client integration or as rich a
> feature set, though these solutions are getting closer.
> The decision whether to stick with FLOSS or move to Exchange boils 
> down
> to a few things, assuming management is making the decision, not the 
> IT
> department.
> 1. Capital outlay for the license fees
> 2. Administrative talent pool
> Regarding #2, in any given city in the US there are at least 100
> Windows/Exchange administrators per *nix/floss_groupware_product 
> admin.
>  If a company ever needs to sack key members of its IT staff for any
> reason, or if it decides to sack them all and outsource IT
> administration to a consulting firm, having an all or mostly MS
> infrastructure makes this a no brainer.  I'm not suggesting this is a
> possibility in your case, but that it's simply something that 
> management
> considers.  If they don't they're not doing their job.  Management
> should never allow the company to be held hostage, have no options, 
> due
> to being reliant on a single systems administrator and his/er unique
> knowledge of the infrastructure.

Seamless client integration *with windows clients*. This is something 
you didn't mention but is vital for some organisations (like mine, where 
a tiny minority of administrative workers use windows). Allowing one 
microsoft service into your organisation is like inviting in a Trojan 
horse. It won't be long before somone else says "why don't we try 
sharepoint now that we get a bundled license" or something, not to 
mention the licensing nightmare "wait I think we need a CAL for every 
end user!"

Consider it if you are already a microsoft shop, otherwise avoid it as 
you would a plague rat.

More information about the dovecot mailing list