Kerio Connect 7 review

£333
Price when reviewed

When a company renames a well-known product, the danger of confusing customers has to be weighed against any benefits that might come from the new name. Kerio has taken that risk by renaming Mail Server to Connect 7, but this reflects that it’s more than just an email server; like Exchange, it offers a multitude of collaborative features, too.

It can also cope with organisations with teams in multiple locations. Kerio’s support for a range of platforms has always been a strength, and Connect 7 boosts this further with support for Apple’s address book server in OS X 10.6 and others with CardDAV support for synchronising address books.

Connect 7 can work across multiple servers on multiple domains, so you can share schedules, mailing lists and free/busy information. One neat addition is the Message Submission Service, which is a secure system for sending email via SMTP but over port 587 (the default SMTP port 25 is often blocked in hotels, so sending emails can be tricky).

Kerio Connect 7

Better support for multisession IMAP is now included too. Phones such as the iPhone send IMAP commands in parallel over multiple sessions rather than one at a time, which improves performance if your mail server can handle it. Kerio Connect also offers over-the-air synchronisation for Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry support is via the third-party add-in, NotifyLink. It’s disappointing that this connectivity wasn’t built in; relying on a third-party product could bring compatibility problems in the future.

The administration pages are now fully web based, which again makes remote management easier, rendering the previous console application unnecessary. This administration web application is easier to follow and understand than, for example, Gordano’s, one of Kerio’s competitors. There are fewer tab dialog boxes within each other, the headings are more logically laid out and it’s easier to find the option you’re looking for.

Connect 7 has all the usual features you’d expect of such a messaging system, with antispam built in and antivirus an optional extra: you can install your own favourite or opt for McAfee for an extra charge of around £15 exc VAT per user. One new feature that will please overworked administrators is the ability to delete old email items automatically according to your company’s policy.

Kerio holds its own against the big boys in the areas of multiple server, mobile messaging and full collaboration in terms of features, performance and price. For 50 users, for instance, Kerio costs £1,173 exc VAT per year, compared to £2,274 for Gordano Messaging Suite and £3,240 for Exchange.

Installation is easy, too. You can examine the various log files in the web tool so that diagnosis of any problems with DNS and suchlike can be found quickly.

Previously, when comparing Kerio’s offering against Gordano and Exchange we felt it was more suited to smaller numbers of users. This is no longer the case, and with its easy setup and versatility Connect 7 is now a heavyweight contender.

Details

Software subcategory Other software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? yes
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes

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