Gordano Messaging Suite 15 review

Price when reviewed

The list of things to consider when choosing an email server for your organisation grows bigger year by year. Do you need BlackBerry support, IMAP IDLE or other methods of pushing emails to your users’ mobile devices? Do you need calendar and collaboration features? Do your users just use Outlook to handle their emails or do you have to support Macs? Will your users want to use a web interface to handle their messages and will they also want to handle appointments via this interface?

Gordano Messaging Suite 15 review

If you choose the Windows platform then the natural contender for handling your messaging requirements is Microsoft Exchange Server and, not surprisingly, this is the product that has become the standard that others compare themselves to.

This review is about one such competitor: Gordano, a British company, has just released version 15 of its email and messaging server. Gordano pitches its product firmly against Microsoft Exchange, but with the ability to run on almost any platform and with a much lighter machine requirement per user.

Over the last few years, it’s done an extensive amount of work expanding its product to handle collaboration and calendaring, and version 15 brings many up-to-date enhancements to its webmail offering. It now features an Ajax web application interface with drag and drop, a skinnable front end, and a neat feature called Gizmos.

These Gizmos are a JavaScript mash-up framework, which enable end users to interface to other services on the internet to enhance their messaging capabilities. For example, using the Google Maps Gizmo, a user can click on a postcode or address in a message and is then displayed a map of the location. Very neat stuff and, being fully extensible, there could be all sorts of uses for calling web services in such a way.

Scheduling of both people and resources (meeting rooms, for example) is now fully supported, as well as push-email technologies to mobile devices such as IMAP IDLE and BlackBerries. Just note this is done through a third party called Notify and, inevitably, there’s an extra cost.

So how does Gordano compare with some of its competitors? One PC Pro Recommended product, Kerio Mail Server 6.4 has very similar features, but it’s more suited to sub-5,000 users and is more demanding. Gordano will, for example, support 100 users on a server with a 450MHz CPU, 4GB hard disk and 256MB of RAM, whereas Kerio requires a 2.8GHz CPU, a 200GB hard disk and 2GB of RAM.

More tellingly for larger organisations, Gordano will handle 100,000 users without having to cluster servers, whereas even Exchange Server won’t scale this far on a single server. This is a little academic – having a single point of failure on such a large system is just asking for problems – but the price isn’t. Gordano costs £15,530 exc VAT for 1,000 users; it’s closer to £50,000 for Exchange.

Gordano GMS offers a huge range of features with extremely advanced and flexible setup options, while keeping the basic install procedure easy. The antispam measures are particularly impressive, with all sorts of options to cater for the ever-increasing spam payload. You can set filters to block emails based on certain criteria such as “not in my address book” and set which emails require a confirmation from the sender the first time they email you. Together with the antispam engine within the server, this should seriously dent the amount of spam that arrives in your inbox.

Before you part with you money, you should consider the opposition. If all you require is a basic mail server then SurgeMail at $1,817 for unlimited users may be a way to go. But in this day and age many users require more advanced capabilities from their messaging system: as many companies use this for their main workflow and project information store, they also need to be able to access it via a variety of devices without compromising functionality.

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