Gordano's Suite Solution to Message Management

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Aug 13, 2003


Gordano Messaging Suite: A smorgasbord of closely integrated message-related products Gordano Messaging Suite is a smorgasbord of closely integrated message-related products that stands up well to the major players. Aggressive pricing, multiplatform support, and ease of use set GMS apart from the crowd.

In today's message-oriented computer world, why stop at just a corporate mail server? With Gordano Messaging Suite (GMS) an enterprise can add Internet messaging (IM) and Short Message Service (SMS) to the mix and have more options for more employees in more kinds of situations.

With the release of this suite, Gordano is positioning itself against some heavyweight competitors (e.g., Microsoft and IBM), but its aggressive pricing, support for multiple platforms (i.e., Unix, Linux, and Windows), and attention to the ease of use could have strong appeal to enterprises looking to add these services without the usual extracurricular complexities.

GMS uses something of a smorgasbord approach, the enterprise picks and chooses which components are appropriate. The core piece is the mail server. Other components are WebMail, Internet Messenger, Wireless, Anti-Spam Protection, Anti-Virus Protection, Communicator server (a list server), Proxy Server, Calendaring, Autoport (user importer), and Archiver. Each of these has a graduated pricing schedule based on the number of users. Buying the full boat for 50 users adds up to more than $6,000. The downloadable demo package contains most of these components, which can be a big help in deciding which to use.

Snappy Install

GMS makes a big deal about being easy to install. (The literature notes that "... the office record is 39 seconds.") In fact, for such a multifaceted package installation goes very quickly. Despite the complexity of the features, when it comes to configuration, GMS does an admirable job of simplification. It uses a kind of 80/20 rule where most of the numerous options have the default of what is most likely to be used. We found that even during some tortuous testing, only a handful of options needed tweaking from these defaults. GMS also provides some of the most complete manuals we've seen, containing basic information (e.g., Internet Mail Concepts) that beginners will surely welcome.

That said, when adding support for firewalls (or GMS Firewall), proxy service, security measures, user management, and provisions for IM or SMS -- a GMS administrator has a full plate. GMS promotes itself as enterprise-capable, a claim borne out by its clientele, although we found the support for heavy-duty enterprise features, such as cluster control and use of multiple processors, not as sophisticated as those found in competing offerings, such as CommuniGate Pro.

E-Mail

Built on what was formerly called NT Mail, the e-mail server component that is the core of GMS is robust and full-featured. We wish some of the other components had as much refinement -- but then, this server has been around a lot longer.

A good example of its advanced features is the Unknown User Action. When GMS receives mail from an unknown user, there are options to redirect it to another server (chaining servers), fail it to a specific user account, transfer it to a specific user account, or reject it outright. It can also insert text into the message, perhaps to inform the sender of changes or a correct address. As co-features, there are Smart Routing and Smart Delivery, which provide for redirection of mail based on rules and actions.

GMS supports virtually all POP3 clients (e.g., Outlook and Eudora), many IMAP clients, and provides its own Web-only clients -- GMS WebMail and WebMail Express. The WebMail component, which provides browser-based e-mail, has features and a user interface that while not as fully developed (or as complex) as say Microsoft Outlook, provides what most users would want for e-mail service.

An important point for GMS is that setup for basic e-mail service -- user accounts, groups, and domains -- usually applies to IM and SMS services as well. This unusual level of product integration can reduce the amount of total administrative overhead.

Integrated IM

GMS' Internet Messenger newly revised (version 2) may not have the sophistication of the big public IM services (e.g., AOL and Microsoft), but in the corporate setting the secured integration of e-mail, calendaring, and IM may provide avenues for communication otherwise unavailable. In many situations messaging may be quicker and require less server resources than e-mail (as well as the benefit of real-time response). In our testing of GMS, we found it easy to show user information (i.e., location, presence, and availability) in mail, IM, and calendaring programs.

SMS and Pager Gateway

Packaged under the heading of GMS Wireless is a gateway system that transforms messages and sends them on their way to a SMS provider (usually a telco or ISP) for distribution to individual devices. A similar approach is applicable to WAP and other wireless services. The integration for sending SMS messages within the GMS WebMail browser window is a good example of the strength of the GMS Suite; however, in its current state (due in some part to flux in wireless technologies) this component is only beginning to show its potential.

The Security Packages

While many security features are built into the mail server itself, such as support for SSL, deploying the full range of security measures requires additional GMS products: Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Firewall, and Proxy Server. Which of these is appropriate for a given situation is up to the buyer, but combining the packages provides a high level of security. We recommend enterprises looking to purchase GMS spend considerable time mapping out all of the security measures available.

The Anti-Spam component is well thought out. It includes the usual techniques such as filters, anti-relay measures, and identity checks. It also provides more sophisticated techniques such as a "Confirmation Filter" that implements the now popular challenge and response approach, and an "AI" approach to detecting unusual mail traffic on the system (by analyzing mail history). Like most other mail server vendors, GMS uses a third-party anti-virus program, in this case from Command Systems, which is ultimately responsible for the effectiveness.

The Admin on Top

The GMS system administrator has a large number of tools (some, like Autoport for importing user names, are at additional expense). We particularly liked the Watch utility, which is a separate program that enables an administrator to monitor the server threads and transaction logs in live mode to analyze performance. This complements a well-developed reporting system, which is more than just viewing text logs, but an actual report generator output that allows filters. If the administrator isn't busy with all this, she can try her hand at the extensive scripting, robots, DLLs, and other forms of custom programming that can be added to GMS using its Mail Meta Language (MML).

It should be noted that outside of Web access to a knowledge database, technical support is offered only on a fee basis.

GMS is an inclusive messaging system -- its own top to bottom solution. While not all components are best-of-breed, it does provide an unusual level of integration and the ability to customize. Buying into GMS generally means making do and making fit at a very competitive price. We heartily recommend that enterprises considering similar altogether approaches from the likes of Microsoft or IBM add GMS to the mix.

Pros: Integration of e-mail, IM, and SMS can have many advantages for corporate users; The wide range of message-related products make Gordano a one-stop shop.
Cons: Some individual components (e.g., calendaring and IM) have fewer features and less-sophisticated user interfaces compared to other offering on the market

Reviewed by: Nelson King
Original Review Date: 8/13/2003
Original Review Version: 9

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