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MailSite -- Powerful Windows NT mail server with SQL and ODBC database integration

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 20, 1999


MailSite occupies a rather unique position in the mail server world. It's not really a single mail server but rather a series of six products designed to serve the needs of virtually any site, ranging from a low end for small businesses (MailSite Personal) to a high end for large businesses that store their user lists in SQL databases (MailSite SQL Enterprise). It's also simple to move from one product to another, making the MailSite family of servers one of the most scalable mail server solutions on the market. The six editions of MailSite are:

MailSite Personal - Designed for small offices and for power desktop users, the Personal edition allows you to create a post office with up to 10 mailboxes and 5 mail lists in a single domain. Each mail list can have unlimited members. Mailboxes can be authenticated against the NT user database or against the registry. Mail list membership can be stored in the registry and in text files. MailSite occupies a rather unique position in the mail server world. It's not really a single mail server but rather a series of six products designed to serve the needs of virtually any site, ranging from a low end for small businesses (MailSite Personal) to a high end for large businesses that store their user lists in SQL databases (MailSite SQL Enterprise).

MailSite Proxy - Designed to relay SMTP messages from one mail host to another, the Proxy edition allows you to create your own mail routes that override DNS records in order to help you relay mail to the correct destination. The Proxy edition does not allow you to create any mailboxes or mail lists.

MailSite Workgroup - Designed for medium size offices, workgroups, and small ISPs, the Workgroup edition can support up to 100 mailboxes and 10 mail lists. Like the Personal edition, mailboxes can be authenticated against the NT user database or against the registry, and mail list membership can be stored in the registry and in text files.

MailSite SQL Workgroup - Designed for medium size offices, workgroups, and small ISPs, the SQL Workgroup edition allows offers support for up to 100 mailboxes and 10 mail lists. Mailboxes can be authenticated against the NT user database, against the registry, or against any ODBC database. Mail list membership can be stored in the registry, in text files, or in any ODBC database.

MailSite Enterprise - Designed for larger organizations and larger ISPs, MailSite Enterprise supports up to hundreds or thousands of mailboxes in multiple domains. Like the other non-SQL editions of MailSite, Enterprise mailboxes can be authenticated against the NT user database or against the registry, and mail list membership can be stored in the registry and in text files.

MailSite SQL Enterprise - Designed for larger organizations and larger ISPs, the SQL Enterprise edition also supports hundreds or thousands of mailboxes in multiple domains. Mailboxes can be authenticated against the NT user database, against the registry, or against any ODBC database. Mail list membership can be stored in the registry, in text files, or in any ODBC database.

Note (April 10, 2000): As of March 2000, MailSite Personal, MailSite Proxy, MailSite SQL Workgroup, and MailSite SQL Enterprise have been replaced by MailSite Office (50 users), MailSite Department (5,000 users), MailSite DataCenter (500,000 or more users), and MailSite Express (a Web-based e-mail client).

Of particular attention are the high-end servers, especially MailSite SQL Enterprise. It's a unique product in the mail server world in that it offers optional integration with SQL databases (which are, however, not included with the product). User information can be stored in a SQL database, or information from the SQL databases can be merged with other MailSite functions. Such database connectivity is rare in mail servers; the only comparable product we're run across in our reviews is Mercur, which supports ODBC database connectivity. And, at $1,995 for MailSite SQL Enterprise, MailSite is priced appropriately for the enterprise market.

All of the MailSite editions are easy to administer. A graphical interface provides useful guidance when installing and setting up the server. User information can be imported from the aforementioned SQL databases (when using the SQL Enterprise edition); additionally, user information can be imported directly from the Windows NT User Directory, ODBC databases, or RADIUS servers. Since this data can reside on other machines -- for instance, ODBC and SQL databases can reside on more powerful UNIX systems -- these import capabilities help MailSite transcend the potential limitation of being an NT-only mail server.

Otherwise, MailSite is quite comparable with other mail servers, particularly Windows NT mail servers. There's an integrated list server, which dovetails nicely with the SQL and ODBC capabilities. Browser-based administration allows the server to be accessed from anywhere else on the network using a Web interface. IMAP4 support is standard in MailSite, as are routing mechanisms for getting mail to where you want it and support for multiple domains (making MailSite a solid choice in the ISP world). Standard controls limit how much data users can store in their mailboxes in terms of messages and disk space.

There are some things we'd like to see in MailSite. For starters, there's no LDAP support. LDAP is becoming a fact of life in enterprise-level mail servers, and MailSite will probably need to implement LDAP support sometime soon in order to better compete with the likes of Microsoft (Exchange Server) and Netscape (Messaging Server). Another limitation is that MailSite offers very little security functionality other than the routine encrypting of passwords. Again, with security being such a high priority in the enterprise world, this area will need to be addressed by the MailSite designers in order for the server to merit more attention from high-end users.

Pros: SQL, ODBC, IMAP4, and list server support; highly scalable; remote Web administration
Cons: Lacks LDAP support, limited security functionality, relatively expensive
New: Four levels of Spam control, IMAP4 server, enhanced list server, improved virtual domains

New in 2.1.6: Improved IMAP performance w/ large mailboxes, better support for virtual domains in HTTPMA, various bug fixes; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

Version Reviewed: 3.3.1
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 3/19/02
Date of Original Review: 5/20/99

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