Mid-range/High-end news server for Windows NT and Unix

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002

Netscape Collabra Server is an enterprise-wide news and discussion group server solution that integrates seamlessly with the Netscape Communicator browser for reading, posting, and administering news services. The successor to News Server 2.0 (Netscape's initial news solution), Collabra Server delivers the latest in Internet news standards, and with its support for HTML mail the server can quickly deliver news articles with embedded sound, graphics, video files, HTML forms, Java applets, and desktop applications. While the server works best with the Netscape line of browsers, it certainly isn't restricted to Navigator and Communicator in terms of supported NNTP news clients. Whether you're looking for a quick and painless news server solution or an advanced server that can meet all of your enterprise-level needs, Netscape Collabra Server is bound to satisfy.

The Collabra Server provides collaboration services through discussion groups -- both Internet-based and intranet-based. Collabra users can create and participate in their own local discussion groups, or they can access one of the 20,000+ public USENET newsgroups. Potential applications for Collabra Server include private 'virtual meetings' conducted through intranet-based discussion groups, shared forums for allowing customers to provide feedback on products and request information, internal focus groups for sharing development ideas, public communities for promoting products or services, and public support forums through an established USENET newsgroup for maximum access to your customer base. Netscape Collabra Server is an enterprise-wide news and discussion group server solution that integrates seamlessly with the Netscape Communicator browser for reading, posting, and administering news services.

The server's best selling points are its cross-platform compatibility (although not as extensive as DNEWS in terms of supported platforms), outstanding performance, overall robustness (can handle 25,000+ discussion groups and total message volumes of 4+ GB), scalability, advanced security, and rich set of features. Security components include access control by user name and password, domain name, or certificate (via X.509 certificate authentication); encrypted security using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology; LDAP directory services for user and group management, and access restriction capabilities for filtering out specific USENET newsgroups for some or all users. Of the many news servers currently available, only Collabra Server offers SSL support, and only Collabra and NewsChannel offer group-by-group access control capabilities.

Collabra Server features include group moderation capabilities for content control, selective replication of discussion groups (to internal and/or external NNTP servers), remote administration capabilities, advanced search and notification tools (to facilitate finding important information among many newsgroups), a mail gateway for automatically sending discussion group messages to a list of mail addresses (essentially creating a mailing list), and SNMP support (allows the Collabra Server to be controlled from SNMP management tools). Configuration and administration tasks are also quick and painless as a result of the server's intuitive interface. Setting up a new discussion group is especially easy with Collabra Server's ability to dynamically create discussion groups from any Web browser.

With a starting price tag of $525 for 50 users (additional 10-user licenses are available for $100), Collabra Server may not be the best solution for smaller organizations. Even mid-range and high-end users should carefully weigh the pros and cons of Collabra Server and DNEWS (Collabra Server's closest competition). DNEWS can be purchased as an unlimited user license for only $485. And while DNEWS lacks Collabra Server's advanced security features and its seamless integration with Navigator and Communicator, DNEWS does offer support for more platforms than just Unix and the Intel version of Windows NT. Overall, even though DNEWS might get the nod in several areas, Netscape Collabra Server has every feature necessary to please those in need of an advanced, high-end news server.

Pros: Extensive security features, group-by-group access control, great feature-set, easy to use
Cons: Lacks support for platforms other than Unix and NT, more expensive than DNEWS

New: Enhanced encryption support, discussion replication option, replication hosts; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 4

Version Reviewed: 3.54
Date of Review: 10/2/98
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud

Operating Systems / Latest Versions:

Windows NT: Intel - v3.54. UNIX: Digital Unix, HP-UX, IBM AIX, SGI IRIX, Sun Solaris - v3.52

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