ServersIs Gordano Mail Server a Sweet Deal Outside of the Suite?

Is Gordano Mail Server a Sweet Deal Outside of the Suite?

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Gordano Mail Server: Mail server engine driving the Gordano Messaging Suite that also has the capability to function as a stand-alone mail server.

The engine behind Gordano Messaging Suite is a powerful mail server in its own right — assuming you’re a power admin willing to do some heavy lifting.

Although Gordano Mail Server and Gordano Messaging Suite share the same acronym and are often used interchangeably to describe Gordano’s messaging offerings, they are not one in the same.

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Need a Definition?

To clarify: Gordano Messaging Suite is a full suite of integrated modules positioned to compete against the Microsoft Exchange platform; Gordano Mail Server is the engine driving the suite, and it also has the capability to function as a stand-alone product.

This review examines the latter.

Server vendors tend to follow one of two models: turnkey or a-la-carte. Gordano Mail Server, and all Gordano messaging modules, are fully a-la-carte. When you download the 35MB bundle, you can install as little or as much of the Gordano Messaging Suite as desired. Organizations paying for a license to only the mail server must disable the many other components in the bundle at install time.

We installed Gordano Mail Server on a Windows box. It is also available for Unix and Linux. A basic wizard stepped us through the process of configuring a basic mail domain. Its modest installed footprint of 60MB will, of course, grow as the server queues mail. Following installation, the server is configured and administered through a browser using a Java applet.

Gordano’s administration interface isn’t going to win any design awards, and it can take some time to learn your way around. Basic options are presented in a collapsible tree, and some configuration pages contain numerous sub-options. There are no task-based wizards to guide a novice administrator toward particular goals, so you may find yourself clicking around quite a lot at first. Help is available through the configuration page, but it refers more complex topics to the separate and more detailed PDF-based manual.

Administrators can also configure and manage Gordano Messaging Server through the command-line, which speaks to this mail server’s strength for the power admin. Gordano Mail Server’s power lies under the hood rather than in a flashy chassis. It base feature set is, by and large, standard fare for an enterprise-capable mail server. There’s POP3/IMAP4 and enhanced SMTP, secure messaging, granular privileges, bandwidth and IP-based connection management, and RFC-compliance tolerance. Notable, however, are the features that are not part of the standard Gordano Mail Server: anti-spam and anti-virus support. Both modules require separate licenses (starting at $276 for 25 users for anti-spam support and $1,110 for 25 users anti-virus).

Although most Gordano modules require licenses, the mail server does include a proxy server that supports FTP, SSL and Web connections in both forward and reverse configurations.

But unlike many turnkey mail servers, an advanced admin can use Gordano’s mail meta language (MML) to extend Gordano Mail Server. In addition to command-line tools for server administration (e.g., batch user management), MML lets admins write their own scripts to extend mail handling routines (e.g., custom anti-spam filters), customize the Web-based GUI and trigger timed events.

Plus, Gordano Mail Server is cross-platform, making it easier for administrators to separate their choice of mail server from their back-end architecture. Priced starting at $450 for 25 users, Gordano seems to intend its mail server be licensed as the foundation for a broader suite of functionality. But besides building an a-la-carte suite, the advanced administrator willing to extend Gordano Messaging Server on her own may find the licensing for little more than the engine itself is an attractive deal.

Pros: Cross-platform; Highly modular; MML and command-line management.
Cons: Obtuse user-interface; Lacks even basic anti-spam and anti-virus support without separate licenses.

Reviewed by: Aaron Weiss
Original Review Date: 09/19/2007
Original Review Version: 14

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