Security and Control
Even in an IM system intended to be run within the network of a specific enterprise, security is an issue. OPN System has laid some of the best security foundations we’ve seen. These include: encryption (Windows Security Services and a certificate-based system), client-side proxy support (new in this version is support for SOCKS 4 and 5, and HTTP/S), SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer) support (also new), and rule-based control lists for server functions.
Another crucial part of security is user authentication, and OPN System handles this well, with support for a variety of LDAP and other user databases (notably Microsoft Active Directory, Sun Identity Server, and Computer Associates eTrust Directory). Support for Microsoft AD is the strongest, with a wizard-driven process for integrating the Active Directory service into OPN. This includes support for single sign-on and preloading of contact information based on LDAP groups (as well as for other LDAP servers).
The Web-based OPN System Console provides server management access, primarily through the Configuration Tool. We found the options and controls to be well-organized, although it may take some time to fully understand the configuration options.
One of OPN System’s strong suits is its positioning: By supporting XMPP and SIP/SIMPLE Antepo has placed it between the powerhouse products from IBM and Microsoft and the more nimble open source products.
The OPN System Reviewer handles most IM compliance needs, including logging, archiving, and reviewing IM traffic. If more sophisticated archiving is required, data can be echoed to an SMTP endpoint for compliance management performed by third-party products.
OPN System Server Client for Windows (client installer is included with the package) is functionally satisfactory, but does not have the richness (e.g., variety of media support) found in the common public IM clients. The OPN System is intended for a closed IM environment, but many users will still want to their favorite public IM client/service, which may force a control issue.
It is important to recognize that although OPN System is currently an IM server/client, it primarily designed to be a platform for presence-based uses and application software. In fact, it is one of the best at this approach — although it is way too early in the evolution of presence systems for definitive evaluation. One of OPN System’s strong suits is its positioning: By supporting XMPP and SIP/SIMPLE (and presumably other protocols further down the pipe) Antepo has placed it between the powerhouse products from IBM and Microsoft and the more nimble open source products. This, combined with its strengths as an enterprise-level system (e.g., database management, security, and server configuration functionality), makes it an important “alternative” to consider for advanced use of presence services (and IM).
Pros:Runs on multiple platforms (as one of a handful of all-Java IM servers); Very strong enterprise features for server configuration and security management.
Cons: No support for public IM clients; OPN Systems Client is relatively pallid compared to public IM clients.
Reviewed by: Nelson King
Original Review Date: 11/10/2004
Original Review Version: 4.51