Ipswitch collaboration suite challenges MS Exchange

Ipswitch has launched two new products, a collaboration suite for medium-sized businesses that will compete with Microsoft...

Ipswitch has launched two new products, a collaboration suite for medium-sized businesses that will compete with Microsoft Exchange, and a major update for its network management product, now called WhatsUp Professional.

The Collaboration Suite will offer e-mail serving, shared calendaring and contacts and, based on the company's research, include features people actually use and focus on usability to cut administration time.

"We're very conscious that customers don't have time to fully research the market, they just want software that's affordable and easy to manage," said chief executive officer Roger Greene.

According to Ipswitch, its Collaboration Suite was developed in response to customer demand for integrated e-mail and instant messaging, as well as shared calendaring capabilities that integrate with Microsoft Outlook clients already in place on users' desktops. It also offers home-grown anti-spam technology as well a Symantec-developed AV component.

The product replaces the company's IMail Server and Instant Messaging products which now cease production, though they will, said the company, be supported for the next year. The reason is that the capabilities have been incorporated into Collaboration Suite.

It will cost £753 for five users, up to  £5,230 for unlimited users.

Replacing WhatsUp Gold, WhatsUp Professional (WUP) adds improved security, a new interface and a new architecture based on SQL Server.

"It was a proprietary database but is now open. This gives users access to it, allows you to do reporting and analysis, or to pass it on to a central management system," said Greene.

Also new is WUP's user interface, now based on the Windows Explorer tree view to improve ease of navigation. He added that big enhancements have been made to the alerting function.

"Before you had to go into each device and decide what action to take individually. If you've got 300 devices, that's a problem. Now you can set central action policies globally as well as individually, so you've only one place to change it.

"We didn't realise at first how big networks would become - we started with the assumption that there was one device per person, now it's several. It's 100% focused on the reality that admins don't have time."

Greene added that administrators can now access the system using a web browser rather than the console, allowing remote access, and can assign privileges to individual parts of the network map, allowing them to devolve responsibility to different members of IT staff.

WhatUp Professional is priced at £870 which includes a one-year service agreement, and WhatsUp Gold customers with a service agreement will receive WUP automatically. Both products and more information are now available from the company's website.

Manek Dubash writes for Techworld.com

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