Joseph & Co is a specialist legal firm. They had been using Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, but it began crashing as email volumes exceeded design limitations of Microsoft Small Business Server. On top of this, staff inboxes were being inundated with Spam.
In a business where email is mission critical, and time is literally money; the firm began to consider overhauling their systems based on the following requirements:
- Robust Exchange Server
The biggest priority was that email would be received and sent without delays using Outlook, webmail, and mobile phones.
- Unlimited Storage
Unlimited inbox size was important, along with archiving space.
- File Serving & Backup
Shared and secure access to central file server, with local and offsite backup.
- Desktop Independence
Support for different versions of Windows and Outlook.
- Security for Email & Data
Spam and malicious content to be filtered out from email before reaching inboxes. Internet security including firewalling, and web filtering.
In the event of catastrophic hardware failure, a second server should be available to immediately take over handling email and data services.
In the event of any problems there should be the opportunity for direct contact with the vendor by phone or email, with remote support for fault diagnosis and resolution.
Option 1 Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
Joseph & Co considered Microsoft Small Business Server 2008, but it quickly became clear that Microsoft Small Business Server would fall short in terms of delivering real peace of mind due to inherent complexity, cost, and lack of vendor support.
Exchange Server, if setup and managed correctly, can be very reliable. But this is time consuming, costly and complex, involving:
- Running and checking backups
- Managing logs
- Running maintenance routines
- Spotting non-default operating parameters and configuration issues
- Reviewing server event logs to confirm operations have completed
- Monitoring storage
- Tuning virtual memory
- Solving messaging failures
- Defragmenting information stores
- Checking malware software for problems
A major concern was having resilience in the event of a hardware failure. The cost of just an hour downtime was considered unacceptable, making next day hardware replacement, and the possibility of a three day server rebuild, should the Exchange database become corrupt, unthinkable.
To provide resilience, one of the requirements was for a fail-over server. Microsoft Small Business Server 2008 cannot be clustered other than by implementing a complex and costly solution involving virtualising servers; something few have ever successfully achieved.
Microsoft Small Business Server was discounted on the grounds of complexity, cost and lack of vendor support.
Option 2 Igaware Linux Small Business Server
Igaware was recommended to Joseph & Co by IT consultants, Go IT. Kevin from Go IT explained, “The limitations of Microsoft become painfully clear when you need their help, as you simply can’t talk to Microsoft. Igaware offers a level of support that makes issues resolvable in minutes, not weeks, months or never. You can call them and get an immediate response from an engineer who knows more than you.”
Considering the over-riding need for a rock solid solution Igaware was chosen to replace the Microsoft Small Business Server.
Robust Exchange Server
The Igaware Small Business Server runs Zarafa, an Exchange replacement solution that fully supports Outlook, provides webmail, and includes ActiveSync for mobile email, calendars, tasks and contact synchronisation.
Email database size is unlimited. Extra storage is easy to add – as simple as adding additional hard disks.
The Igaware Linux Small Business Server delivers secure centralised file serving with access by any authorised user on the local network (as a member of a workgroup or domain), via secure VPN connection, and secure web interface. Backup of all data and email, on or/and off-site.
Igaware is compatible with all flavours of Windows, Mac, and Linux. This means Joseph & Co were not forced to upgrade all their Windows desktops, as would have been required with a Microsoft Small Business Server upgrade.
Igaware has security built in; firewalling, email filtering, web filtering, and intrusion detection/prevention. These defences comply with standards set by the Payment Card industry. These high standards are assured through independent third party testing. New security patches and updates are released to Igaware servers in real time, continuously, eliminating vulnerability.
Igaware was deployed using two rackmount servers, synchronised real-time via a Gigabit Ethernet link. Should one server fail, the other one takes over. Igaware uses a Linux operating system which is widely regarded as being highly robust, and efficient.
A major advantage of Igaware is that there is no maintenance burden for the customer . Igaware continuously update software to latest versions, release security updates, and monitor software processes and hardware health, ensuring rock solid reliability. Pre-fail tests alert Igaware, and the customer of any issue before it becomes a show stopper. Problems with memory, hard disk space or integrity, for example, result in automatic email alerts so issues can be dealt with pro-actively, avoiding downtime.
Igaware has a very easy to use web admin that Joseph & Co can access to manage things like adding or removing users, setting access permissions on file server, checking email reports etc. This enables the customer to take control of day-to-day tasks.
If there’s an issue, Joseph & Co can speak to Go IT who can use the built in status console and log viewer to see exactly what’s going on. In turn, Go IT can telephone an Igaware engineer directly who can remotely access the server and run high-level diagnostics. Problems can be sorted in minutes.
Major cost savings due to system reliability – ZERO downtime.
Kevin from Go IT explained, “The Igaware Small Business server has been rock solid, meaning a delighted customer. Our life is much easier not having to keep up with the complexities and, quite frankly, nonsensical aspects of Microsoft Small Business server.”
To learn more about the Igaware Linux Small Business Server, visit www.igaware.com or call 0191 2804013.