MDaemon Pro sets out to provide a comprehensive alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server, and rival solutions from Gordano and Ipswitch. It includes a whole battery of security features, including SpamAssassin, real-time black lists, white lists for both inbound and outbound traffic, and heuristic spam detection using a Bayesian learning system. Reverse look-up checking to counter spoofing is also provided.
Optional extras include the SecurityPlus package, which provides anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-phishing modules. The Outbreak Protection feature, based on Commtouch Software’s pattern-matching technology, provides early (zero hour) detection of new exploits such as phishing and viruses. Kaspersky Labs software provides virus protection. However, these useful extensions cost extra, as does Outlook Connector, which promises similar collaborative features to Exchange.
If you intend to handle all mail on your own server, your ISP must alter its Mail Exchange records to point to your new server. If this isn’t possible, the software can interact with the ISP’s existing setup, accessing all incoming mail from a single POP3 account maintained by the ISP.
Outlook, Outlook Express and most other common IMAP clients will work, and MDaemon also offers two separate web clients. The normal interface, the WorldClient, allows a user to gain access to their mail from either inside or outside the LAN. Aside from simple mail handling, it deals with contacts, calendars, tasks and notes, much like Outlook. However, it has extra features that allow the user to designate received mail as spam, and also to place it in a special folder where the Bayesian engine will collect and learn from it.
The WebAdmin interface offers different options depending on the user. An ordinary user can carry out simple maintenance on their own account, while a user with admin privileges can carry out operations on the whole system, reducing the need to resort to the management interface on the mail server itself.
We tested the software on an entry-level server running Windows Server 2003 SP1 – it used a Pentium 4 CPU, 1GB of RAM and an Intel PRO/100+ Ethernet card. Installation was simple. There may be operating issues with some MDaemon components coming into conflict with Windows’ Data Execution Prevention (DEP) features found in later versions of XP and Server 2003 and also in Vista. However, the procedure to exclude these items from DEP is well documented in the installation notes.
We configured it to run on our test network and adjusted the Mail Exchange records to point to it. Mail traffic was produced on another system using a simple Perl script that sent several hundred different messages to specified clients. Performance was generally good, with the system achieving a rate of 430 transactions per hour over a 24-hour period without difficulty.
If you’re looking for an Exchange alternative, you should certainly give MDaemon a trial run.
This Review appeared in the July, 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing