Back in March, I attempted to debunk a Yankee Group survey that showed 23% of IT managers were planning to migrate from Microsoft Exchange Server to Linux-based mail systems. Despite my skepticism of the survey, at the time I mentioned Scalix as a legitimate alternative to Exchange for many organizations. However, I have recently changed my mind about Scalix after reading the thorough comparison of Scalix and Exchange from Justin James.  

ScalixI was especially influenced by Justin’s cost comparison of the two mail platforms, which you can download as an Excel spreadsheet. The chart shows that Scalix is definitely cheaper during the first year that you purchase and deploy it. However, Scalix quickly becomes more expensive after that. Over a five-year period, Scalix costs over 60% more than Exchange. That’s simply unacceptable for most organizations, especially since you have to give up a little bit of functionality in most cases when migrating to Scalix from Exchange. 

As a result, I can no longer recommend Scalix – even though it’s a solid product – because of cost. Unless and until Scalix changes its pricing, I simply don’t see it as a viable alternative to the incumbent mail systems, Exchange and Lotus Domino.  

However, I have been hearing a lot of buzz about another open source mail system that could challenge Exchange and Lotus: Zimbra. The most groundbreaking accomplishment of Zimbra is that it has created a Web app with offline capability. We have a screenshot gallery of Zimbra Collaboration Suite 4.5. Maybe I can talk Justin into doing a price and feature comparison of Zimbra and Exchange. 

Do you still see Linux as a viable Exchange alternative? Is Zimbra a better open source mail solution? Join the discussion.