I am the network engineer for a small (140-user) decentralized (11 sites)
intermodal shipping company. Until 1998 we were a SCO Unix shop, but
a poorly considered software purchase brought Microsoft NT 4 into the
back office, and it's role has been growing.
When I came to the company late in 2000, the decision had already been
made to move major services back to SCO. Since then we've been hit by a
M$ license audit, and the same month as the audit M$ announced it will
discontinue the very products we were forced to license. I have long been
an advocate of Unix and Linux in the back office, but now for the first
time there's a lot of management interest in Linux on the desktop.
I am beginning to plan a back-office conversion strategy that wil keep
enterprise apps on SCO and move all other services running on M$
platforms to Linux. I would like to take advantage of current
interest in Linux on the desktop to expand the conversion, but am
hampered by limited Linux groupware choices, and limited integration between
server resources and the desktop.
I would greatly appreciate the collective's opinions regarding a
replacement strategy for M$ Exchange 5.5 server. Most of our users
connect through POP3. Group calendaring and Outlook Windows Access are
very popular. Of course, e-mail has become (rightly or wrongly) the chief
method of file transfer, largely due to the excellent integration between
Exchange, Outlook, and the M$ desktop office suite. It will be hard to win
acceptance for a Linux alternative that can't offer integration with
desktop apps, calendaring, or Web access to e-mail.
Any views regarding this matter are welcome. I am also interested in
recommended white papers and company case studies.
Thanks in advance. Your help is much appreciated.