Volution: Promising Solution, GUI Not Quite There Yet
A Volution Overview
I've always stuck with the free Linux mail servers. I don't think it's out of being cheap, it's more that since I write about system administration on a regular basis and so many people are using the software that comes with their distributions, I've never had a need to step outside of that box. So when I was offered the chance to review a collection of commercial Linux email servers it sounded like an interesting opportunity to see what I was missing!
We do some pretty cool things around my office with the mail servers, so the big thing I was looking for was that if we moved over to Caldera's Volution Messaging Server version 1.0, we wouldn't lose any functionality. I was pleased to note that none of that was missing, after all, who wants to pay for software that actually reduces your available feature set?
Instead, what I found is this: I know how long it took us to figure out how to integrate things like virus-scanning into our email server, but with this commercial solution it's a one-step process. Anti-spamming routines aren't quite so easily added but some are included by default, and it's still not a big stretch to set such things up. So if I were a system administrator who just didn't have time or inclination to fuss with manual customization, this commercial solution would certainly make my life a whole lot easier.
Volution Messaging Server 1.0 is built specifically for Caldera's pair of operating systems, Caldera OpenLinux Server 3.1 (or 3.1.1) and Open UNIX 8 with its Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) feature installed. Since we're Linux folks, and Linux folks like free stuff, Caldera has wisely kept their Linux distribution freely available for download, sparing the extra expense of having to purchase the distribution along with the mail server.
OpenLinux Server 3.1 is an Intel x86-based distribution, so it runs on most Personal Computers. As far as other hardware requirements for Volution Messaging Server, they're not too hefty. Caldera recommends:
- A 400MHz processor
- A base of 64Mb RAM plus an additional MB for each email account you intend to create (not each Linux account in /etc/passwd, these don't translate to email accounts, more on that later) though they suggest going ahead and bumping it up to 512Mb RAM unless you have more than 500 users--then you'd want even more RAM.
- At least 40Mb of hard drive space just for the software and various components, with additional hard drive space available for each user's mailbox.
Volution Messaging Server 1.0
Caldera International, Inc.
$899 US (Base)
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