Just in case you aren't a regular visitor here, you should know up front that I am a Kerio reseller and that I am strongly biased against Microsoft Exchange. I took Exchange as one of my certifications way back when I did Microsoft MCSE certification - I disliked it then and I dislike it today.
I will say that Exchange is probably a decent choice for an extremely large company that has lots of in-house IT talent to tend to the beast. If you are General Motors or General Electric, fine. For anyone else, I think Exchange is a foolish choice, both because it will cost you more to begin with and will cost you more in support as you use it.
On the other hand, I'm not necessarily saying that Kerio Mailserver is the right choice for you either. Kerio is a great fit for a lot of companies, but it isn't right for everyone. For example, if you are a strong Linux/Unix person and have the time for administration tasks, there are numerous open source mail servers that might meet your needs perfectly. For some shops, Gmail is a good choice (but see the pricing comparisons below).
As noted, I'm a Kerio reseller and I sell a LOT of Kerio mail servers. However, you need to understand this: I sell Kerio because I like the product and the company. I do not like it because I sell it. That's a very important thing to understand: I've been selling and supporting mail servers for a very long time and I chose Kerio because they have a great product at a great price.
Kerio recently published a new literature piece that compares Exchange features to Kerio features. That reminded me that I've never really written about that here.. so this is a good time to do it.
Exchange obviously runs only on Microsoft operating systems. Kerio Mailserver runs on Microsoft (Server 2000 with SP4, 2003, 2008, XP) but also runs on Mac OS X, Centos, Fedora 7 and 8, Suse and (as of 6.7 which will be out in a few weeks) Debian 4.0 and Ubuntu 8.04! That's choice, and that's very important to me.
Kerio Webmail is also multi-platform. I'll refer you to my Kerio Webmail article for details, but this means your Mac and Linux users don't need to compromise: they get full-featured access to their mail.
Exchange administration is horribly complex. It's very powerful, but it is complicated and confusing - it seems like the panels never end and many choices are counter-intuitive. Kerio administration is clean, quick and very easy to understand and of course if you do run into anything you don't understand, you can just call me (assuming you are my customer) or Kerio. You probably won't be in here much anyway - Kerio requires very little care and feeding.
Of course the Administration tool is cross-platform also. You can run your server on Linux and administer it from Windows or Mac OS X. You can run the server on OS X and administer it from Windows or Linux and so on - you aren't locked in.
Missing Exchange Features
There are a number of things that Kerio includes that Exchange either doesn't have at all or makes you pay extra for. Probably the most important is backup and archiving. Archiving is very important to many companies today for legal compliance, but it's also important for those who want to be sure that customer inquiries were properly handled. Backup is obviously important - what I really appreciate about Kerio backup is the quick restore in case of catastrophe. You can get a replacement mailserver up and running extremely quickly. This also means that it is quick and simple to move Kerio to another machine - even if the new machine is a different operating system! I've moved customer systems from Windows to Linux with as little as ten minutes of downtime!
Exchange can authenticate against Active Directory. So can Kerio, but Kerio also can use Apple Open Directory, Linux PAM or it's own internal database (no directory service needed!). That's flexibility Exchange can't match.
Kerio has two way sync with Apple iCal, CalDAV access from Apple iCal and calendar delegation through Apple iCal. Exchange? Of course not.
Hosted Exchange pricing is incredible expensive. You can shop for the lowest price, of course, but it runs around $100 a year per user. Google Apps Gmail is $50 per year per user. Kerio is far less, even after adding in the costs associated with running your own hardware. The breakdown for that can be found at Google Apps Gmail vs. in-house Mail Server.
In House Exchange is a headache. That's why Hosted Exchange costs so much.
Right choice for you?
Maybe. Fortunately, Kerio provides fully functional demos for 30 days (and I can easily get the demo period extended if you need more time for your evaluation). I can help you set up a demo machine in your own network or provide access to a machine you can play around with. Of course I'm available to help you with configuration and any questions.
Please remember this: I sell this because I think it is an excellent product. I don't pretend that it's a great product because I happen to sell it.
Kerio also has a white paper comparing the costs.
Got something to add? Send me email.
More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2010-08-19 Anthony Lawrence
The only problem with the cloud is that at some point it will rain. (Reinhard Posch)