Award: Large-Scale Mail System
Winner: Stalker Software: CommuniGate Pro
Stalker Software has produced a gem with its standards-based e-mail server, CommuniGate Pro. We put Stalker's package up against some heavyweight competition during the past year and it came out shining like a polished diamond, delivering an excellent price/performance ratio, error-free operation and every useful e-mail standard known to man.
CommuniGate Pro's standard support includes IMAP4, POP3, APOP (Authentication POP), Webmail, SMTP, ESMTP (Enhanced SMTP), SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), SASL (Simple Authentication Security Layer) and SNMP management. Stalker's CommuniGate Pro also has features that set it apart from the competition, including ACAP (Application Configuration Access Protocol) support, simultaneous support for both mbox and mdir mailbox formats, delegated administration, multidomain support, list support, antispam, RBL (real-time black list) and cluster support. CommuniGate Pro runs on a plethora of platforms, including everything from Microsoft Corp. Windows NT- or Linux-based workgroup systems to large-scale Unix or AS400 implementations.
Priced at $5,000 for 30,000 users, CommuniGate Pro will be appreciated by your accounting department as much as by your technical staff. CommuniGate Pro worked flawlessly on the least expensive hardware during our performance testing, nailing our functionality and high-availability requirements. We would be the first to admit that a standards-based e-mail system isn't sexy or earth shaking, but we are just as sure that a reliable, well-designed, manageable mail system is like money in the bank. We liked this product so much that, in addition to winning this year's Large-Scale Mail System Well-Connected Award, it earned our 2001 Software Product of the Year award.
Award: Directory-Based Application
Winner: Novell: ZENworks for Desktops 3
In 1994, Novell came out of the gate ahead of the competition with the release of an enterprise-focused directory service -- NDS (now NDS eDirectory). Since then, Novell's commitment to the directory has been evident in the depth and breadth of enterprise services that the company has directory-enabled. So it should be no surprise that when we went looking for excellence in the directory-based applications space, we found a product from Novell at the head of the pack. ZENworks for Desktops caught our attention in its first iteration in the late 1990's because of its unique approach to solving a common enterprise problem -- policy-based management for the often-unruly corporate desktop. ZENworks for Desktops 3 (ZfD3), the third generation product released in the second half of 2000, wins this year's Well-Connected Award for best Directory-Based Application.
ZfD3 builds on the solid foundation of past versions of ZENworks by adding comprehensive support for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000. This allows Novell to provide a unified workstation management infrastructure for any Windows 32-bit platform, something that even Microsoft is unable to do with its directory-based product. When users disconnect their notebook computers from the network, ZfD3 administrators now can provide them with access to corporate applications thanks to ZfD3's disconnected functionality.
In addition to a complete features list, ZfD3 uses the directory to provide a single point of administration for users, groups, workstations, application and OS distribution and management, hardware and software inventory, sophisticated helpdesk applications and policy-based management.
Award: Back-End Web Service Application
Winner: iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions: Application Server 6.0
Sandwiched between the glitz visible to customers and the goldmine contained in legacy data storage systems is the offensive linemen of the Web application world. The Back-End Web Service workhorses toil in obscurity to deliver the huge volume of dynamic content required daily by Web users. These beasts-of-burden are noticed only when they either don't respond quickly enough or make a mistake that we don't think is fair. This year, our Back-End Web Service Application Well-Connected Award goes to a product with massive scalability, exceptional load-balancing capabilities and unparalleled standards compliance: iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions' Application Server 6.0 (AS6).
Web service application servers live or die based on their ability to respond to requests quickly and continuously. AS6 applications are inherently multithreaded and can scale across multiple CPUs and multiple machines, so when demand starts to increase, AS6 applications have room to grow with the new demand. AS6 is equipped with a sophisticated monitor that enables users to see where application bottlenecks exist and, more importantly, to do something about it by defining custom load-balancing options. AS6 also distributes transaction state and session information across multiple servers and provides for application failover to help ensure that transactions are never lost.
Application Server 6.0 was the first server to be certified 100 percent J2EE-compliant, and it supports a long list of Java standards, including EJB 1.1, JavaMail-JAF 1.1, JavaServer Pages 1.1, Java Transaction API, Java 2 SDK, JDBC-J2SE, JDBC-Optional Package and JNDI 1.2.
Award: Enterprise Collaboration Environment
Winner: eRoom Technology: eRoom 5.0
When you look at eRoom Technology's high-powered customer list, which sports the likes of Ford, Cisco, HP, Nortel, KPMG, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, Ernst & Young and others, you start to get the feeling that its namesake digital workspace has something to offer. When you take a closer look at eRoom 5.0, you'll discover what the company's customers already know: eRoom provides an asynchronous collaboration experience that is both highly customizable and offers rich, out-of-the-box functionality for groups of people who need to collaborate electronically. This unique combination of customization and instant functionality has earned eRoom 5.0 our Enterprise Collaboration Environment Well-Connected Award.
It wasn't too long ago that the kind of features eRoom provides would have necessitated a major investment in application deployment and management, because of a fat-client requirement. The developers at eRoom know how to code for the Web, and their ability to use the ever-present Web browser as the foundation for the product's user interface makes eRoom deployment a nonissue. This is a critical factor when you consider that collaboration teams may include employees, suppliers, customers and partners, and that those users can be located anywhere an Internet connection is available. (NASA isn't on eRoom's customer list, but we were wondering whether the space station has an Internet connection.)
eRoom's Web site highlights the six "Cs" of successful business collaboration: cross-enterprise, comprehensible, complete, customizable, connected and contagious. That list looks right to us, and eRoom 5.0 embodies the spirit, if not the letter, of the six Cs.
Award: Search Engine
Winner: Inktomi Corp.: Inktomi Search Enterprise
As you've no doubt noticed by now, the Web contains oodles and oodles of information. Experts have determined that the amount of information available on the Web will increase by at least an oodle-an-hour for the next 353 years. Since there is no coordination in the massive effort to add information to the Web, you might think that the ultimate result of that effort would be chaos. Not so, thanks to the incredible search technology developed over the last few years. After e-mail, search is the most popular application on the Internet. In fact, without sophisticated search technology, the Web could very well have collapsed under its own weight. This year, our Search Engine Well-Connected Award goes to Inktomi's namesake Search Enterprise software.
Fittingly, Inktomi is named after the chaos-destroying spider of Indian legend. If you've conducted a search on MSN, iWon, AOL, HotBot, CNET or NBCi, then you've used Iktomi's search software. The same technology used for those huge index and search projects also can be used to index your company's 1,000-page intranet site.
Inktomi Search Enterprise's source-document indexing is both effective and flexible, and it includes all major productivity file formats as well as HTML files. The robot crawler uses a number of methods to reduce the load on the Web sites it is indexing. A database search feature is available for the latest version of Inktomi Search Enterprise, which addresses one of the biggest concerns from our October review of this product.
Award: Web-Based Application
Winner: Lotus Development Corp.: Lotus iNotes Web Access
Almost a year ago we declared that, "Lotus iNotes Delivers the Best Web Mail." Since e-mail is the number one application on the Internet, it seems fitting that we should award Lotus Development Corp.'s Lotus iNotes Web Access our Web-Based Application Well-Connected Award. What sets iNotes apart from the competition?
Second, after providing an exceptional connected experience, iNotes goes one giant step further by enabling users to manage e-mail messages, contacts, calendars and to-do items when disconnected from the Internet. The ability to work offline is a significant step forward for Web-based messaging and collaboration, and it raises the bar for future Web application development.