Not all the organizations invited make full-blown, enterprise-scale IM packages. Some products, such as AIM (AOL Instant Messaging) and Yahoo, rely on public IM networks. If the AIM network or Internet connection goes down, so do you. Furthermore, we didn't want to review just IM clients--hundreds of vendors would have participated--and we chose not to include IM enhancement software.
The Magnificent Seven
Seven vendors whose products met our criteria chose to participate: Gordano, IBM, Ipswitch, Jabber, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and WiredRed Software.
To test the products, we set up chat rooms and contact lists, moderated discussions, shared presentations, scheduled meetings, broadcast announcements and created polls--all in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. For our IM server, we used a Dell Computer OptiPlex GXa 600-MHz Pentium 3 machine with 512 MB of RAM. We ran Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP3 (Service Pack 3) with all products except for Jabber's, which ran with Red Hat Linux 7.1. We set up another OptiPlex, running Windows 2000 Server, as an Active Directory domain. Client machines ran Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP. All computers were connected with an Extreme Networks Summit48 switch.