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Enterprise IMs

After putting our seven contestants through the wringer, we awarded our Editor's Choice to WiredRed's e/pop Professional for its superior security capabilities, user interface, reporting and features. All the products we tested, however, are excellent solutions.

Our tests were performed using a dual 2.4-GHz Xeon server with 2 GB of RAM. We ran Windows 2000 Server when possible, except with the Microsoft (Windows 2003 Server) and Jabber (Red Hat 9) products. We used PCs running Windows XP Pro for clients. Our directory of choice was Active Directory, but we tested any of the special integration the groupware products had with their respective directories.

Send Me a Message

All the IM products we tested work similarly. An IM server is at the heart--all communications and presence information go through it. Client software or a Java applet connects the user to the IM server and authenticates him against a directory. With the applet approach, the end user doesn't install any software, but he may need a certain version of Java for it to work. Some vendors also support the creation of IM-only users inside their software suite or support user registration. Data also can be stored in an external database, such as Oracle. Once connected, the user appears on everyone's contact list and can receive messages. The central server can be configured to log all conversations, which helps you comply with Sarbanes-Oxley data-retention rules.

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