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Cheaper, faster, easier… Softalk launches rival to Microsoft Exchange Server

Softalk has announced the release of Softalk Share Server, which will be sold as a simpler, lower-priced alternative to Microsoft’s messaging and collaboration servers. Softalk, the global developer of collaboration and email software, has designed a new collaboration server to enable small and medium-sized businesses to instantly share Microsoft Outlook folders so changes made in Outlook are available immediately.

Previously, this was only possible using Microsoft’s premium-priced Exchange or Small Business Server, as most competitor products don’t instantly update Outlook as changes are made.

Softalk Share Server enables users to share both personal and public Outlook folders, including email, calendars, contacts, notes and tasks. Users and permissions can be set-up quickly with four clicks, without the need for the complex configuration required to use Microsoft Exchange. Softalk Share Server has been designed for non-IT specialists to install and use. Access to folders can be set by user groups, further simplifying administering permissions.

“The two key benefits of Softalk Share Server for small and medium businesses is that it is very easy to use and has minimal hardware requirements, both of which mean it has a much lower cost of ownership than Microsoft Exchange or Small Business Server,” explained Simon Bates, joint chief executive of Softalk.

Softalk Share Server does not need a dedicated Windows Server computer, which means lower hardware and software license costs. It can also be used on either existing 32-bit Windows computers or new 64-bit computers, unlike Exchange 2007 that needs a dedicated 64-bit Windows Server with an Active Directory domain. For smaller companies Softalk Share Server can even run on a workstation that is also being used by an Outlook user.

If businesses upgrade from existing individual Outlook personal store folders (PST) then Softalk Share Server automatically migrates the data into the new store ready for sharing. Microsoft Exchange Server provides users with empty folders forcing them to manually copy their data. Softalk Share Server is first set-up to automatically run full and incremental back-ups. If individual folders are deleted then they can be restored in seconds, unlike Exchange where users need to restore the entire store to recover data.

Small and medium size businesses can expand Softalk Share Server far more easily than Microsoft Small Business Server which has a maximum of 75 users (above this businesses must move to Exchange Server, running on two separate servers). Softalk Share Server can simply be expanded by purchasing more licenses.

Softalk Share Server starts at £149 for five users and for up to 25 users is less than half the cost of Microsoft Small Business Server. More users are even lower cost with Softalk Share Server at £1495 for 100 users, compared to Microsoft Exchange Server at around £3500.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.