SPRINGFIELD, Va., July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Messaging solutions provider IceWarp recently interviewed Patra Corporation, an ex-hosted Microsoft Exchange user, about the differences they noticed between using a Microsoft cloud solution and running an email server on-premise.
Founded in 2005, Patra Corporation is the worldwide leader in managed services and back-office processing for insurance agencies.
Patra was running its messaging infrastructure on hosted Microsoft Exchange. As the company grew and added more staff, Exchange became prohibitively costly.
"Once we had about 1,200 accounts, hosted Exchange became very expensive." says Sean Kennedy, IT Manager at Patra Corporation. "We wanted an Exchange replacement."
Mr. Kennedy's team started to look for alternatives. Zimbra and SmarterMail made it to the finals, but both had critical limitations that ruled them out.
"Zimbra is a Linux-based solution and we are a Windows shop," explains Mr. Kennedy. "SmarterMail didn't have all the features we needed. For example, our employees got used to Microsoft Outlook collaboration and ActiveSync features. SmarterMail did not have an Outlook plugin."
After additional review of available on-premise solutions, Patra decided to go with IceWarp. IceWarp could run on Windows, had a Microsoft Outlook plugin and could support an array of ActiveSync-based collaboration features that were essential for Patra's geographically dispersed workforce. IceWarp's standards-based architecture also offered a predictable transition procedure.
"We did not have any issues [with migration]" says Mr. Kennedy. "Since [our Exchange system] was hosted, we could not use the IceWarp migration tools and had to do the migration manually. We backed up the users' data and imported it into their profiles. Then IceWarp's Outlook Sync pushed everything up to the servers. It worked fine."
Patra was surprised by the lack of heavy hardware standards needed to run IceWarp.
"The biggest thing was that we did not have to buy any new hardware, we used the existing machines," notes Mr. Kennedy.
After deployment, Patra immediately noticed the control it gained by moving away from a hosted solution.
"We took the ownership we did not have before, a big plus for us from the management perspective," says Mr. Kennedy. "Now I can…manage mail, queues, set rules, adjust anti-spam and antivirus."
Patra transitioned about 1,400 users to IceWarp in India and United Sates. IceWarp's standards-based architecture allowed the company to support users with devices powered by different operating systems.
"We use IceWarp webmail, ActiveSync, Outlook Plugin and Desktop Client," says Mr. Kennedy. "We also integrated it with Thunderbird and WebDAV. Our employees can use both WebDAV and CalDAV to sync up the calendar and contacts, which works fantastic. All employees who have collaboration features use IceWarp on mobile devices to access their data."
Patra estimates that IceWarp costs 75% less than Exchange annually.
"It's pretty compelling: IceWarp paid for itself in three months," says Mr. Kennedy. "I'd absolutely recommend IceWarp to other organizations in our industry."