A Sneak Preview of NetWin’s SurgeMail

NetWin is phasing out its old mail server, Dmail, in favor of its new product, SurgeMail. Once SurgeMail comes out of beta and is released, it will bring NetWin into the Linux commercial mail server market with a full feature set and some lower cost versions available for the home user and small business markets. If you’re looking for a solution with integrated Webmail, spam-handling facilities, and more, you should check this product out before making a final decision.

Supported Platforms

SurgeMail 1.0 is available for a number of platforms and has minimal hardware requirements as far as just running the software goes. You can utilize SurgeMail 1.0 under:

  • Linux distributions running libc6 and later
  • Windows 98, NT, and 2000
  • Solaris 7 and 8

Builds for other operating systems will be made available based on demand. As far as hardware requirements go, SurgeMail 1.0 needs little above and beyond what’s required to run your operating system. Additional requirements include:

  • 10MB disk space
  • 16MB RAM
  • Pentium 100 MHz processor

Obviously, these are minimal requirements. Since this is a mail server product, if you have heavy mail use then you’ll need significantly more disk space and RAM, and there’s the usual caveats about the fastest machine you can spare.

You can download a demonstration version of SurgeMail from the NetWin Web site, or at least you will be able to once the product is released. There are four different versions of the software available: SurgeMail-Home, SurgeMail-Workplace, SurgeMail-Enterprise, and SurgeMail-ISP. The key differences between these packages are SurgeMail-Home doesn’t support mirroring of the server and its data and each of the versions has its own range of the number of users it can handle. What you’ll pay for SurgeMail depends on a combination of the version you require and the number of users you need to support.

What’s Different

Obviously, SurgeMail 1.0 has to have an edge over freely available mail server solutions if anyone’s going to bother sinking money into the product. What SurgeMail offers you over and above a free mail server solution includes:

  • Web interface for mail server administration
  • Web interface for users to administer their mail settings
  • Integrated Webmail server
  • Web interface for managing domains
  • Integrated SSL/TLS support
  • Built-in interface for virus scanners
  • OpenRelay Blocking (RBL) by default –supported, of course, by some free mail servers as well
  • Integrated filters for dealing with spam
  • Collect mail from other POP servers
  • Supports a wide range of external authentication modules

All in all, SurgeMail 1.0 makes a good addition to the commercial Linux mail server market. The Web interface could use a bit of a spit and polish except for the Webmail interface, which already looks quite nice. Virus scanning is built in — or more specifically, the ability to plug a virus scanner into the server — and so is spam filtering, along with the ability to choose a single blackhole server.

The server itself installs fast and is not only able to run on any Linux distribution meeting the requirements but also runs on a variety of operating systems, so if you’re doing a multiple OS rollout you don’t have to learn more than one package. Since it’s not tied to a specific distribution you also need to remember to do “little” things, like add SurgeMail to your init and shutdown scripts to ensure the program starts and stops properly during boot and shutdown.

Once this product is complete (and it may be by the time you’re reading this), NetWin will definitely enter the commercial Linux mail server market on par with the other entries.

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