The quiet acquisition of a company called Alt-N Technologies by RIM in 2009 has finally borne fruit as the RIM subsidiary last week announced the availability of a BlackBerry Edition of its popular e-mail server offering. Touted as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server, MDaemon Messaging Server was designed to provide affordable groupware capabilities to businesses and offer integration with Microsoft Outlook via an optional Outlook Connector component.
Detailed information for the base MDaemon Messaging Server can be found here, though the truly exciting part of the BlackBerry Edition is how it brings an affordable e-mail platform and a business-grade BlackBerry experience to SMBs at a price many times lower than the cost of rolling out Microsoft Exchange 2010. In fact, Alt-N has put together a chart to show how the MDaemon Messaging Server is cheaper than comparable messaging products from a number of competitors.
In a nutshell, SMBs can install MDaemon Messaging Server, BlackBerry Edition and immediately use it to manage tens or even hundreds of BlackBerry smartphones in their organization-no additional installation or tweaking needed. Having installed Exchange Server and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server in the past, I can say with authority that having a single installation package eliminates a very significant chunk of complexity off a BlackBerry deployment.
According to this video and other information found on Alt-N's website, MDaemon Messaging Server, BlackBerry Edition supports a number of enterprise features such as:
In order to make the product simple to use, MDaemon Messaging Server was designed to be managed from within a simple management console, and is also accessible via a Web interface. And rather than forcing SMBs to meddle with configuration data stored within inaccessible SQL databases (as with the case of BES and BES-Express), BlackBerry policies and settings can be quickly backed up with a single mouse click from the management console. Restoring it on a new (or restored) system is as simple as running the executable file generated by the earlier backup procedure.
Cost-wise, the MDaemon Messaging Server, BlackBerry Edition comes at a starting price of $380, which includes a six-user license. And yes, like BES-Express, it supports either BIS or BES data plans, which should save SMBs even more money on the mobile front since BES data plans command a higher price than BIS ones.