Samsung, IBM deliver mainframe/Linux alternative to Microsoft Exchange

By Maurene Caplan Grey and David Mario Smith

Gartner Inc.

Samsung and IBM have partnered to provide a mainframe back end for Outlook. This offering may make sense for large firms with excess mainframe capacity that seek alternatives to Microsoft Exchange Server.


IBM, Samsung and Linuxcare recently introduced Samsung Contact for the IBM zSeries running with the Linux operating system (OS). This offering provides the functions of a messaging and collaboration server on zSeries mainframes, while supporting Outlook on the desktop.

First Take

This offering joins the legions of messaging vendor offerings targeted to displace Exchange. For enterprises that view Microsoft Exchange Server as costly and not scalable enough, a mainframe-based application will allow them to retire the numerous Intel servers used for Exchange.

Samsung Contact has been available since 2002 under multiple Intel operating systems, including Linux. Samsung Contact started with a technology base from HP OpenMail and extended into collaboration and unified messaging. With a direct-attach storage device, Contact can support thousands of business users on a single zSeries partition. (Older zSeries machines have 15 partitions, newer versions due in October 2003 will have 30.) Contact’s unified messaging technology supports the Palm OS, Symbian and Windows CE devices. The incorporation of Lotus and WebSphere technologies can provide more application development if customers want it.

Recommendation: Enterprises that seek an alternative to Exchange and that have mainframe capacity and strong Linux skill sets should consider Samsung Contact for zSeries. However, they should also evaluate the degree of application development and testing required to move Exchange applications – or linkages between Exchange and business applications – to the new platform.

Analytical Sources: Maurene Grey, Joyce Graff and David M. Smith, Gartner Research

Recommended Reading and Related Research

E-Mail and Messaging Servers: Beyond Obvious Choices” – Gordano, Samsung, Ipswitch, Mirapoint and Centrinity have won business away from Microsoft Exchange 5.5 by providing e-mail, calendar and mobile access for less than it costs to migrate to Exchange 2000. By Joyce Graff, Simon Hayward and Maurene Grey

“Magic Quadrant for Messaging Servers, 2002” – Although Microsoft and IBM remain leaders in the messaging market, they face serious pressure for the first time in years. By Joyce Graff, Maurene Grey and Simon Hayward

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