PostPath Goes Virtual

by Amy Newman

PostPath slides into the virtual realm with a VMware-based virtual appliance version of its e-mail and collaboration server.

E-mail provider PostPath began charting a virtual course this week. The ISV released PostPath Server VMware Edition, a VMware-based virtual appliance version of its e-mail and collaboration server.

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PostPath is billing the new offering as the first "enterprise-compatible virtualized corporate e-mail server." It is also one of the few virtual appliances on the market.

Like the original version of the mail server, PostPath Server VMware Edition is Linux-based. Because of its virtual underpinnings, however, much of the heavy lifting that comes with deploying an e-mail server has been streamlined down to "three or four details," for the admin to enter, PostPath CEO Duncan Greatwood told ServerWatch.

This is possible because PostPath Server VMware Edition contains a pre-installed and pre-configured copy of both Linux and the PostPath Server. Thus, the image is deployable without the server needing an operating system and with very little site-specific configuration.

In addition to the simplicity PostPath Server VMware Edition provides, customers will benefit from the vendors' combined technology. The offering has VMware technology at its core, as well as the PostPath's home-grown functionality.

Backup is perhaps the area that befits most from this. VMware's "snapshotting" technology enables incremental backups. PostPath offers a restore tool, that during the restore allows operations can be performed at the server, user, folder and individual message level, direct from the snapshot to the live server.

This provides users "continual consistency," and it means admins, "don't need to worry about the server's state when the snapshot is taken," Greatwood said.

"This [continual consistency] is a property where people take the most advantage. The ability to use virtual snapshotting is a huge deal for people, especially with restore capabilities."

The technology also gives PostPath a leg up over Microsoft, as it removes the virtualization issues experienced with Exchange's Windows architecture as well problems that crop up with Exchange's write-sequence-dependent database consistency.

It is a Windows world, however, and PostPath's solution is interoperable with the Exchange ecosystem, including unmodified Outlook desktops and Active Directory tools.

PostPath's network protocol interoperability also enables the mail server to integrate with third-party applications, such as Blackberry Enterprise Server.

Although it is new to the market, customers are already on board with PostPath Server VMware Edition. Maryland-based EMMES Corporation, a contract research clinical and biomedical firm, was an early user of the PostPath Server with VMware.

PostPath Server VMware Edition is compatible with all VMware technology, including, VMware Player and ESX server. Like the other version of PostPath Server, up to 12 seats can be downloaded free of charge. PostPath Server VMware Edition also includes VMware Virtual Server. Pricing details can be found on PostPath's site.

This article was originally published on Thursday Nov 8th 2007
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