Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

American Steel Realizes Benefits from Linux Infrastructure

Dissatisfied with Microsoft Exchange Server, steel company benefits from migration to Linux-hosted Kerio MailServer

The advantages of running Linux are well known - lower costs, better adherence to open standards, no domineering corporate power, better security, etc. However, there's one area where Linux users are subject to all the same challenges and pitfalls as other systems: corporate e-mail. E-mail remains the single biggest source of security breaches and IT headaches simply because most Linux-based IT departments still rely on Microsoft Exchange Server for their e-mail. And, because Microsoft Exchange Server has such a large installed user base, it remains a favorite target of hackers and spammers.

Steve Francis of American Steel has found what he believes to be a better alternative; one that runs native to Linux and yet offers a full-featured, transparent solution for users accustomed to using Microsoft Outlook to process their e-mail.

American Steel is a full-line supplier of steel products and services to customers in Washington, Oregon and, through its American Metals affiliate, Northern California. The IT department, run by Steve Francis, uses Linux exclusively on its five servers, three IT department workstations, and seven network storage devices. However, most of the company's 120 employees use Windows workstations and the Microsoft Office suite, including Microsoft Outlook.

Up until 2004, American Steel used a Windows NT server running an older version of Microsoft Exchange Server (version 5.5). When Microsoft ended support for its NT Server, the company decided to upgrade its e-mail system. However, it found that the estimated $13,579 cost of doing so was too pricey, especially for a company of its size. And the estimate didn't include the potentially significant anti-virus upgrade costs that would have been required.

As an alternative, Francis decided to use Kerio MailServer, which provides a complete cost-effective messaging and collaboration solution with multiple anti-spam layers, anti-virus protection, and a feature-rich Web mail interface. Because it runs on Linux, no server upgrade was required. In fact, American Steel was able to reuse its existing hardware, buying only a $40 license for Red Hat Linux 9 to replace the Windows NT Server operating system. With all the necessary components integrated into Kerio MailServer, including backup capabilities, the only other upgrade cost for American Steel was the product license at $1,999, bringing the total cost to $2,039 - 85% less than the cost of a Microsoft Exchange Server upgrade.

But cost was not the only reason to move to the new mail server. American Steel needed a system that offered all of the features included with Microsoft Exchange Server. In particular, users accustomed to working with Microsoft Office Outlook were able to continue using that program because of the Kerio Outlook Connector, which provides a seamless interface. Kerio MailServer also incorporates all of the groupware features found in Outlook, including personal and shared directories, group scheduling complete with busy notification, and the ability to provide away messages. The ability to create shared public folders is unique to Kerio Technologies, as is its ability to create and manage mailing lists - a must for companies like American Steel needing to send promotional messages to groups of customers and prospects. "One of the big plusses was the Web mail feature included with Kerio MailServer," Francis says. "Not only was it quick and easy to set up, but the Web mail screen even looks very much like the Outlook window so your mail interface remains the same whether you are in the office or on the road."

American Steel found the new Kerio MailServer system to be easy to set up and maintain. Microsoft Exchange Server is designed to be used by large enterprises, usually requiring a dedicated IT person to manage and maintain the system. If a novice attempts to do so, he or she will become lost rather quickly and may even create significant system and security problems. With Kerio MailServer, American Steel found that even a relatively non-technical person could quickly learn how to set up and maintain the system. This feature is ideal for smaller business of American Steel's size that can't afford to keep a dedicated IT person on staff. Another advantage of Kerio MailServer administration is that backup and archiving are built into the system and, unlike other mail servers, these functions are sone without stopping the server, permitting uninterrupted 24x7 operation.

Security was another concern that was top-of-mind for Francis and, with Kerio MailServer he could rest assured that his new system was protected from a variety of threats. In fact, Kerio MailServer is inherently more secure than its predecessor in several ways. By running native on Linux, it avoids the attacks common to Windows systems by virtue of the latter's greater user base. Also, robust anti-virus and anti-spam protection are integrated into the Kerio MailServer system, ensuring smooth interoperability and minimizing the flaws that often provide opportunities for enterprising hackers. Most importantly, these features operate at the server level, ensuring that unwanted e-mails never reach the client - many other systems depend on virus and spam protection at the client level, which leaves users more vulnerable to a variety of attacks.

Of increasing concern is the growing number of directory harvest attacks aimed at e-mail servers. These attacks are used to identify valid e-mail addresses in a domain by bombarding the server with thousands of e-mails using various combinations of letters until valid addresses are determined. They can effectively become denial-of-service (DoS) attacks as the volume of incoming e-mails can overwhelm the server. The Kerio MailServer software protects against this type of attack by denying access for 30 minutes following three unsuccessful attempts. This is a sufficient deterrent to discourage all but the most patient of hackers.

"Being a Linux-based organization, we were always a bit uncomfortable running a non-Linux e-mail system because we were never sure we were doing everything right," Francis said. "Migrating to Kerio MailServer simplified our lives in many ways. Not only were we able to get rid of the non-Linux operating system and save money in the process, but the new mail server is so much easier to set up and maintain and the security features are second to none."

At the end of the day, the decision to migrate to Kerio MailServer was an easy one for Francis. "All we needed to ask ourselves was if we were willing to pay this much money for a product that requires constant vulnerability patching, and has excessive licensing fees and a complicated license structure. The answer was no."

More Stories By James Gudeli

James Gudeli is vice president of business development at Kerio Technologies, Inc., where he oversees business development strategies, including management of partner and reseller
relationships. He graduated from San Jose State with a BS in marketing. James has spoken at
Linux.SYS-CON.com Boston and San Francisco about messaging trends in Linux and open source.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...