Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

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
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...