A Powerful Email Solution Made of Red Hat, Zarafa and Mailspect

Red Hat, Zarafa and Mailspect Work Together Seamlessly For German Medical Laboratory

The medical supply center “Medizinisches Versorgungszentrum Dr. Eberhard & Partner, Dortmund” (“MVZ Dortmund”) serves the health care network near the city of Dortmund in Germany and employs 300 professionals. The laboratory tests medical samples forwarded by doctors, hospitals, clinics and companies.

Problem Definition

Previously, MVZ Dortmund had 170 end-users of its email system. The system used Postfix as a Mail Transport Agent at the network level and emails were stored as .pst files on the desktop computers using Outlook. Spam filtering, email archiving (although it is required by German law) and groupware features like shared calendars did not exist.

This old system had a lot of disadvantages. End–users could only access their emails at their desks. Inboxes were not protected from spam, causing the users to waste time manually cleaning their inboxes. Central administration was impossible vastly increasing the workload of the IT Department.

Solution

To improve the situation, MVZ Dortmund decided to modernize their email system. The implementation of a groupware system was needed to give end-users more control over their emails and calendars as well as automatically filter the email stream for spam and viruses. The regulatory requirement to archive emails needed to be met as well as centralized user administration in order to significantly reduce the amount of support.

To undertake this complex migration, MVZ Dortmund recognized that they needed the support of a system integrator with special competencies in email and Open Source software, in light of the company’s decision to implement a heterogeneous IT infrastructure. Already in 2006, Thomas Kroeger, Administrator at MVZ Dortmund, met representatives of bitbone AG at a trade show. bitbone specializes in Open Source systems and groupware in particular. The first joint project involved implementing a fax server using bitkit|FAX, an integration tool developed by bitbone.

In 2009, bitbone started working on a concept for the implementation of the new email solution. “The new email system needed to be stable. The administrative workload and the system’s cost needed to be contained. Furthermore, we didn’t want to give up Outlook and we needed a bridge to mobile devices. And we wanted to keep our Postfix MTA,” said Thomas Kroeger.

The solution is a combination of the Zarafa groupware server with the email security and archiving modules from Mailspect and Postfix as the MTA. “Going for Zarafa were its comprehensive feature set and its small hardware footprint, integration with Outlook and affordable license fees. The fact that Postfix is undled with Red Hat Enterprise Linux was a key selection criterion in addition to Red Hat’s reputation for reliability. The Mailspect modules convinced us with their incredible value proposal,” comments Thomas Kroeger regarding his reasons for accepting the proposed solution.

Project Implementation

After bitbone forwarded the Red Hat license key, Mr. Kroeger installed the operating system himself. “ We are familiar with Linux and we already had the a box with the Intel Xeon processor in-house. The implementation went quickly and was quite simple. The rest of the installation was done by Mr. Rueb from bitbone.” Within one work day, Zarafa, the two Mailspect modules for defense and archive as well as Postfix were up, configured and running. An additional work day was needed for quality assurance and documentation.

Conclusion

MVZ Dortmund has been won over by the performance of the new email system. “The system is flexible, stable and integrated well into the existing IT frastructure,” states Thomas Kroeger. The individual solution components also got high marks: “With Zarafa, especially the web access is impressive and gives end-users the ability to work from their desktop or any networked device with a browser. It offers full synchronization with mobile devices, particularly with the iPhone. We discovered that we have new capabilities to receive faxes on mobile devices using bitkit|FAX as well as send PDFs from the mail server. Users can read the faxes on their mobile phones. In terms of administration, our workload has dropped significantly due to the excellent Outlook connectors
provided by Zarafa.”

“Red Hat is also stable and meets our expectations perfectly. Inbound and outgoing emails are archived by Mailspect Archive and Mailspect Defense is eliably filtering around 15,000 emails per day and blocking 13,500 spams from our inboxes and putting them in quarantine,” explains Thomas Kroeger.

The good working relationship with bitbone is also worth mentioning. “In bitbone we found a competent partner who is there when we need them. Their professionals work hard at solving a problem if it should arise and don’t stop until it is solved. We are convinced that we have found the right system integrator.”

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