Microsoft Exchange 2003 versus Open Source Competitor "Sendmail" - Comparison of Features and Benefits
Microsoft Exchange vs. Sendmail
Some Assumptions and Misconceptions
We assume Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, as Exchange 2007 is still being rolled out slowly in many companies; thus 2003 is the prevalent version at the moment.
We assume open source Sendmail (non-commercial and free). We also assume the given fact that the basic Sendmail product, without other added open source modules, does not have an OWA (Outlook Web Access) comparable web-based email interface offering. Also missing from the core Sendmail package is calendaring; therefore, without those equalizing factors, some comparisons may attempt to show Exchange as “more feature-rich" when, in fact, with the proper add-ons, Sendmail can be just as feature-rich.
Microsoft Exchange Offerings
Microsoft Exchange is an add-on product and is not included by default with Windows operating systems; thus, there is an added expense involved with obtaining and implementing Exchange.
Microsoft Exchange is managed via both its own Exchange management GUI interface as well as the fact that it integrates tightly and seamlessly with Microsoft's Active Directory. Through Active Directory, many Exchange administrative features can be easily carried out; such as creating a user's Exchange mailbox, setting a user's mailbox size quota, and enabling/disabling access to the mailbox.
With Exchange 2003 and earlier, Microsoft's email database used a more 'closed' and proprietary model. With Exchange 2007 and forward, the enterprise email database may now reside completely on an enterprise's SQL server. Prior to Exchange 2007, only the logging database could be a SQL database.
Microsoft Exchange servers support POP, IMAP, MAPI and SMTP functionality.
Sendmail comes included free with most versions of Unix and Linux.
Sendmail is easily customizable, but is driven primarily from the command line.
Sendmail can provide enterprise-level 'mail exchange' functions; that is to say, it can function effectively as an enterprise's email platform or as a gateway to other email platforms.
Web components, similar to Outlook Web Access, can be provided in conjunction with Sendmail via other open source products such as squirrelmail – http://www.squirrelmail.org/.
For Sendmail, the sendmail.cf file is the primary Sendmail configuration file.