How much money has your organization already spent installing and upgrading Microsoft Exchange Server? And how much more are you willing to shell out to migrate to Exchange Server 2007, including upgrading your hardware to accommodate the 64-bit application? According to a survey conducted by Osterman Research, 66 percent of organizations considering a migration to Exchange 2007 are concerned with the cost. Other concerns include the complexity of migrating, the time involved, and the need to upgrade hardware.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Exchange, PostPath might be your answer. This Linux-based email and collaboration server runs on 32-bit architecture and can significantly reduce your costs associated with messaging.

According to the company, PostPath is the first third-party product to be truly natively compatible with Outlook and Exchange. PostPath looks just like Exchange Server on your network because it uses the same low-level (i.e., MAPI) protocols that Exchange and Outlook use to communicate. But PostPath goes beyond Exchange, providing very low-cost storage, high-availability disaster recovery, and fewer synchronization problems than Exchange, which operates on a database rather than a Linux file system.

PostPath can significantly reduce the cost of maintaining your email infrastructure, because it supports low-cost storage options. For example, you can put a group of users on a $1,500 server and attach a $3,000 4TB storage unit, rather than buy several new $10,000 servers.

PostPath doesn’t require you to change your existing infrastructure, nor do you need a dedicated administrator. You can install PostPath at a remote location, with no administrator, and have the server back up asynchronously over a low-bandwidth connection. And according to Scott Young, PostPath’s VP of marketing, users will never even know that you’ve switched their email system.

Scott also says that PostPath doesn’t “lock you into a particular environment \[or\] define what other applications you can use.” For example, the product supports open-source applications, standards-based SMTP, and even Ajax-based Web clients.

PostPath is geared toward large and mid-size Linux-friendly Windows shops. Scott says the product offers these organizations “the best of both worlds ... the ability to keep their existing desktops the same but then have a lower-cost, higher-performance back end.”

Although the product isn’t significantly cheaper than Exchange, it can prevent or at least delay your move to Exchange 2007—which is bound to save you money. And because according to PostPath’s research, 31% of organizations are still running Exchange Server 5.5, the company has developed a guide for moving directly from Exchange 5.5 to PostPath. A free 12-user license is available, so you can try the server (or even use it in a very small company). Version 2.0 is currently available, with version 3.0 due for release soon. For more information about PostPath, go to http://www.postpath.com.