Tom Adelstein, the founder of Bynari, says that Caldera's Volution Messaging Server is a replica of his Bynari Insight serverware. "They tried to buy the server application," he says. "Most of what they've done [with Messaging Server] is copy what they knew about ours. But we've gone way beyond what they're doing.""We maintain the native Microsoft protocols. Other people have gotten much of Outlook to work [with their Linux-based server products] but ours is a variety of Microsoft technology that we've implemented with different code."
Adelstein is talking about Bynari's Insight mail server, the companion product to the Insight mail client, the 2.6 version of which was released as a free product last week in anticipation of 3.0 release in early 2002. The server functions as a replacement for Microsoft's Exchange Server, a product many would call the business standard mail and messaging server. With Insight and other Linux-based mail server products, businesses switching to Linux could make the transition smoother because of the similarities and compatibility with Exchange.
Louis Imershein, product architect for Caldera's Volution Messaging Server, doesn't agree that Caldera's product is a copy of Bynari's. "Volution Messaging Server is the result of requests by our
resellers to provide a messaging solution. Initially, we looked outside Caldera for a solution, including Bynari." But, Imershein says, Bynari wasn't ready at the time with an appropriate server product. Imershein adds that he believes Caldera's focus is more on ease of use and simple, repeatable tasks than Bynari's Insight.
Adelstein is especially happy about Insight's ability to use Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) and remote procedure calls to create an environment that will allow Outlook users to connect to the Insight server just as though it were a Microsoft Exchange server. "We isolated how they do their stuff," and were able to duplicate it, says Adelstein. Bynari does not use Microsoft's MAPI protocol, but duplicates its function by building on DCE.
Server-side calendaring is another feature implemented through Bynari's Insight that, according to Adelstein, other companies haven't been able to match yet. "This is very important when it comes to migration," he says. "Companies that are transitioning to Linux can leave the user community in place" because the data resides on the server instead of on each individual desktop.
Adelstein says that Caldera hasn't been the only company to express interest in Bynari's technology. Last summer, recreation vehicle manufacturer Winnebago switched to Linux and Bynari Insight to provide email to its 1,000 employees, citing up to a 75% cost savings over upgrading to a Novell or Microsoft product.
Bynari was one of the first members of the IBM zSeries partnership program, an effort launched by IBM last summer to provide joint marketing opportunities and, as IBM team leader Joe Kirschner was quoted, "to
expand our reach and range of influencers in support of
Adelstein is proud of the fact that Bynari got started with no venture capital. "We started with the product and built from there." As the company grew, says Adelstein, two investors with experience in the field came in and helped out. "We first showed our product at LinuxWorld 2000 in New York City." Bynari shared a booth with MandrakeSoft.
And Bynari had its first "in the black" moment in August 2001, turning a profit in a time when other Linux-based businesses have struggled. But keeping things on the plus side remains a challenge. "Every time we turn around, we're having to develop something new," says Adelstein. "Everything is custom."
The company is working on a possible solution to satisfy customer desires for tweaks without having to reinvent the wheel every time -- a solution that is sounding increasingly familiar in Linux business circles. "Version 3 of Bynari Insight is due out in January 2002, and we'll supplement it with optional modular plugins."