September 28, 2004

Lycoris acquires Mitel SME Server spin-off

Author: Jason Prince

Lycoris has successfully concluded negotiations with Phoenix, AZ-based Resource Strategies, Inc. to take over the Contribs.org SME Server project. Contribs.org SME Server is the GPL-licensed offshoot of the now defunct Mitel SME Server, formerly known as the e-smith Server and Gateway, and Lycoris intends to release a new product based on SME technology under its own brand. SME Server was at one time popular with both small to medium businesses and IT consultants, and the resurrection of the platform as a supported solution by Lycoris
should please many small and medium enterprises worldwide. The press
release was posted on the Contribs.org Web site at
about 8 p.m. US Pacific Time on 27 September 2004."This
development is interesting because the e-smith/SME package was well
thought of in its time,” commented Stephen O’Grady,
Senior Analyst at RedMonk. O’Grady, who focuses on enterprise
application deployment, believes that the Contribs.org acquisition
will make Lycoris appealing to a smaller enterprises. “SME
Server would give Lycoris a workable desktop/server combination to
market to small-to-medium enterprises,” he said.

Designed
for small to medium sized enterprises, SME Server converts a standard
PC into an easy-to-use, powerful server that can handle all of a
company’s email and web-hosting needs. The product also
includes a secure firewall, a file- and print-server, an FTP server,
a proxy server, and more. SME Server uses a web-based administration
interface to make it easy for administrators to configure the server
without advanced technical knowledge. The former Mitel Networks
product also integrated a number of managed services, including
Virtual Private Networking (VPN) technology, antivirus scanning and
system monitoring, although Lycoris has yet to decide whether it will
be making similar services available.

Lycoris
intends to make a new commercially supported platform based on SME
Server available during October, allowing the Redmond, WA-based
vendor to provide customers with flexible network server solutions to
complement its existing desktop offerings.

Despite
the product’s promise, Lycoris’ small number of employees
and limited financial and development resources may cause SMEs to
steer clear of the company’s solutions for now, O’Grady
told NewsForge. “The difficulty with approaching SMEs is
that the SME play by definition is a volume play, with requisite
volume support issues,” he said.

The SME
Server platform has a chequered commercial history, and Lycoris is
the third company to assume control of the project. Originally
developed by Joe Morrison as a server distribution based
on Red Hat Linux, e-smith Server and Gateway was commercialised in
1999 when Morrison co-founded e-smith, Inc. Mitel Networks, an IP
telephony company based in Ontario, Canada, acquired e-smith in 2001,
and product was rebranded “Mitel SME Server”. However,
Mitel subsequently discontinued community-based development of the
product in November 2003, despite a mature and active community of
volunteers inherited from e-smith. A volunteer team coordinated by
Resource Strategies released an initial free version based on Mitel
code at the beginning of 2004, but has subsequently achieved little.

Rus Bayne,
Lycoris vice president of sales, says, "We're very excited to
be involved with this project. Lycoris is committed to our userbase,
and this will extend our software line into the server arena.”

------

Additional reporting on this story by Robin 'Roblimo' Miller.

A draft of the press release now showing at contribs.org was originally appended to this article, but was removed once the "official" version was posted -- and turned out to be substantively identical to the one we ran.

Category:

  • Enterprise Applications
Click Here!