Four Ways Novell GroupWise 2014 Beats the Competition

Novell® GroupWise® 2014 is now available. We'’ve covered many of the new features in GroupWise 2014 in previous issues, including the improved administrator experience and the new, sleeker look and feel of the GroupWise client. Now we’'d like to talk about how GroupWise 2014 compares to its competition.

If you’'re a Novell GroupWise fan you won'’t be surprised to learn that GroupWise 2014 continues to offer more functionality than its competitors as shown in the table below.

GroupWise   Gmail Office 365 Outlook/Exchange Zimbra
Coexistence with Competing Platforms Yes, with Exchange
No No
No No
Robust Message Tracking and Silent Retraction Yes No No No Limited tracking only
Platform and Directory Flexibility Yes No directory choice Supports Microsoft options only Supports Microsoft options only Only Linux platforms and Active Directory
Broad Support for Mobile Devices Yes Additional cost for anything other than IMAP Yes Yes With Professional edition
An Integrated Home View Yes No Limited No Limited


With mergers and acquisitions a common part of corporate life, email systems need to work together. GroupWise offers coexistence with Exchange, allowing you to not only exchange emails, but to busy search your colleagues in other parts of the organisation (see figure 1).  In addition, with coexistence, all of your corporation’s users can be found in the corporate address book.

You can'’t do the same if you have Gmail or Zimbra. If you have Office 365 or Exchange you had better hope anyone who joins your organisation through a merger or acquisition is using GroupWise and not a competing product.

Figure 1: GW Co-existence with MS-Exchange supports free-busy search

Message Tracking and Retraction

When you send an email or appointment in Novell GroupWise, it lets you discreetly see who has opened, replied, forwarded, accepted, declined or deleted it. Exchange and Office 365 depend on receipt requests, which the recipient can choose to turn on or off and which are hard to manage. Gmail doesn'’t offer message tracking, and Zimbra offers only a few, limited tracking options.

Whether you sent the wrong information, sent it at the wrong time, or sent it to the wrong person, Novell GroupWise provides a robust silent retraction capability, which makes unopened emails, appointments, notes or tasks vanish. Exchange can retract messages, but the recipient will see that a message was sent, along with the subject line of the message. Gmail, Office 365 and Zimbra do not offer message retraction.

Platform and Directory Flexibility

The modern IT environment is a mixed one. GroupWise works with the server operating system you prefer: Novell Open Enterprise Server, Windows or Linux. There is no platform choice for Office 365 and Gmail —that'’s the tradeoff: you don'’t have to worry about servers, but you don'’t have any control over them either. Exchange works on Windows servers alone, and Zimbra only runs on Linux.

When it comes to directory flexibility, the story is largely the same. GroupWise can use either NetIQ eDirectory or Active Directory, or run without a directory. Gmail doesn'’t work with existing directories although Google will sell you limited identity management features if you’'re willing to pay. Office 365, Exchange and Zimbra work only with Active Directory.

Broad Support for Mobile Devices

If your email can'’t support a broad base of mobile devices, can it keep up with today’'s increasingly mobile world? GroupWise 2014 works on the mobile devices your employees use, including Android and iOS devices.

While Office 365 and Exchange can compare, you'’ll have to pay more if you want anything other than IMAP support on devices with Gmail, and you'’ll have to upgrade to the professional version if you want mobile support with Zimbra.

An Integrated Home View

The GroupWise home view offers calendars, tasks and email in one place, but it offers much more than that. It’s customisable, just like a home should be; letting users create the view they need to be most productive. Users can add contacts and panels that point to RSS feeds, query folders, documents and any URL. This endless flexibility allows users to create as many customised dashboards as they need to manage their information flow, projects or data. Each home view can have as many panels as a user wants and each panel can have its own content and display settings (see example in figure 2).

Figure 2: The Integrated Home View in GroupWise

Exchange and Gmail don'’t offer home views at all. Zimbra'’s home view is limited compared to GroupWise, and with Office 365 you have to choose from pre-built templates. If you don'’t like the way the template arranges your home view, you'’ll need programming or developer knowledge to customise it.


Whether you'’re a long-time GroupWise user or looking at becoming one, the ability to do all the above at a total cost of ownership that is comparable to or often better than the competition means choosing the email platform for your future should be easy. After all, Novell GroupWise also offers one of the most reliable and secure email platforms available; it'’s easy to administer and it helps you maintain control of your data by keeping it on-premises. As we at Novell have been saying: It’'s GroupWise 2014, and it gets things done.

(This article first appeared in Open Horizons Magazine, Issue 25, p17-18, April 2014)

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