Icewarp provides a suite of services, both as an on-premises install as well as a hosted service. It offers email and collaboration features, as well as Outlook Sync, which mimics many of the features found with Outlook when connected to Exchange. Team Chat, video conferencing, file sync and more are also available.
Features in IceWarp such as video/audio conferencing, and mobile device synchronization are extra. It’s also possible to purchase additional antispam and antivirus for your server. These are reflected in the infographic. SmarterTools also offers additional synchronization options for mobile and desktop, as well as additional antispam and antivirus options. These are reflected in the infographic.
Where the two products diverge is in their client support. IceWarp offers their own branded clients for Windows and MacOS, which connect and sync to IceWarp and offer a number of collaboration features similar to other, more popular desktop clients. SmarterTools does not have a branded email client, and instead is built to integrate with existing clients such as Microsoft Outlook, eM Client, Spark, Apple Mail and more. Rather than build our own client and force customers to use that in order to get a full collaboration experience, SmarterMail offers that via the email clients users actually prefer.
IceWarp offers a product called “Outlook Sync” which is an Outlook plug-in that offers “emails, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes” integration between Outlook and IceWarp, and has some of the features available when connecting Outlook to an Exchange server. (E.g., color Category synchronization.) However, this is another piece of software that's required in order to get any level of synchronization and collaboration wiht Outlook.
SmarterMail offers server-side support for Outlook via the Microsoft MAPI protocol. SmarterMail is, in fact, the only other email and collaboration server outside of Exchange that offers this level of integration between Outlook and a mail server. It goes beyond color Category synchronization and offers features such as distribution lists, sending “On Behalf of” and other enterprise-level features users rely on when using Outlook with Exchange. MAPI is also licensed on a per-server basis and can be managed by system or domain administrators, and on a mailbox-by-mailbox basis.
While Icewarp offers a standalone MacOS client, for other MacOS email, calendar and contact apps, they only support standard protocols such as IMAP and POP3. SmarterMail supports the Microsoft Exchange Web Services (EWS) protocol. This is the protocol used by Mac clients such as Apple Mail and Outlook for Mac, as well as eM Client for Windows. EWS brings a very high level of integration between SmarterMail and these clients and provides users with increased functionality compared to connecting via more traditional methods, such as via IMAP. IceWarp, so far, has no plans to support EWS.
Both products support standard email protocols such as IMAP and POP3. These protocols work in any email client available, though without some of the more functional components like sharing of collaboration items. (E.g., sharing calendars.) In addition, SmarterMail supports CardDAV and CalDAV for synchronizing contacts and calendars (respectively), which are also supported by most standard desktop clients, as well as standalone calendar and contact apps, scheduling services, etc.
Alongside IMAP and POP3 -- all of which can work with mobile email clients -- both Icewar and SmarterMail support EAS, which is the best mobile synchronization method available for mobile. Using EAS, users can get virtually the same experience on their mobile devices they do with desktop clients. EAS is also used by the standard Windows Mail client, as well as the Windows Calendar and People apps. SmarterMail also supports CalDAV and CardDAV for syncing calendars and contacts with mobile devices. (NOTE: Some Android clients will require third-party add-ons in order to support CalDAV and CardDAV. iOS devices support it natively.)
NOTE: IceWarp offers additional features and applications that can be used in conjunction with their mail server product. As one would expect, these features and products, especially for on-premises installations, add to the overall cost of the product, as well as increasing the capabilities of their products. These additions were not quoted to keep the comparison as close to one-to-one as possible.
While IceWarp offers pricing for their hosted platform, pricing for on-premises licensing requires you to contact them. The pricing detailed in the infographic was for 250 users and includes antispam and antivirus costs as well as pricing for Exchange ActiveSync for 250 accounts. (It does not include pricing for Conferences, Documents, or the Desktop and Desktop Client.)
At SmarterTools, we believe in providing fully transparent pricing to anyone who is interested, and we do this for all our products. Using our Pricing Page, any potential customer can see, up front, what their initial cost would be. They can also calculate any future costs as we’re transparent about the annual renewal of Maintenance and Support. (ICYMI: Renewals offer a 60% discount off the retail cost of any SmarterTools license – add-ons are already the lowest negotiated price with our vendors.)
IceWarp offers multiple tiers of paid technical support. As with their product licensing, the cost for any plan requires you to contact them.
Each tier offers a level of service and response time, starting at 5 hours for their Bronze package, and down to 1 hour for their Platinum package. In addition, higher-level tiers do offer some perks, such as “consulting”, which is a call or remote assistance from an “IceWarp engineer”. Other services include training for administrators and/or users, SSL installation, server health checks, server upgrades and more.
As for SmarterTools, any customer with active Maintenance and Support receives FREE technical support, and you only interact with “SmarterTools engineers”. That is, the people in our support department are all highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable network and server administrators who know the ins-and-outs of the Windows environment, not to mention the how’s and why’s of SmarterMail. Our SLA for technical support is 4 hours, and we consistently beat that metric. We also offer paid support options, such as installation and upgrade tickets, training, and 24/7 emergency support. Our SLA for emergency support is 1 hour, which is also a metric that is consistently surpassed. In addition, SmarterTools has an extensive knowledgebase for all of our products and an extremely active customer Community where customers work together to solve issues alongside SmarterTools employees.
Generally, the hardware requirements for a mail server will focus on using enterprise-level SSDs as mail servers are dependent on input/output (i/o) and are extremely write-intensive. Therefore, having fast, sturdy drives is strongly recommended by any mail server vendor. CPU and RAM requirements are dependent on the number of mailboxes and the types of mail services being offered, as well as the amount of traffic the mail server receives.
Where SmarterMail differentiates itself is in its file structure and the lack of a database requirement. SmarterMail was not architected to use a database for storage. As a result, there’s no need for any additional software or hardware, such as MySQL or Microsoft SQL, and the potential for additional hardware and licensing these may require.
Tracking releases of a product is a very good indicator of whether the product is still being supported by the developers. If a product lacks releases, or if releases are sporadic, that can indicate that the company offering the product is less invested in its success and continued viability, whereas active development shows a continued interest in the product and its success and continued support.
IceWarp has released 7 versions of their product in 2022. These releases cover their core mail server product as well as add-on such as their desktop clients, Outlook Sync, and more.
SmarterTools has released 4 versions of SmarterMail in 2022 alone. We strive for at least one release per month, regardless of the number of changes, fixes, and updates available. Some releases are larger than others, but one release per month is our goal.
*As of March 2022