SmarterMail vs iMail Server

iMail Server is a scalable Windows Email Server that was designed specifically for small-to-medium businesses. It offers the features and functionality a business needs, including instant messaging, archiving, team collaboration, mobile and desktop synchronization as well as complete spam detection and antivirus capabilities.

iMail Server logo
  • Hacked Account Mail Regulator
  • Mobile Synchronization
  • Spam Filtering (add on)
  • Anti-Virus Protection (add on)
  • Collaboration - tasks, notes
  • Administration
  • Secure Instant Messaging
  • iMail Secure Archive
SmarterMail logo
  • Webmail Client
  • Calendaring and sharing
  • Tasks
  • Notes
  • File Storage
  • Team Chat (audio/video plus text chat between individuals)
  • Team Workspaces (audio/video conferencing, text messaging and file sharing for teams)
  • Spam and virus protection included (as opposed to via add-ons)
  • Web-based administration
  • Archiving of all incoming/outgoing email as well as live chat

Regarding the branding of features in iMail, the anti-virus and spam filtering mentioned use the Cyren add-ons. Administration is available via a console app as well as a web-based administration area. Secure Instant Messaging is essentially via a console-like chat app, and the iMail Secure Archive is just an archiving features similar to SmarterMail’s.

Mobile / Desktop Support

iMail Collaboration Interface

Outlook Support

iMail Server doesn’t specifically mention extensive support for Outlook. They do offer Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync licensing, saying it offers “[s]upport for all ActiveSync capable devices**”, but the meaning of the double asterisks is unclear. There is some limited capabilities when using EAS and older versions of Microsoft Outlook, but Microsoft has essentially stopped supporting EAS synchronization wiht Outlook, instead focusing its use for mobile clients.

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 the limited integration with EAS 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 assigned on a mailbox-by-mailbox basis.

MacOS Client Support

While iMail Server offers standard protocol support for MacOS clients with IMAP and POP3 protocols, 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. iMail, so far, has no plans to support EWS.

Other Desktop Clients

SmarterMail Webmail Interface

iMail Server does not specify any additional protocol support beyond the standard email protocols such as IMAP and POP, apart from EAS. SmarterMail, however, also support CardDAV and CalDAV for synchronizing contacts and calendars (respectively), protocols which are also supported by most standard desktop clients, as well as standalone calendar and contact apps, scheduling services, etc.

Mobile Client Support

Alongside IMAP and POP3 -- all of which can work with mobile email clients -- both Mailenable 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.)

Pricing

Pricing for on-premises licensing of iMail Server 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.

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.)

Technical Support

iMail Support Options

iMail Server offers an initial 60-day warranty after any purchase. During this time, license holders can contact support, via email or phone, without any additional charge.

After that initial 60 days, an Ipswitch Service Agreement is required. Pricing for this is only available by contacting Progress, the current owners of iMail Server. As a result, options and pricing are unavailable. That said, Progress does offer several free support options via their community and knowledge base.

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. 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. Finally, we also offer paid support options, such as installation and upgrade tickets, training, and 24/7 emergency support.

System Requirements

iMail Server

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2+
  • MDAC 2.8 SP1+
  • 2GHz Intel Xeon+ CPU
  • 16GB+ RAM
  • SSD

SmarterMail

  • Windows Server 2019+ 64-bit
  • NO Database
  • 1.5GHz – 3GHz CPU
  • 2GB – 16GB+ RAM
  • Separate OS and data drives – dedicated SAN + RAID configuration

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.

Current Development*

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.

iMail Server’s last release was version 12.5.8, released sometime in 2019. (Unfortunately, the release notes for iMail don’t provide release dates.) However, a post as of March 2022 states that version 12.6 will be released in Q2 of 2022.

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