Scott Caldarelli returns to continue his discussion of the advantages of the inexpensive Mac Mini Server for your office.
In Mac mini server and how it can provide useful services for your organization. I talked about the built in services that are included from Apple. While they are not bad, there are alternatives to use on the mini server to gain more powerful features.of my review, I talked about the
Apple provides you with iCal Server to manage your organization’s multiple calendars. You can delegate others to modify your calendars and read other calendars.
AddressBook Server provided with Snow Leopard Server is OK, and can be cajoled into working, but it is not full featured or as robust as some other solutions. It also does not allow for fine grained control of contacts, so essentially you have to create one shared account for everyone, which is inconvenient at best and can end up with someone making a mistake and deleting something on the calendar or within the address book.
As I stated, there are other products to use on the Mac mini server to share contacts and calendars. The first product I’ll talk about is Kerio Connect by Kerio Technologies, Inc. Those of you who’ve worked in Windows-centric offices have undoubtedly come in contact with . Kerio likes to market Connect as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange. Kerio Connect provides the same types of functionality as Exchange. It can handle email, calendaring and contacts for collaboration and sharing similarly to Exchange.
Kerio Connect installs on the Mac mini server just like any other application on your Mac. When it’s done, it’ll ask you a few questions about how to connect to the server. All of the settings are taken care of right in the browser, either on the server, or from another computer right on your local network. To the right is a screen shot of the main settings window when connected to Kerio’s admin console.
Kerio can handle calendaring through the CalDAV and iCal protocols. iCal is a protocol standard as well as the name of Apple’s Calendaring application. If you are using Apple’s iCal, Connect provides for syncing of calendars, to do lists, delegation, providing free or busy info for other Kerio users in your organization, availability settings, and private events.
Similarly, the contacts in Connect can be individual, but shared with others. Kerio Connect also provides for a Global Contact List, so you can have everyone within your organization in your contacts once they’re added as a user in Connect.
The best part of Kerio Connect is the synchronization. Not only can you sync up to all the Mac laptops and desktops everyone is using in your organization, but your Windows machines as well as your BlackBerry devices, iPhones and other smartphone devices can be connected as well. Kerio Connect server will also run on a Windows Server if that’s what you have in your organization already.
There are other methods to share contacts and calendars from a Mac mini server, and I’ll continue this discussion next time.
Guest blogger Scott Caldarelli writes frequently about technology and IT consultation at scottcaldarelliconsulting.com.