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GroupWise vs. Outlook/Exchange

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Posted: 24 Apr 2007

A Forum reader recently (re)raised the GroupWise vs. Outlook debate, and we'd like to get your opinions on the subject - what are the advantages of one vs.the other, and what issues do administrators face with using and keeping GroupWise?

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"Well, the powers that be have asked me to make suggestions as to whether to upgrade to GroupWise 7 or Exchange. We are currently on GW6.5, and it is stable and most are OK with it. The problem is twofold:

1. We have finally started cracking down on people keeping tons of email. A lot of folks assume this is just a GroupWise issue and don't want to hear we would have space troubles on Outlook/Exchange if we allowed the hoarding to continue.

2. Everyone here is used to GroupWise, but with every new person we get we have to fight the "why aren't we on Outlook?" battle once again.

I like the stability offered by NetWare/GroupWise, but at times I think of just giving them the "wondrous" MS system they dream of and walking away. I have also thought that if we went to version 7, we could allow those who want to use Outlook to do so, but without any hands-on experience, I don't know how workable this is. Does anyone really use the Outlook connector for their day-in, day-out client?

Finally, I have been hearing about Bonsai being the answer to everything. If so, would it be irresponsible to suggest an upgrade to version 7 this summer, only to make them upgrade again in a year?"

Joe Marton

From what I have heard, Exchange has more issues with larger message stores than GroupWise does. People who *must* have Outlook can always run it with the connector against a GroupWise backend.

For starters, WebAccess is vastly improved in GW7 over GW65. Also, keep in mind that while Bonsai is slated to be released by the end of this year, that deadline could still slip by a couple of months - and even then, you probably don't want to upgrade to it as soon as it's released.

Try not to make too-high expectations for Bonsai, either. It sounds like there will be many *significant* improvements in Bonsai, but I don't know if I'd say that it will be "the answer to everything." Everyone's requirements for a messaging and collaboration system vary, so those requirements have to be considered along with what the messaging and collaboration system provides.

Don't forget that Exchange 2007 *requires* Windows 64-bit. If you don't have 64-bit servers, you'll need new hardware just to run Exchange, to say nothing of the fact that you'd have to do an across-the-wire migration as well. But if you go to GroupWise 7, chances are your hardware is fine if it's running GroupWise 6.5 without any issues. Plus, don't forget that if you use other Novell services, including eDirectory, you'll need to implement AD for Exchange and probably then DirXML to sync the two directories. Also keep in mind that Exchange is Windows-only, whereas GroupWise gives you the option of NetWare, Linux, or Windows.

Mary Matthews

Just a reminder: TCO for GroupWise is lower than Exchange, and I've never had to rip-and-replace for a GroupWise upgrade - but I have had to for Exchange.


I just went through the upgrade process at a hospital. Keeping GroupWise and upgrading to version 7 is much better from the $$ aspect and from the IT aspect (more reliable).

For people who use Outlook (or would like to), give them Outlook and use the GroupWise Outlook connector! It works fine, and they'll never know the difference.

Groupwise is a better solution from the security aspect as well. Exchange is the "leader" in security/stability problems.

Also, don't forget to mention GroupWise Mobile Server (GMS) as well as BlackBerry (free for up to 5 users).

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