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GroupWise 6.5 Technical White Paper

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 1 Apr 2004


Novell? GroupWise? is a secure, dynamic collaboration solution that offers both traditional and mobile users support for any communication over intranets, extranets and the Internet. GroupWise 6.5 is the premier communication and collaboration tool for the one Net environment with many industry-leading capabilities including:

  • Broad wireless support. GroupWise is the first integrated collaborative solution to provide wireless connectivity out-of-the-box. It has broad wireless support including support for Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Handheld Device Markup Language (HDML) and Palm* Web Clipping.

  • Fast and efficient performance. GroupWise ensures efficiency and fast performance with a variety of features. Disk space and message size management provide effective control of disk utilization. Multithreaded mailbox maintenance allows parallel processing for fast performance. GroupWise Smart Caching further speeds performance, especially for occasionally-connected users.

  • High availability. GroupWise offers a number of features that help ensure high reliability and availability. Online backup and restore provide protection without interrupting system operation. Remote mailbox backup and archiving permit fast recovery. What's more, the GroupWise client and agents are cluster aware, enabling the agents to run on Novell Cluster Services? and the clients to failover automatically from one server to another. Through clustering, organizations can achieve availability of up to 99.9 percent.

  • Tight security. GroupWise provides the highest level of security available. It supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS), Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension 3 (S/MIME 3) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). It supports some additional features of RFC 2554, the specification that defines the extension for SMTP authentication. In fact, as of the writing of this paper, there are no entries in the CERT/CC vulnerability database for GroupWise 6.5 and only two overall for GroupWise. Compare this to Microsoft Outlook*, which has 1,202 entries. (See 03/05/23/21TCgroupwise_1.html?s=tc)

  • Simplified management. GroupWise enables the administrator to monitor and manage the system from a Web browser. The administrator can configure GroupWise to issue simple network management protocol (SNMP) alerts, simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) e-mail alerts and Microsoft* SMS-enabled notification such as alarms to pagers and cell phones.

  • Document management. GroupWise enhances collaboration with document management features that include document sharing, version control and access control.

GroupWise 6.5 has added a number of advanced capabilities to GroupWise, including:

  • User productivity enhancing features such as integrated instant messaging, mobile collaboration, greater user control over information and enhanced tools to manage day-to-day workload.

  • Greater protection from threats through such features as secure instant messaging, and enhanced antivirus and anti-spam capabilities that integrate with industryleading solutions. In addition, GroupWise 6.5 can secure, with SSL, the entire transport chain, all the way from the sending GroupWise Client to the receiving GroupWise Client.

  • Enhanced access and control through the Trusted Application Technology that gives trusted third-party applications fully searchable access to the message store without requiring individual users' passwords. This enables improved management of stored data, permitting the information technology (IT) staff to respond immediately to legal crises and virus threats.

  • Enhanced administration tools and integration through standards to drive down the cost of system integration and management. The new features in GroupWise 6.5 that enable these enhanced capabilities are described in more detail later in this paper.

Now, GroupWise 6.5 for Linux brings GroupWise 6.5 to the Linux* operating environment, giving organizations the freedom to choose the platform that best fits their infrastructure. Best of all, GroupWise 6.5 for Linux includes the Linux, NetWare? and Windows* licenses for a single license fee, and that is the same fee previously paid for the NetWare or Windows version of the GroupWise license alone.

GroupWise 6.5 for Linux brings additional features to the GroupWise system, including:

  • Linux server agents that deliver the full functionality of GroupWise 6.5 running on Linux servers.

  • GroupWise Cross-Platform Client that runs on Linux and Mac OS* X platforms.

  • Support for Ximian Evolution? and Gaim clients to permit GroupWise to interoperate seamlessly with the most popular open source clients.

What's more, Novell has recently acquired SUSE? LINUX, making Novell the only vendor that sells and supports a world class Linux-based collaboration solution and also the underlying Linux operating system.

Now available on NetWare and Linux, GroupWise 6.5 helps make one Net—the Novell vision of a world without information boundaries— a reality.

System Overview

Figure 1. Representative GroupWise configuration. GroupWise consists of the following major components, each component is described individually in the remainder of this section:

? Domains
? Post offices
? Agents
? GroupWise WebAccess
? GroupWise Client

Each GroupWise system includes one or more domains, one of which is designated as the primary domain. Each domain contains the GroupWise user location database for the entire system. All domains hold sufficient information to communicate with their connected post offices and their post offices' associated users, as well as with other domains.

Post Offices
Each post office contains all the user database information for every user associated with that post office. For users not associated with a given post office, the domain contains sufficient information to locate those users within the GroupWise system.


GroupWise includes three agents:

Message Transfer Agent

One Message Transfer Agent (MTA) is required for each domain. The MTA is typically installed on the same server as the domain database. The MTA routes messages between the local domain and the associated post offices, between domains and to/from gateways installed in the local domain.

Post Office Agent

One Post Office Agent (POA) is required for each post office and is typically installed on the same server as the associated post office. The POA performs a variety of tasks including: deliver messages to user's mailboxes; connect users to their message store in client/server access mode; update post office databases; and index messages and documents.

GroupWise Internet Agent

The GroupWise Internet Agent (GWIA) allows communication over the Internet between GroupWise users and users of other messaging systems. It allows Internet mail access protocol (IMAP) and post office protocol (POP) systems to retrieve GroupWise mail. It also allows the sending/receiving of e-mail messages to/from other e-mail systems via SMTP.

GroupWise WebAccess
GroupWise WebAccess consists of two modules: the GroupWise WebAccess Application and the GroupWise WebAccess Agent.

WebAccess Application

The GroupWise WebAccess Application enables users to access their GroupWise mailboxes through any standard Internet browser. It also provides the foundation for GroupWise wireless connectivity. The application is installed on a Web server and can support multiple GroupWise WebAccess agents. The application uses a series of Java* templates to reformat GroupWise content for Internet browser devices or wireless devices that have limited bandwidth, smaller screen size and limited browser capabilities (no frames or JavaScript*).

WebAccess Agent

The GroupWise WebAccess Agent provides communication between the GroupWise WebAccess Application and domains/post offices. The agent can be installed on the same server as the GroupWise WebAccess Application or on a separate server.

GroupWise Monitor

GroupWise Monitor permits monitoring and management of GroupWise agents and gateways from any Web browser. The GroupWise Monitor consists of two modules: the GroupWise Monitor Application that is installed on a Web server and the GroupWise Monitor Agent that can be installed on the same server as the GroupWise Monitor Application or on a different server. (The GroupWise Monitor Agent runs only on Windows machines. The GroupWise Monitor Application can run on Windows, NetWare and Linux machines.)

Novell eDirectory

GroupWise integrates with Novell eDirectory?, permitting administration of GroupWise from a single point to simplify management. eDirectory is the identity foundation that links users and their access rights with corporate resources, devices and security policies. Among directory services, eDirectory is uniquely capable of meeting the demands of large-scale, high-end directory deployments. It offers the compatibility, security, reliability, scalability and manageability required for internal and Internet deployments supporting millions of identities.

GroupWise Windows Client

The GroupWise Windows Client enables users to take advantage of all the advanced features of GroupWise 6.5 regardless of whether the GroupWise 6.5 backend is running on NetWare, Windows or Linux. Users can continue to use their current standards-based e-mail clients, however, if they so choose.

New and Enhanced Features in GroupWise 6.5

GroupWise 6.5 enhances GroupWise with a number of additional capabilities that are described individually in the remainder of this section.

Mobile Support

GroupWise 6.5 enhances GroupWise wireless support with extended support for mobile devices. GroupWise partners have teamed up with Novell to provide a growing range of mobile support options for GroupWise users, including:

  • Support for Palm and PocketPC. Nexic offers GroupWise-specific clients for the Palm OS* and the Pocket PC. Toffa International and Puma Technology offer traditional synchronization solutions. Notify Technology offers cradle and over-the-air synchronization for a wide variety of handheld devices.

  • Support for two-way access to BlackBerry* devices from Research In Motion Limited (RIM) and to Synch ML devices. Omni-TS, Consilient and NotifyLink offer solutions for connecting RIM devices into GroupWise. NotifyLink, for example, provides the ability to synch any handheld device through wireless phone carriers. In addition, Toffa offers its Synch ML gateway for GroupWise that allows devices such as the new Nokia* and Ericsson* phones to synchronize with GroupWise.

With this enhanced mobile support, users who are not at their desks can still receive and respond to electronic communication as well as access and manage their information.

Instant Messaging

GroupWise 6.5 includes a secure, open standardsbased and policy-based instant messaging system that allows employees to communicate in real-time, permitting faster decision making while protecting information behind the firewall. Employees can determine personal availability, and communicate— all behind the safety of the corporate firewall. Because actual user names are displayed instead of nicknames, users can determine each other's true identity so they know exactly with whom they are communicating. GroupWise 6.5 also enables an organization to extend instant messaging securely beyond the firewall using SSL. Administrators can set policies to log instant messaging communications system-wide, by individual users, or by multiple users, simplifying management and control.

GroupWise Data Exposure

GroupWise 6.5 takes a major step in the future direction of GroupWise—to expose GroupWise data using open standards. GroupWise 6.5 permits administrators and third-party products to access the GroupWise backend using open standards such as IMAP 4. This permits integration of GroupWise with current and future systems based on open standards, enabling IT managers to architect their systems to accommodate current needs and future integration.

GroupWise 6.5 includes a Trusted Agent Application definition and a Trusted Agent application programming interface (API) that permit trusted applications to access the GroupWise message store without having to authenticate to each individual user mailbox. Working with Novell partner products such as GWAVA, for example, administrators can query the message store quickly and efficiently. Trusted applications can dredge the e-mail message store looking for criteria such as specific words, phrases or attachment types, and quickly find all stored e-mail messages relating to legally sensitive topics.

LDAP Pooling

Using LDAP, GroupWise 6.5 permits the use of a single password to access all network services, including GroupWise services. LDAP pooling allows users to authenticate from a pool of LDAP servers. If one server is down, GroupWise seeks to authenticate from the next available server in a round-robin manner. The redundancy of resources provided by LDAP pooling enables organizations to take advantage of the high security of LDAP authentication without sacrificing availability or scalability. In addition, LDAP pooling permits load balancing across pooled servers to enhance performance.

Enhanced Anti-virus

Using Trusted Application technology, GroupWise 6.5 can make the entire message store available to antivirus software, allowing the software to search the message store for new and previously undetected viruses. This provides a way to clean the entire system of viruses even if there is a new class of virus that was initially able to make it past the e-mail virus-scanning engine and into the message store.

Enhanced Spam Filtering

GroupWise 6.5 provides several layers of tools for filtering spam from the system, offering administrators and users a variety of options that can satisfy the needs of even the most diverse organization.

The GroupWise Internet Agent can subscribe to Real-time Blackhole Lists (RBL), allowing administrators to block spam based on known sources of spammers. GroupWise 6.5 also integrates with Novell partner spam blocker products that protect incoming traffic at the border. Partner products such as GWAVA*, IronMail* and MimeSweeper* can filter e-mail before it enters the system, based on such criteria as origination DNS, word triggers and attachment extensions.

In addition, GroupWise 6.5 provides client controls that allow users to set their own level of anti-spam controls. Users that insist on higher levels of protection than company policies provide can set their own personal settings higher at the client level, based on a variety of criteria. Client control enables a company to set an effective anti-spam policy and still give employees the ability to set their own thresholds higher if they choose.

User Move Status Utility

GroupWise 6.5 provides a User Move Status utility that enables administrators to track the status of accounts being moved between post offices.

The utility reports the status of each phase of the user move. If a failure occurs during the move, the administrator can restart the last phase of the move, or if desired, restart the entire move process. The administrator can also terminate an in-progress move if necessary. The administrator can configure the utility to filter status tracking information by domain.

Account Recovery Utility

The Account Recovery utility enables GroupWise administrators to recover user or resource accounts that have been inadvertently deleted from the system. Once the account has been recovered, the administrator can use the Backup/Restore Mailbox utility to restore the contents of the account mailbox from the backup system.

Free-form Internet Addressing

In addition to the formats allowed by previous versions of GroupWise, GroupWise 6.5 allows the administrator to enter a free-format user address that can be any alphanumeric string. Additionally, GroupWise 6.5 alerts administrators if a new user being added would be assigned the same e-mail address as another user already on the system and permits the administrator to employ a different format for the new user to avoid address duplication. These new features permit administrators to take advantage of the efficiencies of automatic addressing formats and still circumvent these formats when new employee names would result in the creation of duplicate e-mail addresses.

GroupWise 6.5 also contains a new set of "disallow" bits so that administrators can easily disable address formats that they do not want or that could result in address collisions or ambiguity.

Enhanced User and System Activity Monitoring

The interfaces of the GroupWise Monitor Agent and GroupWise Monitor Web console have been considerably improved. One important new feature is the ability to divide GroupWise agents into logical groups for monitoring, and set thresholds and options by group. For example, the administrator can place all the GroupWise agents running on machines in the U.S. in a group called "USA" and set thresholds and options for that group. Previously, the administrator could only set thresholds and options for the entire list of agents.

Another new Monitor feature is the ability to suspend/resume the polling of GroupWise agents. Using this feature, the administrator can suppress unnecessary notifications, such as those generated during planned and known outages.

Enhanced User Interface

The GroupWise 6.5 client includes an enhanced, usertested interface that enables users to accomplish familiar tasks more easily, reducing training and support requirements. Menus, screens and icons are easy-to-use, look familiar and are placed where users intuitively expect to find them.

The GroupWise 6.5 client allows users to divide their messages into color-coded categories, making it easier to identify and sort information. Categorization enables users to organize and search the information in their e-mail boxes to quickly find what they need, and only what they need.

The client also includes the capability to present a checklist view in the user's main mailbox. Any item that the user drags into the GroupWise 6.5 Checklist folder immediately acquires check-box task properties, including a check box. The checklist view permits users to determine at-a-glance what items have been completed and what items are still pending.

In addition, GroupWise 6.5 permits users to add their own heading to the subject of any received message for greater clarity—without changing the original subject. So if the user later replies to the message, it will go out with the original subject intact.

Contact Management

The GroupWise 6.5 client now provides basic contact management features, allowing users to track contacts more easily. Users can record their contact history and custom contact information, and annotate and categorize their contacts. Users can also insert user-defined fields to be included with contact information. The GroupWise 6.5 client also provides new and clearer printed formats for contact information.

With the enhanced contact management features of the GroupWise 6.5 client, users can manage their day-to-day workloads better, right from where workload usually begins—their e-mail boxes.

Enhanced WebAccess

GroupWise 6.5 provides a number of enhancements to GroupWise WebAccess, enabling users to communicate more effectively whether they are in the office or on the road. The new capabilities include:

  • Apache Web Server support. WebAccess now supports the Apache Web Server for NetWare on Novell NetWare 6.5 and on Linux.

  • Single Sign-On (Trusted Server) support. The GroupWise WebAccess Application can be configured to support Single Sign-On on trusted servers.

  • Document viewing and opening options. GroupWise WebAccess can be configured to allow users to open documents in their native applications without first saving them to the local drive.

  • SSL connections between the WebAccess Agent and Post Offices. Secures the connection between the WebAccess Agent and Post Offices.

  • Session cookie support on a per-templateset basis. Session cookies tie the session to a particular browser and ensure that the WebAccess Application will accept session requests only from that browser.

  • WebAccess data caching on a per-templateset basis. The GroupWise WebAccess Application can be configured to enable or disable caching of WebAccess data on proxy servers.

  • Send options. Users can specify Classification, Priority, Reply Requested, and Return Notification options on sent items.

  • Find. Users can do a full-text search on the items in their boxes. They can search the From or To/CC fields. They can also select the item types they want to search, the Item Source and the folders they want to search.

  • Enhanced Item Properties. Users can obtain more information on items in their mailbox.
New Features in GroupWise 6.5 for Linux

GroupWise 6.5 for Linux brings the capabilities of GroupWise 6.5 to the Linux environment.

Availability of All GroupWise Agents for Linux

Novell has ported, in totality, the GroupWise Message Transfer Agent, Post Office Agent, GroupWise Internet Agent and the WebAccess Agent to Linux. The GroupWise 6.5 agents running on Linux servers deliver all the functionality of GroupWise 6.5 agents running on NetWare and Windows. What's more, Linux agents are fully interoperable with agents running on NetWare and Windows.

GroupWise ConsoleOne Snap-ins

The GroupWise ConsoleOne? snap-ins now run on Linux as well as Windows. The Linux snap-ins deliver nearly all the functionality of the Windows snap-ins with the exception of document properties management and import/export management.

GroupWise Cross-platform Client

The new GroupWise Cross-Platform Client is a groupware client wrapped in a Java interface. It supports both Linux and Macintosh* OS X. The client interoperates natively with the GroupWise post office and supports online and offline mode (via caching).

Initially, the GroupWise Cross-Platform Client will have most but not all the functionality of the GroupWise Windows client. Novell intends to continually evolve the cross platform client to full feature parity with the Windows client.

Ximian Evolution Support

GroupWise 6.5 for Linux includes protocols that will allow Ximian Evolution to talk natively to the GroupWise post office for such features as e-mail, calendar, address book access, proxy access and many other higher-level features. The protocols support full feature parity of Ximian Evolution with the GroupWise Windows client.

Gaim Plus-in for GroupWise

The development of a Gaim plug-in for GroupWise will soon commence as an open source project under the overall Gaim project. The plug-in will allow Gaim to communicate with GroupWise Messenger.


GroupWise—available on NetWare, Windows and Linux—is based on an advanced architecture that delivers a number of industry-leading features, including fast performance, high availability, tight security, a high level of scalability and ease of management. GroupWise 6.5 significantly enhances these already extensive capabilities with features that help boost user productivity, provide increased protection from viruses and spam, simplify administration and facilitate integration with third-party products. GroupWise 6.5 for Linux brings the power of GroupWise to the Linux environment.

Customers can access information on partner products for GroupWise 6.5 at groupwise/partners. These products include utilities that simplify migration to GroupWise from other collaboration solutions. Organizations can put these capabilities and tools to work for them with a simple and cost-effective upgrade or migration to GroupWise 6.5 from other solutions.

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