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There is increasing interest in my company for an internal IM implementation. What commercial or OSS products are currently available?

  • are they easy to setup?
  • does they have proprietary clients?
  • any pitfalls that I should be aware of (exponential increase in network traffic)?

It would be nice to hear from people who have actually deployed this technology

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Could you use a more descriptive title for your question? –  Aron Rotteveel Apr 30 '09 at 9:21

8 Answers 8

up vote 13 down vote accepted

OpenFire is a great XMPP Server. Fast, stable, wide community support with lots of extensions, both commercial and OSS.

Not to mention, integrates with LDAP-based systems, even with Active Directory, so no separate logins are necessary.

Used it, even modified its source to add some features very specific to one project I were in (in short, moderated q&a chat rooms feature with a java applet ;) ).

As some XMPP client apps support NTLM, users don't have to set up any passwords there so no problems with the policies requiring periodic password changes.

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We use Openfire for around 400 users. As the answer above states you can setup SSO using Kerberos with AD. Providing your client supports Kerberos auth you get a cross platform single-sign-on solution. –  grantc May 1 '09 at 9:40

If you're already on the Microsoft stack (specifically Exchange) then Office Communications Server is a good choice for internal IM. It can talk to external clients but that's an extra cost (a per-user, per-month cost I believe).

OCS also supports voice comms and can seamlessly switch between text and voice, although I've not personally had experience with the voice aspect of it.

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+1. Hands down my favorite product from Microsoft. Be forewarned: it can be a bear to setup, but once you do you'll never look back. –  Portman May 1 '09 at 13:40
    
Also, you get to use this phone, which is pure awesome: windowsfordevices.com/files/misc/polycom_cx700.jpg –  Portman May 1 '09 at 13:41

I'd say go with some implementation of XMPP. There are clients for every OS under the sun (both free and commercial), and it can also hook up with public servers, Google Talk for one.

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The one that I finally settled on was ejabberd.

It's XMPP, so there are a lot of clients available (we use Pidgin). It's easy to install (it's a standard package in most Linux distros) and easy to set up (it has a simple web interface). It also supposedly scales much larger than any of the other ones, if that is a concern.

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We happen to be using Lotus Notes for our email server and client and have just activated their SameTime product after seeing it during a demo.

We are very tentatively taking our first steps into Corporate IM but because it links to our calendars I think it has a good chance of being successful.

Of course you need to have the Lotus products - a server and clients but if you have that anyway then the set-up was minimal!

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For strictly IM, then (as others have said), some form of XMPP would probably be best.

If your organisation is interested in exploring alternatives, you could try Laconica, which is like having your own little Twitter (which could be completely internal). Not exactly IM, but depending on the needs that IM is meant to fill, it might be just as suitable (or might not - again, depends on what you're after). Pretty simple to deploy (and free).

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I recommend PinkNotes Plus. It is a Windows based server/client IM product that is completely internal, designed for a business environment, and very easy to setup/use.

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IRC might be an idea. There's dozens of servers and hundreds of clients. The servers scale to thousands of users and offers a clustering approach. You can use chatrooms (channels) or private messages. There's also plenty of bots written for IRC to offer functions like factoids. You might even find one for helpdesk databases.

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