I'm looking for a self-hosted groupware for a small team of 10 employees, so that workers can share agenda, emails and files.

The context

Currently, for file and agenda sharing, the team is using some remote desktop running on Windows Server 2008. Mail sharing is currently done through a common address. 12 computers (11 Windows and 1 Mac). About 3-4 computers in use at the same time.

The needs

Because of occasional interruptions of the remote server (failures, maintenance) and the uncomfort of remote sessions, the team wants its own server, that it can access physically. The users also would like some remote access to their mail, files, shared agenda so that they can work on the move.

I have lot of freedom for the suggestion of this new server: hardware, operating system, and softwares. The team is open to both commercial and open source solutions. This is a chance, but gives also more responsability doing the right choices.

The team plans using new email adresses. Existing messages will probably stay in Outlook mailboxes, unless migrated to some other solution.

The groupware solution, whichever paid or free, needs to be stable and relatively hassle-free for setup and maintenance.

Available software

I heard about:

  • Microsoft Exchange and Outlook
  • Lotus Domino and Notes (or iNotes)
  • Open source solutions like SoGo, Zimbar, Zarafa, OBM Groupware, and others.

Some presentation and discussion around open source solutions is available here (in French): https://philippe.scoffoni.net/7-solutions-open-source-pour-remplacer-exchange/

Amongst commercial solutions, there seem being a consensus on the web, that for the email client end users prefer tend to prefer Outlook to Lotus.

For administrators however, there seem however being more mitigated and controversial opinions. See for example http://itcomparison.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35&sid=b5f0be28be7d0adf708a83083bac8f3e&start=20 Some administrators seem to really appreciate Domino and find it a more "install me and forget me" solution than Exchange, requiring less maintenance (like applying updates). Some users also tell that Domino beats Sharepoint. One issue however is that it seems difficult to find recent comparisons.

  • Could it be you're looking for Kolab? Sounds like the perfect match. Not using it myself, but had it in mind once (was too big for a "personal edition" for me, so I've accumulated my own "lite" version of components it's using – but for a group like you it should be a good match). They also offer a business variant, just in case. screenshots (Google Image Search)
    – Izzy
    Nov 17, 2017 at 23:49
  • Or Mattermost, quite good for team work ?
    – Alain Reve
    Jul 16, 2022 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Old question, but the most obvious answer today would probably be NextCloud. An open source solution for hosting and syncing files, as well providing user calendars, contact list and a whole slew of addons including at least 2 open source web-based office solutions.

I've been using this for my family's need to a while now, and the development of this tool has been pretty amazing in the past few years.

Since the question is old, and was never answered back then, I'm guessing the need has either changed, but it also seems that you were looking for some sort of Microsoft Exchange replacement, so check out MailCow

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