When you need to purchase an enterprise fax server, AVT's RightFax is a safe and smart choice. If you upgrade to Version 7.0, your users will hardly notice, and therefore will need no additional training -- good news for administrators. Although the interface is largely unchanged, RightFax 7.0 offers a few time-and money-saving enhancements that administrators and IT budget watchdogs will appreciate.
If you don't need the integration with NetWare offered by competitor Tobit FaxWare or the broader hardware, platform, and client support offered by Omtool Fax Sr., AVT's RightFax is decidedly the fax-server software of choice.
The most obvious enhancement in this market-leading corporate fax server is the inclusion of IP Plus Connector, a direct connection to MediaLinq, AVT's IP fax network. It is installed with the RightFax server. With it, you can configure routing rules to take advantage of Internet transmissions in order to minimize telephone charges, which can quickly add up with mass faxes.
Also new is the Production Environment add-on. Companies that rely heavily on faxing mission-critical documents -- invoices, purchase orders, and so on -- can integrate Production Environment to enable faxing from mainframe, electronic data interchange, and enterprise resource planning applications, such as SAP and Oracle.
AVT has also bundled e-mail gateway support for SMTP/POP3, Lotus cc:Mail, Microsoft Mail, and Novell GroupWise into the basic product. Gateways for Microsoft Exchange/Outlook and Lotus Notes still cost extra, but they have been enhanced. Even though this version offers spiffed-up clients, the biggest changes are for administrators: The Notes gateway offers a single interface for managing Notes e-mail and fax users, as well as automatic synchronization of Notes with RightFax user accounts.
Other new features in RightFax 7.0 include stronger international character support and client support for the beta version of Microsoft Windows 2000.
Finally, RightFax 7.0 can use NT security authentication, thus eliminating the need for users to remember multiple passwords.
Taken together, these enhancements fill out what was already one of the premier enterprise fax servers. Although the server comes with a single fax-channel license, all versions of the RightFax 7.0 server (except the Business Server ) can be expanded to 1,024 channels.
This fax server also offers the kinds of administration tools and capabilities enterprise sites require. The Enterprise Fax Manager, for example, is a well-designed Windows application that can be used to centrally manage all RightFax servers on a network. It also makes it easy to configure least-cost routing, dialing rules, fail-over protection, and server workload balancing, all critical capabilities for busy enterprises.
RightFax is also flexible in handling incoming faxes. It lets you use direct inward dial, which uses a virtual phone number assigned to users; dual-tone multifrequency, in which the sender enters a routing code during transmission; channel routing, which routes depending on the line that the fax came in on; automatic number identification, which routes depending on the number that the fax was sent from; and caller station identifier code, which routes depending on the sending device's identification.
In addition, Version 7.0 adds optical character-recognition routing. RightFax will recognize the text in the incoming fax and route the fax according to specified keywords.
One of the few knocks on RightFax continues to be that it supports only two brands of fax boards: Brooktrout and GammaLink. Assuming you have a supported board properly installed, however, getting RightFax up and running is simple and quick.
AVT has clearly made a priority of keeping RightFax at the head of the pack, continuing to expand the program's reach throughout the enterprise and providing easier-to-use tools for the system administrator. And Version 7.0 is a natural upgrade for shops that want to cut costs with Internet faxing or need integration with host-based applications.
Patrick Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an InfoWorld contributing editor.
THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD
RightFax Enterprise Server 7.0
Summary: Integration with AVT's Internet fax service and optional tools for faxing from host-based applications head the list of enhancements. RightFax delivers the strongest package of enterprise fax tools for Microsoft Windows at a relatively low price.
Business Case: This version's integration with AVT's Internet fax service should significantly cut down transmission costs for faxing across area codes.
If you fax in heavy volumes, the optional Production Environment promises a rapid return on investment.
+ Highly expandable, modular design
+ Easy to use and administer
+ Strong integration with Windows
- Limited platform support
- Limited faxboard support
Cost: $8,995, RightFax Enterprise Suite 7.0; $3,995, Enterprise Server; $1,995, Business ServerPlatform(s): Windows NT Server; clients available for Windows and WebAVT Corp., Tucson, Ariz.; (520) 320-7000; www.rightfax.com