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How easy (or difficult) is it to implement an OpenFire server and Spark clients?

So as the thread title states, I’m looking for a little bit of information on how much of a hassle (or not) that it would be to implement something like Spark and OpenFire.

To give a little background, which may help. We have a small customer support department, about 6 people, who all communicate currently using MSN to share useful information and, we also use it to help each other out with issues where one person can’t figure it out.

Now we recently got hit my an IM worm, and our administrators have uninstalled MSN from our PC’s and we are now using a built in chat solution in our customer management application. To be honest the chat functionality in this application is very lacking. We cannot save our chats, or do group chats, or share files etc. etc.

Now i’ve been doing some looking around online for a corporate or business IM solution which I could pitch to my bosses, and I think cost and ease of use are most important for them when it comes to something like this.

I’ve found several commercial solutions which may be useful, but being a fan of open source, I thought i’d google “Open Source corporate IM” and first result I got was the old “WildFire” site which redirected here.

So any information would be useful, as I would love to see this application used here, as it would make all of our lives easier as tech support reps…

Thanks for any info!

Yarbo

Openfire sounds ideal for your situation. It’s very simple to install either on windows or *nix and easy to setup via a wizard style process. There is lots of documentation around for it and it has a large community behind it.

Once you have Openfire running, you’re not tied down to use Spark as your client. Any XMPP (Jabber) client will also work. Spark is definately a nice and easy option.

I’d say give it a go. It really doesn’t take very long to get it up and running.

and also important to mention is: try out the community version (openfire without the enterprise plugin) - that saves money and perhaps it meets your needs without the enterprise-plugin… if not …try out this plugin, afaik you can run it as a demo

I can attest to the fact that this is a good product to use for corporate chat. We have deployed it across our company. We have offices in several states. We are a windows environment here. I found it incredibly easy to setup Openfire and configure spark for oour staff. We have gone so far as to build custom versions of spark with our corporate logo and different Gateway icons. We configured Openfire and Spark to work with Single Sign On, and LDAP via Active Directory. I recently setup a new server for testing and it took me about 20 minutes in total to download install and configure. Management can not be easier in an LDAP environment. Lastly the development community is great for support, and the product is under very active development (more features and fixes faster). I have recently used my experience to help another user setup Openfire for his school.

Thanks a lot for all the information! This sounds like just the thing we need. Now I had spoken with the live chat on the jive software page, and their enterprise solution seems like overkill for what we would need here.

I have another question, if anyone can answer it. We require a few features, which the representative told me were only available in the enterprise solution. We need the ability to have chat logs, so that we can refer to them later and grab information that was exchanged via IM. We also need the ability to do group chats with many individuals.

Someone mentioned that we don’t need to use Spark with OpenFire, but rather can use any XMPP client. Are there any clients that would have this functionality built in? For example, we don’t need the chat logs saved on the server, but rather on each individuals PC, so it would seem like this would be something handled by the client as opposed to the server.

Thanks again for all the information!

I can not answer for other clients as I use Spark only with the Openfire server. That said my spark logs go back about 30 days on the local client computer. Group chat is a free service of Openfire. My file transfers take seconds for very large files. Opensource server logging is sketchy at best.

Personally I use Miranda IM which has great history management, especially with all the plugins available. If you do try Miranda, don’t be put off by it’s very plain look out of the box. Spend a few minutes going through the addons site and customising it. It can become a very powerful client with a bit of tweaking.

Miranda is a nice client, I however prefer spark because it forces all external gateways through the openfire server. This way I can manage who can use what protocols. This is important to us because we want to limit what people do at work when they should be working.

Thanks again for all of the info! I think this is all that I need to pitch this at our meeting on Friday!

Hi Yarbo,

In case you haven’t already come across them there are a couple of whitepapers available here that can be useful during your “sales pitch” to management.

Hope that helps,

Ryan

even if you said you don’t need it - the chat logs can be saved at the server with the open archive plugin (http://maven.reucon.com/projects/public/archive/) - this can be made additional to the logging of the chat-clients.

another client, that supports local-logging is psi, which i use: http://psi-im.org