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New to Spark

Hello Everyone,

I’ve browsed the site/forums a bit as I’m currently looking for an Intranet Messaging solution for the company I work with. It’s a small company with probably only 50-65 users on a daily basis.

I am relatively new to the IT world, and have never really jumped into the messaging side of things, but for what our company does I think this is an option we desperately need to look into. We waste too many resources making unanswered phone calls, and sending too many mass e-mails that waste everyones time - when a simple IM would fit the bill much better.

We’ve got an Exchange server with AD and I was wondering if Spark integrated with that at all? Is it even supposed to??

As you can tell I’m pretty new, but from what I’ve read/seen - I think that the Openfire/Spark combination would suit our business best as it has a lot of the easy to use functionalities that the bosses would like to see/have.

We’ve got some VERY VERY computer illiterate users, so I’m trying to find a solution that integrates with our current setup as easily as possible. Something that can possibly recognize who is logging onto the machine (if possible) and opening the appropriate messanger list. Or at the least, they will be able to login with their work e-mail/username and log onto the chat to see the others in the company.

Is this something Spark is designed to do? Or am I way off base in thinking that an Openfire/Spark combination would suit us well?

Is it fairly straightforward and easy to setup? I can work through read-me’s and instructions no problem, but if it requires a heavy knowledge of chat-type experience, I am not sure that I could fill that role…

Any advice, opinions, answers to my questions, and anything else would be appreciated!

In general i think Openfire/Spark is suiting you well. And then everything depends… on your needs, on your skills, resources, etc. I suggest to start some pilot project (5-10 users) and then present it to your bosses.

The easiest scenario is to install Openfire server on some of the computers, preferably a server, which is online all the time. Then create the accounts for the users from this “pilot team”. Install Spark client on users computers, give them account credentials so they would be able to login. They’ll be able to add each other to their contact list and chat. You can also create a group on the server (via Administration Console), add those users to this group, share this group to all users. Then everyone will see all users from this group automatically after the login.

You can also choose to integrate it with your AD userbase, so you won’t need to create accounts, just the groups. This could be tricky and require more IT and AD skills. Even more complex to achieve scenario is to setup Spark clients to login automaticall with you Windows domain user account credentials, so you don’t even have to put your username and password. This is called Single Sign On and this can be very complex.

Personally, i have almost no experience with 2 and 3 scenarios. We have the first scenario and it suits us very well.

Oh, your usernames in the first scenario shouldn’t be in a form of e-mail address. Keep it simpler, like jdoe, johndoe, etc.

Thanks for the input!

That pretty much answers/outlines some of my concerns/ideas that I had regarding Openfire/Spark. I appreciate the response!

I had thought that doing Single Sign On would probably be very difficult to achieve, but am happy to find out that it will/can integrate with AD.

Thanks a lot!