I had a request to install and configure an instant messaging service for a couple of users who operated out of different buildings. After doing some research, I went with the Jabber/XMPP server called Wildfire. Most of the other servers I looked at seemed to require much more configuration than Wildfire. Wildfire also ran officially on Windows, which is a requirement for our more important services. It was installed and had basic functionally within just a few minutes.
LDAP configuration was easy to initially configure, but took some research to properly setup. I now have an Active Directory group that provides instant messaging access, and I can use other groups to automatically organize users so there is no need to manually manage contact lists. I also have disabled the users ability to add other users to their contact lists to keep user groups isolated.
To test the new service, I used the Spark client inside the Technology Center to see how it would work on a department scale. Everyone seemed to like it, but doubted the overal usefulness of an instant messaging service to a department with close physical proximity.
After seeing the service working well, I switched into deployment mode. I had to make the instant messaging service automatically deploy for users who needed it. The clients must automatically sign on or it doesn’t work. After doing more research, I rolled out the Pandion client to my department officially. I created a custom MSI with preconfigured settings and deployed using group policy.
Pandion includes the unique ability to use integrated Windows authentication. The client loads automatically on logon, and signs on automatically using the credentials of the users domain logon. Wildfire required a 3rd party patch to enable this functionality. Be aware that the patch I linked is only for version 3.0+ of Wildfire.
Soon after rolling out the client to my department, someone saw the client and really liked the idea of instant messaging. So last week I deployed it to another department. I have not received any feedback at this point so I don’t know how well it is going. I will post again once there has been enough time to do a proper review of instant messaging here.