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Thread: Zimbra Multi-tennancy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
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    Default Zimbra Multi-tennancy

    Hi all - rookie question - we're an Exchange shop and are looking at Zimbra to solve some of the more typical issues running Exchange - doesn't support true multi-tenancy (single instance with multiple separate tenants), ties us to Active Directory where we'd prefer to use an open LDAP for authentication, cost to own/operate (more expensive physical infra, licensing and support), and inability to integrate tenants for free/busy and other platform components sharing while honoring separation of data and duties.

    I read that Zimbra supports true multi-tenancy but can't seem to find real specific use cases on how it actually works. Let's just say I'm a multi-national and each business unit must remain separate (which is why I have multiple Exchange Orgs today) - regulatory constraints mandate I maintain separation of data (mail databases) and duties (administrative control over each tenant). I'd like to setup a single instance in my central data center that all business units use, but the tenant data bases remain co-resident in the tenant countries. Does Zimbra support this? I'm not yet sure how routing would work - not sure I could have a central-based MTA architecture or whether each country would require their own MTAs.

    Anyone else doing this? Does Zimbra support this type of implementation? I'm assuming a multi-server solution, but essentially want to glue them all together into a single organization.

    Thanks all in advance - pretty excited to be looking at Zimbra to solve my Exchange issues!

    Physicsboy (Steve)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Minneapolis MN
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    Yes, Zimbra supports those requirements.

    Multi-tenancy means that you can set up multiple domains and they can be managed individually without seeing each other. You can still share data between the domains without an issue.

    Zimbra can run in multi-server set up. LDAP servers will have all data for all users (account information), but you can have multiple mailbox servers in different physical locations, and have the respective mailboxes located on those servers so the email is physically in the locations you want them to be on.

    You can have 1 or many MTA's with Zimbra. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a geolocation based DNS service to route mail to the closest MTA to the sender. But that may be over kill and not a requirement. But with the MTA's, they will look up in the LDAP directory to see which server the email needs to be sent to, and deliver it to that mailbox server. All mail and metadata for the user is stored on their mailbox server.
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