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Thread: Is Zimbra the right tool for us?!

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Smile Is Zimbra the right tool for us?!


    Currently we're using Tobit David-zehn here as an eMail- and fax-server. But since David lacks some features and the price for an update to the fx version is horrible I'm thinking about switching over to another solution - maybe Zimbra. Here are some needs and some questions and I'd be happy if one or several users with Zimbra exp. would answear them....

    What I want & need:

    - Install Zimbra locally in our office, probably OSX server or Debian.

    - receiving & sending eMails via our database-center-server, receiving via pop3 out master-catch-all account there and sending of course simple smtp connection to the datacenter.

    - Use Zimbra as a central station to store all the users eMails! Server-Client structure like Tobit or Exchange.

    - Use Outlook 2003 on windows client machines and Apple on our osx client machines.

    - Use the os build in calender apps to have personal & group calenders (outlook & iCal)

    - Sync our iPhones with Zimbra: eMails, contacts, calendars. Ideal solution would be OTA syncing - LAN & internet (VPN...)

    - good anti-spam / av solution (the current tobit one works really nearly perfect)


    Questions - more or less connected to these needs:

    - With the outlook synchronisation - does this work like the Tobit or Exchange solution? Messages are stored centralized on the server - clients only accessing them. So if people are changing the client pc they can login & use their mailbox seamlessly from every pc.

    - How does the Active Directory thing works? With Tobit every user is created and linked to the AD profile.

    - ATM Tobit is our fax solution as well: A special fax printer is installed and when printing anything to that printer a new tobit window opens where you can enter the receiver number. Then the server sends the fax via the 2 build in ISDN cards... same works for incoming faxes: The server accepts faxes and distributes them to the users mailboxes.

    - Interacting with Avaya ACM solution? Currently we got this VOIP telephony solution here in house and we'd like to connect that to our central messaging application so we can dial out from apps like outlook & Co.. and of course incoming calls can pop up on our screens with the contact data. Possible?

    - This is a bit tricky and of course influenced by personal opinion & experiences: How stable is the whole system? I read about several problems here with syncing, outlook connectors and so on - are these only rare problems?

    - How are the mails & calenders stores on the server? A large file for every user or single files for each eMail? How easy is it to migrate for example from one zimbra server to another? -> For example when moving internally from one to another server. Easily doable or are the eMail-Files encrypted & signed with AD IDs and and and?

    - I guess I can't try out first my whole scenario with outlook & apple's on a free base, eh? The connectors only come with the full version?
    maybe more to come

    I've read a lot on the website of zimbra and I *guess* the suite would fit my needs - or? I think I need this:

    - Zimbra Network Edition Professional
    - Zimbra Mobile

    Anything else I forgot?

    Thanks for feedback of any kind!

    Regards - Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Yes, it is the right tool for you. Just try it out and you will see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    You can see how the Outlook and ActiveSync bits work against the live demo server, Live demos of Zimbra's open source email and group calendar software. It's somewhat similar to Exchange's "Cached" mode -- you can work equally well on the web or in Outlook, but there may be a lag of a minute or two before changes in one show up in the other.

    If you become more serious, sales can probably get you a time-limited license key for NE+Mobile.

    To Zimbra, AD is just an LDAP server. Passwords can be checked against AD, and the global address list can be pointed at AD. There is no bidirectional sync, i.e., you would need to create/delete users separately in both tools (though some sync scripts have been posted in the forums).

    Zimbra has no fax support, but for a stable (20+ years!) and well-understood email-to-fax/fax-to-email package look at or (if you do LOTS of faxing) Some desktop print-to-hylafax agents are available for Mac and PC.

    I have not heard of anyone integrating Avaya ACM.

    The server is stable. Outlook is also stable, but sometimes misrepresents things like complex recurring meetings.

    Zimbra supports .tar.gz import and export of folders, folder hierarchies, and entire accounts, including metadata. This supports server-to-server moves, account-to-account moves (like new staff inheriting certain folders from their predecessors), migration to and from the Zimbra Desktop client, and end-user archive/backup (.tgz export is exposed in an end-user Preferences pane). Storage is file-per-message (and appointments/contacts are also messages). Metadata and indices live in mysql and lucene, but those will be regenerated upon resubmission of messages.
    Last edited by Rich Graves; 07-08-2009 at 07:23 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Richmond, VA
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    Yeah, can't hurt to test it out and then implement it on the live server.

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