dwmtractor, that's makes two of us living in the real world. I too have relatively cheap hardware, normally Dell servers, that have ran for years without issue with far less downtime than the internet connection. A dell server, UPS and two external hard drives for backup is an excellent an inexpensive setup for a small 5 user company. I have a company with 30 users that had a BT fault with the line and no Internet connection for a day and a half. If all their services would have been hosted it would have cost Łthousands in downtime. As it was we still had access to all our existing email, contact info, appointments etc on the in house server. When the internet connection was restored the mail started coming back in having just been queued on remote smtp servers. There's no benefit in your hosted services company's data centres having 100% uptime and 100% connectivity if you can't get to them cause your broadband's gone down.
I see comments about Zimbra being much more reliable and needing very little attention compared with an SBS server and then they talk about the enormous expense of maintaining in house servers. Which is it, very little attention or an IT dept for every server? I hear how much it costs to have a reliable 24/7 internet connection for your in house Zimbra server but no mention of how much more important (and possibly expensive) those internet connections are with all your data out in the cloud. Sorry, way too much contradiction for me.
We could disagree all day long about what's best, but at the end of the day I would like to see Zimbra as a real alternative to Exchange and to do that you need to compete at every level. So where do I order Zimbra NE with 5 cals?
And who said anything about POP3? Who even uses POP3 anymore? POP3 limits you to a single computer for accessing your messages.
You keep your e-mail on your e-mail server, and you access them via IMAP, SOAP, HTTP, etc so that you have full access to all your messages, from anywhere, at any time, using any IMAP/SOAP/HTTP client.
And any good e-mail program (ie not a web browser) will keep a local cache of messages, so you aren't constantly downloading the same message over and over.
IOW, if you host your e-mail server off-site, and use an IMAP or SOAP client to access your messages, with a local cache, you get the best of all worlds: you transfer a message across your Internet connection once, and you never waste bandwidth on spam that is blocked at the SMTP level.
This is where a local e-mail client comes in. Using IMAP or SOAP, you get centrally stored messages AND lightning-quick local access.If your email is stored locally it's so much faster. I don't want the frustrating delay in browsing online services.
Then don't use e-mail to send large files. If he's sitting next to you, then just put the file on the local network share, or pass him a USB stick.I don't want to be sending emails with large attachments out to the internet and then back in again just to reach the guy sat opposite.
So long as the data is easily retrievable, like it is with Zimbra, that doesn't really matter.I want to upgrade when I want to, not the hosting company. I don't want the hosting company going bust leaving me in the lurch, shall I go on? I can.
"Remote access" is the same, regardless of where the physical server is hosted.They need remote access to email, shared address book, shared calenders etc.
You have a lot of good points, but a lot of them don't make sense in the "hosted vs local" debate.
Remote access should be just that, when you are working remotely. You shouldn't be working remotely when you are in the office. Ultimately I don't want to risk putting critical company information on the end of a broadband connection. You can't beat your own server.
I have to agree with Mike insofar as to say, it's about time Zimbra took onboard the demands of the SMB's if they are to efectively compete with MS Exchange server or drop the "Exchange Killer" statement.
Hosting companys are fine where the redundancy level is equal on both sides, something in the UK which is way too costly for most SMB's, thus forces them to use alternatives i.e. in-house email servers.
Setting up bonded lines, redundancy lines and the required hardware to be able to provide criticle hosted collaboration services is only an option for SMB's who have the money to invest in the local hardware, suppliers and ISP costs in order provide this facility, most do not and to enlist additional outside expert advice brings additional costs to the table.
I have found that providing SMB's with in-house email servers has been one of the best and rewarding decisions ever undertaken, I have lost count on the number of in-house servers I have installed over the years, most of which are still running to this day in various incarnations from postfix, exim and zimbra.
Most of the in-house servers went through the same steps of determining the clients needs against the actual costs or providing the services they required as shown below which has changed over the years:
12 years ago internal email was the biggest request.
9 years ago internal and remote email was the biggest request.
5 years ago internal/remote email and appointments.
2 years ago full collaboration services including mobile access.
Although I have setup possibly just over a thousand users mailbox's they all treat the email and collaboration services as criticle to the running of their businesses, but simply are not able to afford the Zimbra NE pricing modal or have the technical skills or money spare for redundancy to have hosted services. In fact most of my clients do not trust sensitive information being stored on a hosted service.
My point being that most of those thousand plus mailbox's SHOULD have been Zimbra NE mailbox's, the question is why wern't they and thats a simple one to answer, Zimbra NE costs. Most of my SMB's are under the minimum NE user requirements.
Now some of you will counter what about the Starter Edition, it's only 399.00 p/a, yes, but what good is it, no support, no mobile bolton, unable to add additional users.
If you want to dominate the market as the number one MS Exchange Killer, then take it on properly, get Zimbra out to the SMB's in a licence and pricing modal that allows it. I bet the increases to NE mailbox's would be considerable to say the least.
I would like to see the following:
5, 10, 15 and 20 user NE versions with 1 x support issue and mobile bolton (maybe call it ZimbraSMB5 - 20)
ZimbraSMB prices based on $25.00 per user with mobile bolton based at $35.00 per user per annum.
Ability to upgrade from ZimbraSMB5 through to ZimbraSMB20 to Zimbra NE.
Alternatively, have fixed number of professional and non professional mailbox's (i.e. ZimbraSMB5 with 5 x pro mailbox's with outlook and 5 standard mailbox's with the Ajax client)
Purchase it online.
hardware and software specs are constraints of IT budget availability no more no less.
I don't think it's possible to compare in-house OSE and hosted NE.
In-house OSE is happily used by lots of companies.
I just don't understand how thay claim "we need collaboration tools and it's very important for our business" and get it along with the "current OSE backup and restore solutions"...
I don't see this as "standard SMB", but I might be wrong...
I see this discussion like the Blackberry price discussion.
If you really compare what is needed arround the BB device to get it work nicely with a collaboration server (such as ZCS) and sum up the prices (BB cellular data plan + additionnal VM + W2003 licence + Outlook 2007 licence + BES licence + BES CALs + time to get this work) I really doubt you'll get a lower price than "throw the BB devices in the bin and buy brand new ActiveSync enables phones"...
From what I saw from the US hosted solutions last time I had a look at them, it was about 7 USD par user per month.
That's 7 x 5 x 12 = 420 USD per year for 5 users per year.
I just made a simulation right now on one of the gold HSP's website : for annual payment, 5 mailboxes (with global 10 GB quota and mobilesync) is 250 USD (per year).
I know it's more expensive that a 150 USD used server but you're not getting exactly the same features...
Last edited by Klug; 01-17-2010 at 01:33 AM.
I think the BB analogy does not work in this instance for comparrison, it's closed, very costly, flakey and most of the companies I look after have binned them in favour of iphones or windows mobile handsets.
Most of my SMBs are indeed less then 15 users, many of them 5 users and they all require collaboration, so for me that is the norm, also I think Mike has more or less the same SMB populations as I have here in the UK, I think most of this collaboration mentality is a result to the explosion of the mobile handset industry, i.e. you are now always contactable and businesses are maximizing their employees potential whether they like it or not.
None of my SMBs have an in-house IT guru, thats all left for me to sort out, the bonus side is that once you have written/modified/pinched backup scripts, there very easy to futher enhance for a particular site, and work a dream.
There are also other benifits to in-house hosting, you know where your data is located, who has actual access to it, won't be affected by the Internet being offline (apart from pending email to and from the server) and as I previously said not many of my clients (which includes me) like the thought of some other business handling all their collaboration information even more so when most of my clients are Accountants and Solicitors.
As I have previously said compete with MS exchange at the same user level, let the SMBs show that 5, 10, 15 and 20 user licence packs work, I know for sure that I will be able to sell the ZimbraSMB licences to new and old clients, so come on give it a go, you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying it.
This does not mean that SMBs are emmune to disasters but when some of the above took place, at least only internet activity was lost, and if a server dies, with the backup scripts created by myself and others within the zimbra community can have them back up and running within an half a day (in most cases we have responded with a system rebuild within a couple of hours) and 99% of our clients are using the Zimbra Community Edition.
I think that there is a large SMB population that can and would benefit from in-house hosting whether it be OS or NE versions of Zimbra. I also beleive that Zimbra must compete with MS Exchange at the same user level which I call ZimbraSMB packs, and futher beleive that the SMB revenue that they could reap would awesome to say the least.
How much would it cost Zimbra to implement 5, 10, 15 & 20 ZimbraSMB licence packs a few hundred dollars at most, as most of the work has already been done through the use of the licence keys, compare it to the vast rewards Zimbra would get from it makes no sense for them not to do it, so come on Zimbra open your eyes and let the SMBs prove to you that we can make Zimbra work no matter what environment it's placed, hosted or in-house.