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Thread: Existing E-mail Infrastructure Integration

  1. #1
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    Question Existing E-mail Infrastructure Integration

    I'm curious and unsure how to search for information on this topic, so if there is documentation that will answer my question in-depth, links would be appreciated.

    My organization already has a very robust and reliable IMAP/POP/SMTP infrastructure in place using cyrus/postfix complete with amavis-integrated spamassassin and virus scanning; effectively all the amenities that Zimbra's MTA brings to the table. Is there any way to integrate Zimbra with our current infrastructure? Much as everyone, I'm enamored of Zimbra's UI and collaboration features, but if a complete migration away from our current mail infrastructure was requisite, it would effectively shelve our interest in the short-term. Our mail system is very effective at mail, but calendaring and collaboration are weak (actually non-existent for a majority of our users), and there's more and more groundswell about providing an integrated solution a-la Exchange. It would be the ideal case if we could provide Exchange-like functionality through Zimbra that integrated with our existing servers. Is that a pipe dream?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Forums!!
    Do you remember the old windows 3.1 pipe-dream game? In HS, I used to play on it in the computer labs. Ahh, the good memories.

    Quote Originally Posted by amichel View Post
    Is there any way to integrate Zimbra with our current infrastructure?
    It depends on the "level" of integration. You can use your current MTA if you wish, and you can also use any LDAP auth that your currently have.
    As far as anything else, such as SA/AV, Mysql, you'll need to use Zimbra's built in resrouces.

    There are several migration tools in the gallery, wiki, and forums. To find them, you can use http://support.zimbra.com/help

    Much as everyone, I'm enamored of Zimbra's UI and collaboration features, but if a complete migration away from our current mail infrastructure was requisite, it would effectively shelve our interest in the short-term. Our mail system is very effective at mail, but calendaring and collaboration are weak (actually non-existent for a majority of our users), and there's more and more groundswell about providing an integrated solution a-la Exchange. It would be the ideal case if we could provide Exchange-like functionality through Zimbra that integrated with our existing servers. Is that a pipe dream?
    I think the things to consider are:
    1) Can you come up with a migration script
    2) How Labor intensive will migration be

    Only you can answer that. We have several users who've migrated and have been happy ever since.

    If the goal is to have an effective e-mail system, and your current system meets that goal, then you don't need to migrate.

    If the goal is to move into the next generation of collaboration, Zimbra's your man.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jholder View Post
    Welcome to the Forums!!
    1) Can you come up with a migration script
    2) How Labor intensive will migration be
    Hello,

    Ok, after posting a question a week or so ago about this in this forum, and searching, I found a thread on why you shouldn't "pull apart the pieces" so to speak. I think it's funny but sad that a Zimbra employe said, "Well, we sell Zimbra and so we know what people want, and this is it!" Clearly, there are many people who don't want that, as can be seen in these forums.

    Is anybody interested in investigating the creation of a "Zimbra Light"??

    There are two huge problems with this theory; namely, the fact that Zimbra now has to support everything, and the fact that it's hard to integrate Zimbra into solutions that don't use the bundled packages.

    The "easy install" and "guaranteed known versions of sw" reasons for bundling the whole kit-n-kaboodle together I can see from a Zimbra corporate standpoint. They need to support this stuff. But, given my Linux experience, frankly I don't care; I just want an interface I can drop into place over existing services because I have already tuned those services for performance on my hardware. Plus, how do we know that a) The servers included with Zimbra are configured properly, and b) if we want to re-configure them it won't break things?

    For example: does the MySQL engine use MYISAM tables, or something that is robust and transaction-safe? Can I make it transaction-safe if it isn't? How do I fix the tables when they inevitably trash themselves? (Anyone using MySQL in a mission-critical situation, without having a cluster of DB machines, is asking for trouble - and from what I've seen it's not trivial to install Zimbra on a cluster of machines, nor is it cost-effective. Postgres would have been a much better choice here.)

    Next comes the integration problem. I'm working on a major open source stack for a vertical market. I'd love to use Zimbra's functionality, but a) my use is too data-critical to use MySQL, and b) I find the extent to which Zimbra seems to modify the system unacceptable. Yeah, I could use a virtual server, but running two copies of an OS and of a DB and of an EMail server and of Tomcat or JBoss is inefficient (in terms of resource and therefore electricity usage, and in terms of having to maintain two stacks).

    Store appointments in SQL database, and mail as files on disk via Cyrus IMAP. Build services using Tomcat that access those data stores. Why do things need to be more complex than that?

    Don't get me wrong, the folks at Zimbra have gone very far in giving us a valuable replacement for exchange - but in their push for enterpriseyness, they make things hard on some of us who really know how to make things run and run reliably.

    Cheers,
    -JC

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