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Thread: Thinking of starting to test Zimbra... a few questions

  1. #1
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    Question Thinking of starting to test Zimbra... a few questions

    Hi everyone

    I've been following the progress of Zimbra for a couple of years now I think and I'm very impressed with the speed of progress.

    We currently run Microsoft SBS 2003 with Exchange Server and have 13 people on PCs (2 of these work out of an office in the US using Outlook's RPC over HTTPS functionality) and 4 on Mac OSX (PowerPC) in our design studio.

    The reasons I am looking to move to Zimbra are:
    - Improved mail access for the guys on Macs. At the moment they connect to Exchange using IMAP with Thunderbird and although that works well, public folder access doesn't work and it's generally not as good as using Outlook live on the server. The AJAX client works well enough in Safari and Firefox for me to consider having the mac guys use that all the time.
    The basic Outlook Web Access interface is poor compared to Zimbra's AJAX!!

    - At the moment I am not the admin of our Exchange server, we have a local company run/service the server. This local company are very reluctant and secretive about letting us change settings ourselves, and when things go wrong, we need them to fix it. With Zimbra, we would do all the setting up and learning how to admin it from the start, so we have the skills in-house.

    - It's open source which to me means... more efficient code, more secure, cheaper ownership/running costs, compliance with open and industry standards, more regular updates.

    - Zimlets look very interesting... looks like we could do some very cool stuff combining our corporate database and google maps with Zimlets!

    I was looking through the product edition comparison chart, and I have a few questions about Zimbra and its features...

    1) Zimbra Mobile
    Is this compatible with any smartphone which runs WM5/WM6 and has ActiveSync and Pocket Outlook?
    Our US-based guys have Treo smartphones so I'd like for them to have the same user experience they currently have with Exchange and ActiveSync

    2) Public/shared e-mail folders
    In our current system we have an extensive set of public folders (one folder per client) for archiving e-mail so everyone has access to them and it doesn't bloat their mailboxes.
    Is there a way to have public e-mail folder structures with Zimbra?
    Shared Contacts, Calendar folders as well?
    How about having e-mail addresses deliver mail into public folders?
    With Exchange I constantly wish the public folders were more flexible.

    3) Outlook/MAPI Sync
    How does this work?
    Our remote users currently all connect using the RPC over HTTPS feature in Exchange/Outlook with the Outlook cached-mode.
    Is this a similar function?
    When connecting using this method, do users have full access to contacts, public folders, mailbox folders, calendar etc like when they connect using the AJAX client?

    4) Price difference between Network Standard and Network Professional?
    Is there a price difference?
    We'd be looking at the Network Professional version purely for access to the Outlook/MAPI Sync feature... provided it does what we're looking for.

    5) Mailbox size limits?
    What are the mailbox size thresholds with Zimbra?
    At the moment a few of our users have large mailboxes of around 3GB because of the amount of hi-res images etc they have to send around.

    6) Using Zimbra as an SMTP server
    We have one exchange account that we use to send out e-mail newsletters. We've developed some intranet scripts in PHP which do the physical sending using the SwiftMailer PHP library and they send by logging on to our Exchange server and sending through that.
    Is this possible with Zimbra? Or would we need to use an alternative SMTP server for this?

    7) Testing on OSX vs Linux
    We have a spare G5 PowerPC mac here and I am relatively inexperienced with administering Linux so I was thinking that for testing, it might be a good option to use that G5.
    Are all the features present on the OSX version that are in the Linux versions of Network Edition?
    The version of OSX is Tiger, not a server version. Will that still be ok?
    Or should I just go for it with testing it on Ubuntu server or another Linux? (I've heard Ubuntu is regarded as one of the most user-friendly Linux distros).
    In the coming months I will be switching our intranet Apache / PHP / MySQL server over to Linux as well.

    Any answers / comments / suggestions on these would be very appreciated!
    I really hope I get some positives out of this... I really want to start putting some serious testing into Zimbra!


    Thanks
    Ben
    Last edited by batfastad; 08-30-2007 at 08:48 AM. Reason: Added some questions

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by batfastad View Post
    1) Zimbra Mobile
    Is this compatible with any smartphone which runs WM5/WM6 and has ActiveSync and Pocket Outlook?
    Our US-based guys have Treo smartphones so I'd like for them to have the same user experience they currently have with Exchange and ActiveSync
    Essentially, tried & tested results go here: /products/zimbra_mobile_device_list.html
    -In a pinch, you can also of course use a web-browser to connect ( ZimbraMobile OTA sync vs a web-client non sync)
    (And while you don't have any yet-be sure to check out
    /blog/archives/2007/07/izimbra.html )

    Quote Originally Posted by batfastad
    2) Public/shared e-mail folders
    In our current system we have an extensive set of public folders (one folder per client) for archiving e-mail so everyone has access to them and it doesn't bloat their mailboxes.
    Is there a way to have public e-mail folder structures with Zimbra?
    Shared Contacts, Calendar folders as well?
    How about having e-mail addresses deliver mail into public folders?
    With Exchange I constantly wish the public folders were more flexible.
    You'd essentially be treating the client as an account, then you share that accounts mail, tasks, contacts, calendar, documents, briefcase with everyone)

    3) Outlook/MAPI Sync
    How does this work?
    Our remote users currently all connect using the RPC over HTTPS feature in Exchange/Outlook with the Outlook cached-mode.
    Is this a similar function?
    When connecting using this method, do users have full access to contacts, public folders, mailbox folders, calendar etc like when they connect using the AJAX client?
    It's called the Outlook Connector (for mac users there's an iSync connector etc)
    -Email, contacts, calendar, and task natively sync via MAPI
    -Supports both Online and Offline mode, including access to shared content Offline
    -It brings all the options you would need from the web client-especially sharing, gal lookups etc to outlook
    /products/desktop_compatibility.html

    While your at it check out Zimbra Desktop (which uses the same interface as the web-client and syncs all actions while you have an internet connection) /blog/archives/2007/07/zimbra_desktop_05.html

    4) Price difference between Network Standard and Network Professional?
    Is there a price difference?
    We'd be looking at the Network Professional version purely for access to the Outlook/MAPI Sync feature... provided it does what we're looking for.
    Just email sales@zimbra.com for a quote
    Those dictate pricing structures; for purposes of support, you simply have the NE or OS version. It's two different downloads, the NE gets packages & licenses -like outlook connectors, isync connectors, hot backups, attachment indexing, hierarchical storage management (which allows you to configure storage volumes for older messages) etc applied to it.

    5) Mailbox size limits?
    What are the mailbox size thresholds with Zimbra?
    At the moment a few of our users have large mailboxes of around 3GB because of the amount of hi-res images etc they have to send around.
    -none

    6) Using Zimbra as an SMTP server
    We have one exchange account that we use to send out e-mail newsletters. We've developed some intranet scripts in PHP which do the physical sending using the SwiftMailer PHP library and they send by logging on to our Exchange server and sending through that.
    Is this possible with Zimbra? Or would we need to use an alternative SMTP server for this?
    yes you can treat it like a relay-someone can help you with how to implement this.

    7) Testing on OSX vs Linux
    We have a spare G5 PowerPC mac here and I am relatively inexperienced with administering Linux so I was thinking that for testing, it might be a good option to use that G5.
    Are all the features present on the OSX version that are in the Linux versions of Network Edition?
    The version of OSX is Tiger, not a server version. Will that still be ok?
    Or should I just go for it with testing it on Ubuntu server or another Linux? (I've heard Ubuntu is regarded as one of the most user-friendly Linux distros).
    In the coming months I will be switching our intranet Apache / PHP / MySQL server over to Linux as well.
    MacOSX builds do not allow for attachment indexing or viewing an attachment as HTML. (And for me the search indexing -ie upload a rich text pdf/word doc and it indexes the content inside- is what makes it powerfull.)

    NE supported versions are here: /products/downloads.html
    (see soruceforge for all the compiled open source builds)

    If you choose to use RHEL, the mailstore servers can use RHCS clustering/failover support.
    Last edited by mmorse; 06-02-2008 at 03:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Red face

    That is brilliant info!

    Well it seems that everything I need can be done and that is fantastic news!
    Basically means I need to test Zimbra out!!!

    What I think I'll do is do a first test in OSX to check the admin features and basic mail / distribution group stuff... because there's a spare G5 sat next to me desk right now.
    Then go for Ubuntu server on a spare PC and try that, so I can get used to the specifics of admin on a Linux box.

    Initially I think I'll start my testing with the open-source edition.
    Then when I need to go to the next level of testing... ActiveSync / Zimbra Mobile, Outlook MAPI Sync / Outlook Connector then go for a 60 day trial of the Network Edition and see how that goes.


    I have one final question that I need to get right before I can even start testing this though... how do I get my mail delivered to Zimbra?

    We have a spare domain name which I was planning to use for testing this, and normally I would just change the MX record of that domain and point it to our static IP address.

    We are on a standard ADSL connection (17MB and 1.5MB upload speed), which seems to work fine with Exchange.

    But the problem is we already have our Exchange server collecting mail through SMTP on this static IP address.
    We have the following ports forwarded to our Exchange server...
    25 - SMTP
    80 - HTTP
    110 - POP3... generally disabled as external users use RPC over HTTPS in Outlook
    143 - IMAP... generally disabled as external users use RPC over HTTPS in Outlook
    443 - HTTPS
    3389 - RDP Remote Desktop for admin

    How can I get mail from a domain name sent to my Zimbra server which is behind the same static IP as my Exchange server?

    When I modify an MX record, is there any way I can specify a different port and have Zimbra using a random port like 999 or something?
    So that our regular Exchange e-mail service doesn't get interrupted?

    Thanks
    Ben

  4. #4
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    You'll need a Split Domain, that article should tell you everything you ned to know.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    Ah ok, split domain.

    So that seems all ok for the Zimbra side of things... but do you know of any information on what I need to do for the split domain on the Exchange side?

    I am planning to have a completely separate domain name for use with Zimbra, and I want Zimbra to be handling the actual sending / receiving of mail for that domain.

    Obviously all I need to get Exchange to do is bounce any mail of that certain test domain, onto the Zimbra IP address... but I'm not sure how to go about doing that.

    Thanks for all the info so far guys - this is really helpful.
    I've not been this excited about testing a new product / system for a long time! Zimbra seems like the answer to my prayers at the moment

  6. #6
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    The split domain is meant to handle a situation where you have both servers in the same domain, one forwards 'unknown' addresses to the other server. If you want to have a completely seperate domain then it's impossible if you're behind a router with both servers on the same LAN, you need port 25 forwarded to an SMTP server.

    Why do you want a separate domain name for the Zimbra server? If it's meant to eventually replace the Exchange server you'd have a (possible) problem changing the domain name for the Zimbra server - unless I'm missing something in your requirements.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    Cool

    At the moment all I was looking to do was test Zimbra, by hopefully making no changes to our current Exchange set up at all.

    I thought the easiest way to do that would be by using a completely separate domain name which we currently have spare.
    And somehow configuring Exchange to bounce all mail to a certain domain over to Zimbra's internal IP address.

    At the moment port 25 is forwarded to our Exchange server on our local network.


    Having re-read that Split Domain article, I'm unsure which option I'm looking for... Zimbra as the Primary or Secondary.

    I guess the easiest route for me to configure the split domain would be like this:
    - Forward 25 to Zimbra, rather than our Exchange server
    - That means that any mail that can be delivered to a Zimbra account, is processed by Zimbra.
    - Then I configure Zimbra's postfix to bounce other mail onto the Exchange server (using the local DNS address of the Exchange server) using the instructions on that Wiki article

    Then if I decide to shut-down the Zimbra test server or do a fresh install onto a different machine, I just forward port 25 back to our main Exchange server like at the moment and Exchange handles all the inbound mail requests?

    That would certainly be a good option - no configuration changes needed in Exchange!


    But is that Zimbra as a primary or secondary?
    My thinking that the above scenario represents Zimbra as a secondary, even though it is technically acting as the primary SMTP receiving server at our IP address

    Is that correct?
    It's been a long day!

  8. #8
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    What you're describing is what we've described as Zimbra is the primary server. You'll need to add all the accounts in Zimbra that live on your Exchange server so they get forwarded, you can script that.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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