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!