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Thread: Migrate from Zimbra to Exchange

  1. #1
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    Default Migrate from Zimbra to Exchange

    To give some background, the University I work for is planning to migrate everyone from having their own departmental mail servers to a hosted Microsoft solution.

    As much as I love the Zimbra platform and have never had any issues with it I've been told my department needs to be moved over before the end of this year.

    So, my question is how do I go about performing a migration for ~50 users to an Exchange server?

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    I would imagine that MS has some tools for mail migrations... probably one of them would use POP/IMAP. I would l ook . But I dont' speak from knowledge/experience. A single Google search brought this up: POP/IMAP Mail Migration Process

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fold View Post
    To give some background, the University I work for is planning to migrate everyone from having their own departmental mail servers to a hosted Microsoft solution.

    As much as I love the Zimbra platform and have never had any issues with it I've been told my department needs to be moved over before the end of this year.

    So, my question is how do I go about performing a migration for ~50 users to an Exchange server?
    I think what your school is missing is the the fact that a great deal of learning experience will be lost in your environment. Many top network people cut their teeth in Universities learning to manage those wildly diverse networks and secure them. It's a loss for your school. My condolences.

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    Maybe the decision came down to money. We're in the midst of a similar decision making process: do we migrate from Zimbra to Exchange.

    Here's my research so far...

    We have 80 users and are currently using the free edition of Zimbra. However, we really need mobile connect for about 1/4th of our people which forces us into the network edition. 80 users of NE will cost us $2000/yr, plus $1000/yr for Zimbra Mobile. Exchange will cost us $5000 one time cost for OS, Exchange, and 80 CALs. If we look at a 5yr span before we have to invest more money, that's $15k for Zimbra or $5k for Exchange. Add to this we have MS expertise in house while Zimbra is a 1-off platform that we struggle with when any problems arise.

    From a feature persective, Zimbra's web interface is much better (IMO) than OWA (though the Exchange 2010 OWA has many improvements). On the flip side, Outlook as a native front end is far more mature than Zimbra Desktop and integrates with workstation AV/AS packages. I'm also well aware that Exchange/Outlook has their own set of issues and they're more targeted for viruses and malware.

    As much as I would like to support the open community, I don't see a compelling business reason to justify 3x the cost. Just some thoughts.

    The Fold, if you find a good a solution for migrating the data I'd be interested in that information. We're investigating migration software packages which handle the e-mail via IMAP, but I'm still unsure how we can migrate the calendars and contact lists. We have quite a few distribution lists, but I'm resigned to recreating those on the new platform if we go that route.

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    First, factor in the AV and anti-spam stuff (although Exchange might provide that out of the box as well now, I have no idea). Second, I think a 5-year assumption is a little much to assume, but that is just opinion. Third, contact Zimbra Sales... I _thought_ they now offered a perpetual license that was not a yearly cost, e.g. worked for the life of the 5.x line but did not allow you to upgrade to the next/6.x line and so on) - with purchased support being separate from that as well. Could be wrong, but I sure thought so... and if so, might get you closer to the $5k comparison.

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    Excellent information gnyce, thank you. I will contact Zimbra sales to see what is offered to get a more apples-to-apples comparison.

    Some counterpoints, just to make sure my understanding is correct (or allow others to comment if/why they aren't correct ;-) ):

    1. Exchange 2010 includes anti-spam at the server level. The antispam system is automatically updated on a regular basis.

    2. Exchange 2010 includes MS' Forefront anti-virus protection. Forefront is automatically updated on a regular basis.

    3. Zimbra's AV/AS is updated only when a product upgrade is performed, right? I've read threads on setting up auto updates but it's my knowledge this is not set up "out of the box" and for non-Linux guru's appears challenging to implement.

    4. I think 5 years is conservative. Many companies are still using Exchange 2003 today, nearly 7 years after it's release.

    5. Major version upgrades requiring repurchase and relicense happen every 3-4 years for MS. Zimbra's major version upgrade schedule is every 1-2 years.

    Again, this view is entirely from a financial perspective. I'm not debating that there are plusses to Zimbra's model such as faster time to market with new and innovative features. I'm simply weighing the costs for that model against our specific needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rajahd View Post
    Maybe the decision came down to money. We're in the midst of a similar decision making process: do we migrate from Zimbra to Exchange.

    Here's my research so far...

    We have 80 users and are currently using the free edition of Zimbra. However, we really need mobile connect for about 1/4th of our people which forces us into the network edition. 80 users of NE will cost us $2000/yr, plus $1000/yr for Zimbra Mobile. Exchange will cost us $5000 one time cost for OS, Exchange, and 80 CALs. If we look at a 5yr span before we have to invest more money, that's $15k for Zimbra or $5k for Exchange. Add to this we have MS expertise in house while Zimbra is a 1-off platform that we struggle with when any problems arise.

    From a feature persective, Zimbra's web interface is much better (IMO) than OWA (though the Exchange 2010 OWA has many improvements). On the flip side, Outlook as a native front end is far more mature than Zimbra Desktop and integrates with workstation AV/AS packages. I'm also well aware that Exchange/Outlook has their own set of issues and they're more targeted for viruses and malware.

    As much as I would like to support the open community, I don't see a compelling business reason to justify 3x the cost. Just some thoughts.

    The Fold, if you find a good a solution for migrating the data I'd be interested in that information. We're investigating migration software packages which handle the e-mail via IMAP, but I'm still unsure how we can migrate the calendars and contact lists. We have quite a few distribution lists, but I'm resigned to recreating those on the new platform if we go that route.
    Well, I do not know the prices in your area but it seems that you have not considered in your maths purchasing at least one MS Exchange+ MS Windows Server plus a backup software (that provides on line backup/restore and it's usually annual).

    In addition, should you get rid of Outlook, then you save the purchase of 80 new PCs for at least another year or two more than expected . Outlook is such a heavy beast, that gets fatter and slower moving as mailbox is getting bigger. Even though some of our customers that are heavily using VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) for their users, this makes the whole equation really tough on resources. They loved the fact that with Zimbra they could keep their resources low in the backend servers. Dedublication was another great plus that saves 20-40% storage space (that's big $$ in storage, backup media / time).
    Finally, utilizing the briefcase and documents, then the combination starts touching other portal / doc management capable softwares.
    Apart from the political point of view, would you have direct MS Support with just paying 5K $ with MS + software assurance for all upcoming versions ? As you know with Zimbra, practically, you pay for support and new features and updates.

    By all means, I do not wish to argue your thoughts. I just want to show additional aspects for you to rethink.

    Kind regards,

    Nikos
    ########################################3
    Zaharioudakis Nikos, RHC{A,DS,E,VA,X,I}, VCP(4,5},VCI, Mentor VCI, Zimbra Instructor
    https://www.redhat.com/wapps/trainin...&verify=Verify
    +30 694 720 40 63
    http://zimbra.wikidot.com/zimbra-ins...ions-in-greece

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    Ouch...
    It is the first time i heard that Exchange is less expensive than Zimbra...
    I think you did not considerer all components which are required by exchange...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rajahd View Post
    Excellent information gnyce, thank you. I will contact Zimbra sales to see what is offered to get a more apples-to-apples comparison.

    Some counterpoints, just to make sure my understanding is correct (or allow others to comment if/why they aren't correct ;-) ):

    1. Exchange 2010 includes anti-spam at the server level. The antispam system is automatically updated on a regular basis.

    2. Exchange 2010 includes MS' Forefront anti-virus protection. Forefront is automatically updated on a regular basis.

    3. Zimbra's AV/AS is updated only when a product upgrade is performed, right? I've read threads on setting up auto updates but it's my knowledge this is not set up "out of the box" and for non-Linux guru's appears challenging to implement.
    Anti-spam and anti-virus should not be running on the message storage server, regardless of which platform you use. That's a waste of CPU/RAM that could be better used for managing more connections. Disabling these "features" should be the first thing any competent mail admin does.

    Then putting a separate mail gateway in front that does nothing but mail routing, AV, AS, and reporting (Unix + Postfix + Amavisd-new + ClamAV is all you need). If you don't want to put one together yourself, IronPort and Barracuda make excellent mail filtering appliances. And Zimbra (MTA portion) can be used for this as well.

    4. I think 5 years is conservative. Many companies are still using Exchange 2003 today, nearly 7 years after it's release.
    Is that because they like the product, or because the upgrade process is so horrible? Zimbra updates may come more often, but they are a lot safer to install. Even updating MS Office from one version to another is prone to errors; I'd hate to try the same with something as big as Exchange.

    5. Major version upgrades requiring repurchase and relicense happen every 3-4 years for MS. Zimbra's major version upgrade schedule is every 1-2 years.
    See 4. above.

    Again, this view is entirely from a financial perspective. I'm not debating that there are plusses to Zimbra's model such as faster time to market with new and innovative features. I'm simply weighing the costs for that model against our specific needs.
    Don't forget to add in the Windows Server license, and the new hardware to run it all. A typical Zimbra server box won't be enough to run even a departmental Exchange box. And the fact that MS does not offer perpetual licenses, whereas Zimbra does (upgrading across major versions is still less using perpetual licenses).

    However, these things are probably outside of your control. Just make sure the bean-counters count all the beans, and don't try to hide some of them.

    As for the migration, if Exchange properly supports IMAP, iCal, and vCard, then the migration becomes:
    1. create accounts on Exchange server
    2. use "imapsync" on the Zimbra server to copy all e-mail messages, using IMAP
    3. export calendars as iCal files, import into Exchange
    4. export contact lists as vCard files, import into Exchange
    5. export task lists as iCal files, import into Exchange


    If you have access to the Zimbra Connector for Outlook, it becomes even simpler, as each user can do it on their own, right in Outlook.
    Freddie

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    We still haven't made any decisions on this, even though it's been 6 months Thanks for all the information fcash regarding a migration if we decide to go that route.

    I'm curious about the statement that AV/AS shouldn't run on the mail storage platform - Zimbra does this by default, right? I see no reason to penalize Exchange for this (or Zimbra) considering we're talking a very small system.

    FWIW, the costs I cited for Exchange were all inclusive - hardware, server license(s) and CALs. We already have Office 2007+ (which includes Outlook) on all computers so there is no additional cost there.

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