For the last little while I have been playing with email solutions in the cloud that offer customized, self branded email functionality. Additionally, I needed something that works reasonably well since it is an Enterprise class solution from VMware.
Zimbra has evolved significantly from its previous versions and now offers a much more streamlined solution that is easy to install and very straightforward. It can be installed as a virtual appliance in a private cloud or as a hosted solution in the public cloud. The important benefits are integration with voice, tasks, address book, etc in addition to the traditional email interface. When I installed Zimbra I was concerned about the time it would take for installation, complexity, add-ons etc but none of these were an issue.
Zimbra can be installed on RedHat linux and it makes the installation more appealing to a wide variety of users. The memory and cpu utilization is optimum and because it can be installed on a virtualization platform the flexibility and architectural benefits offer great benefits. There is a free 30 day trial version of Zimbra available that offers a chance to try it out first. While Zimbra offers mobility and unified integration capabilities I haven’t been able to test them out yet. What I have been able to test however, is the ease with which new accounts can be created, multi-tenancy can be established, and quotas can be setup.
There is integrated anti-spam filtering, antivirus and directory services (LDAP) available as well. Just some minor things to worry about during the installation – and these are very important. Do not enable the mail and apache functionality at the time of the Linux server setup. These conflict with the installation and cause problems with application startup. During and after installation there is a need to setup the admin password and license file as well. The prompts could be a little more easy to understand and I hope VMware improves something so basic. For e.g. there is an error during install that highlights that the admin password is not set and license file is not there. However, unless you refer the install guide you don’t get an indicate to select the right line to set the variables. Finally, if you are not able to connect to the admin console (https://server fqdn:7071/zimbraAdmin) then make sure that the port 7071 has been opened in the /etc/sysconfig/iptables configuration file. After opening the port restart the iptables service and you are good to go.
Zimbra is an excellent solution compared to many other email software that is pitched as enterprise class but is not truly the case. If you have any other experiences to share or need more information about my experience feel free to reach out to me.