• United States

Zimbra provides Web-based collaboration

Dec 12, 20053 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Zimbra Collaboration Server

It looks like one of the big targets for ASPs next year will be replacing or becoming the mobile alternative for Microsoft Outlook and similar productivity tools. Here in the Network World Web Applications newsletter, we’ve covered a couple of products in this arena and today we have a new and very sophisticated competitor: Zimbra is both compatible with and a viable replacement for Outlook or any number of other related products such as Apple Mail, iCal, Eudora, Evolution, Thunderbird or Sunbird.

The Zimbra Collaboration Server (see the PDF) can be supplied as a hosted service or you can run it in-house using the free Open-Source Edition or the for-fee Network Edition. The differences between the two versions are that the Network Edition includes a subscription to new releases, updates, and patches and access to support along with attachment indexing and rendering in HTML, “hot” incremental backup, online mailbox restore, hierarchical storage management, clustering for automating failover, and “fast” mailbox move. Future enhancements will include an Outlook/MAPI connector with full support for e-mail, group calendaring and contacts and “over the air” mobile client synchronization for devices such as the BlackBerry; the PocketPC; and Palm, Nokia and Motorola cell phones.

The Zimbra Collaboration Server provides POP, IMAP, iCal, Active Directory and LDAP compatibility as well as providing Web services using a SOAP/XML-based API that supports bi-directional integration with enterprise applications such as CRM and ERP suites. The messaging services are also interoperable with Microsoft Exchange allowing the Zimbra Collaboration server to be integrated with and extend Exchange-based messaging.

The server provides a wide range of management features including native hierarchical storage management or information lifecycle management, multi-domain support and administration, online single mailbox restore to point-in-time without disrupting other mail service users, online mailbox moves and backups, an “integrated high availability solution,” browser-based administration using an Ajax-based interface, real-time system activity “dashboards” and a set of command-line tools. There are even SOAP-based APIs for every administrative action.

Zimbra also provides extensive security features including Web-based single sign-on with TLS/SSL, secured attachment opening and HTML rendering, spam and anti-virus services, and compatibility with existing anti-spam and anti-virus systems.

The Zimbra browser-based user interface is driven by Ajax and provides the features users expect of desktop applications such as drag and drop and updating without total screen refresh. Zimbra offer a hosted demo version.

Pricing: The Zimbra Collaboration Suite Standard Edition is priced at $28 per user per year for a minimum of 500 users. Additional 50-user blocks are priced at $28 per user. The Small Business Edition is priced at $1,950 per year for up to 50 users. Additional 50-user blocks can be added for $1,950 and this includes rights to an additional 50 users.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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