How do you do....it? Thread, Zimbra - open source instead of Exchange in Technical; ...
29th October 2012, 07:42 PM #1
Zimbra - open source instead of Exchange
I'm looking for ways to upgrade our ageing Exchange 2003 server and OWA clients to something with more features and a more updateable future. Upgrading to Exchange 2007/2010 is typical Microsoft, i.e buying CALS for users/devices/individual single dna strands etc which means it runs into £000s when you're not on EES or similar.
So open source Zimbra ZCS server and web clients looks like a worthwhile trial. Before I even start has anyone had any good/bad experiences doing a similar thing?
And to anyone using ZCS, how do you back it up? and are you running it on a particular flavour of linux/VM?
I think I'm spitballing/blue sky thinking etc....
29th October 2012, 07:53 PM #2
I ran Zimbra for 1800 users for a couple of years. It was very successful, I used Centos and backed it up with scripts.
We ran Exchange for staff and Zimbra for students. Zimbra was much less hassle than exchange.
We since migrated all the accounts to google apps, which is even less hassle.
29th October 2012, 07:57 PM #3
Ido believe that @glennda has setup / run zimbra so he may be a good person to speak to
29th October 2012, 08:01 PM #4
We run Zimbra and are very happy with it. We used to use prism based clients on the old XP network but now we just use the web based client for users, it does everything we need. (circa 1800 users) including email, some filtering/local security, calendars, distribution lists etc. Plus it's amusing to run something that can be expanded exponentially like Zimbra on a crappy little 4GB virtual machine as opposed to some of the amusing threads on here where people are moaning that 16GB ram isn't enough for their piddly Exchange setup!
29th October 2012, 08:14 PM #5
Yup got both zimbra 7 and zimbra 8 running atm although not the free version. the paid version backs itself up send now comes as a VMWare virtual appliance which keeps itself secure and up to date :-)
Originally Posted by mdench
29th October 2012, 08:15 PM #6
I think we'd be looking at the free version - at least to start with, and primarily looking at the web client
29th October 2012, 08:34 PM #7
Why not look at something like Office365?
29th October 2012, 08:38 PM #8
We have looked at office365 and google apps as well, the zimbra option is a way of maintaining our own 'cloud' which seems to be preferred here.
29th October 2012, 09:52 PM #9
Hi Sheridan. I set up Zimbra at the school I worked at (where @bossman is). It's been running there almost 5 years, and I just helped upgrade to the latest version. Version 8 includes a vastly improved interface for both email and admin interfaces.
It's been a great asset for the school, saving money and enhancing communication. It runs virtually on XenServer. Everyone uses the web interface - internally using Prism (Mozilla-based chromeless stripped-down web browser) and pre-authentication for streamlined sign-in.
Accounts are synced to Zimbra from AD using a custom script and database, because we wanted to fully automate the creation, disabling and list membership of accounts -> mailboxes from AD. I read that Version 8 has some AD/LDAP automation/creation now - but haven't read much about that. Worth looking in to though.
With regards to backup, there are multiple pieces of functionality in place for it. 1) individual mailbox backups for staff to a NAS box, daily. 2) entire Zimbra installation backup, weekly, for DR. 3) VM snapshots at regular intervals and before doing major upgrades/updates and/or for DR.
Hope that's useful - don't hesitate to ask me or @bossman any further questions
2 Thanks to webman:
bossman (29th October 2012), Sheridan (30th October 2012)
30th October 2012, 09:23 AM #10
I've looked at Zimbra and when I get time I'm going to put everything on Zimbra, Exchange is an absolute Server Hog and a beast to maintain!
Currently using Exchange, but have Sendmail / Postfix up & running also as a backup.
30th October 2012, 09:45 AM #11
Cheers - this is the sort of info I'm after! I'd like full AD integration if possible (everything else is!) and web client is the main concern as even Outlook users here seem to use OWA more than anything
30th October 2012, 09:51 AM #12
I set up Zimbra and my last place (synaesthesia's current place )
I thought it was great, it was quite low maintenance, as synaesthesia has mentioned it's pretty low on system requirements (although quick disks are a must if running anything substantial) and the beauty of it being entirely web based is that users have the same experience where ever they are. In terms of backup, it was simply a case of stopping all the Zimbra services and backing up the Zimbra installation directory via Rsync or alternative. Later we migrated it to a VM on ESXi and used pre & post VM snapshot scripts that run when Veeam takes a backup scheduled late at night. (It's running on Ubuntu Server btw).
I now run Exchange 2010 at my current place and I'll have to admit I am liking it more & more especially with things like activesync for push emails etc but I believe you would get that functionality with the Network edition of Zimbra along with other features such as hot backups.
30th October 2012, 09:57 AM #13
Zimbra also have a free client to download (Zimbra Desktop) and a plugin for Outlook.
here is a full feature comparison - Zimbra - Compare Products
30th October 2012, 10:23 AM #14
This is true - we've been looking at updating Zimbra recently and these are some features that seem to be top of the list, although we were more looking at it for improved (and easier!) filtering/quarantine, which we resolved by plumping for FOPE instead. I still think we'll be upgrading it fairly soon, I know someone is champing at the bit to do it
Originally Posted by Ashm
30th October 2012, 12:05 PM #15
We ran Zimbra for our students for 4+ years before moving to Live@Edu last year, we run SSO and AD synchronisation so the accounts are automatically created and link with our AD for password management etc. Didn't have any issues with Zimbra and haven't had any issues with Live@Edu. Will be looking at moving to 365 over the next few months, possibly for both staff and students.
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