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Windows Thread, zimbra as an exchange replacement in Technical; We currently have a messed up system with 3 email servers - one BSD for students - one Windows Exchange ...
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    zimbra as an exchange replacement

    We currently have a messed up system with 3 email servers - one BSD for students - one Windows Exchange for staff and a linux email relay for AV/spam filters. It would be nice to pull it all together into one system and I'd like to propose this to the boss.I just installed /configured zimbra. Its seems very nice and was simple to set up. Luckily I am not responsible for our exchange 2000 server (it is problematic, to put it nicely) and I'm not really familiar of all the benefits of running exchange.
    I've compiled a quick list of things that will be easy to do in Zimbra and I'd like some comments please - my first impressions are that it has all the functionality and scalability of exchange and some significant benefits, but like I say - i'm not an exchange guru so I'd like some input because I might be totally off the mark with this. Also anyone actually use Zimbra?

    [hr]
    Integration considerations of Zimbra:

    shared calendars
    global address list from ldap
    student email accounts from ldap
    Active Directory integration
    exchange mailbox migration tools
    Outlook access from IMAP
    Outlook calendar access (commercial plugin required)
    mailing list support
    Multiplatform standards based - IMAP,POP,SMTP,ical etc mobile phones/tablets etc
    web based - firefox,IE (opera,safari in development) - easy deployment
    clustering/scalability
    [hr]
    Benefits of Zimbra over exchange:

    more functionality in web client than OWA -AJAX brower based
    better integration with web mashups than exchange (zimlets)
    reduced storage - stores one copy of message for each user that recieves it
    indexes messages as they arrive - fast searching - (atachment indexing in
    comercial only)
    document store directly onto filesystem, indexed by db (exchange stores files
    in db)
    scrolling over messages brings up thumbnail of website
    hovering over a date within a message launches the calendar -=Right click on a date to schedule a meeting
    moving the cursor over a street address in an e-mail message yielded a map from Google
    VoIP integration -`mouse'over a phone number for VOiP application
    conversion of attachment documents (pdf etc) to HTML for inline viewing
    (comercial)
    cross reference email with tags (sync with outlook catagories)
    Online move, backup and recovery of individual or a group of mailboxes
    (comercial)
    customizable - zimlets - mouse over lesson to bring up moodle ??
    virus scanning (spamassasin)
    spam filtering
    RSS/Atom feeds
    content filtering for student email (postfix)
    no 16GB limits
    no licensing costs for OSS version

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    reduced storage - stores one copy of message for each user that recieves it
    Exchange does this.

    virus scanning (spamassasin)
    spam filtering
    Possible with Exchange via 3rd party plugins (but not free).

    no 16GB limits
    Only if you use HIGHMEM on x86 or swtich to AMD64.

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    Couple of points


    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd

    Benefits of Zimbra over exchange:

    more functionality in web client than OWA -AJAX brower based
    Have you tried the 2k3 version? it's pretty complete. Zimbra does look very nice though.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd

    no 16GB limits
    with Exchange 2k3 sp2, the limit is 75GB. Still a limit, but it's much more generous.

    For simplicity, I'd go for exchange. You can have it up and running in under and hour. If you've got time to fiddle zimbra looks cool.

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    @Geoff - thanks, I'll take those points off the 'advantages' list

    Have you tried the 2k3 version? it's pretty complete. Zimbra does look very nice though
    No, I have seen it in action though. I was hoping someone could point out some of the things OWA can do that we wouldn't get with Zimbra -on the face of it Zimbra has more functionality but I might have missed something. -also does OWA 2003 work properly with non-ie browsers?

    For simplicity, I'd go for exchange. You can have it up and running in under and hour. If you've got time to fiddle zimbra looks cool.
    I had zimbra installed and configured in no time at all and hte configuration is all web-based and is straightfoward (i've no exchange MCP so I can't really compare -but I know we do have more problems with Ex2000 than with our OSS email servers). I guess the real issue would be actually doing the migration (120 staff) whereas I guess an upgrade on exchange would just upgrade.

    Also - what sort of licensing would we need to put all students (1650) onto exchange? how much would this cost? and what are the benefits?

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    For simplicity, I'd go for exchange. You can have it up and running in under and hour.
    Zimbra is a 20min install more or less.

    You also might want to evaluate Scalix too.

    http://www.scalix.com/

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    @Geoff - thanks, I'll take those points off the 'advantages' list

    Have you tried the 2k3 version? it's pretty complete. Zimbra does look very nice though
    No, I have seen it in action though. I was hoping someone could point out some of the things OWA can do that we wouldn't get with Zimbra -on the face of it Zimbra has more functionality but I might have missed something. -also does OWA 2003 work properly with non-ie browsers?

    For simplicity, I'd go for exchange. You can have it up and running in under and hour. If you've got time to fiddle zimbra looks cool.
    I had zimbra installed and configured in no time at all and hte configuration is all web-based and is straightfoward (i've no exchange MCP so I can't really compare -but I know we do have more problems with Ex2000 than with our OSS email servers). I guess the real issue would be actually doing the migration (120 staff) whereas I guess an upgrade on exchange would just upgrade.

    Also - what sort of licensing would we need to put all students (1650) onto exchange? how much would this cost? and what are the benefits?

    I can probably let you have a play with my OWA setup, if you promise not to email [ALL] "I pwned Alex he is a n00b etc" . That might give you a better overview than me trying to explain all the nuances.

    I tend to assume anything installed on linux is going to take 5 weeks, you'll have to excuse my bias, linux and I dont get on too well (my lack of knowledge, inclination and a bit of bad luck no doubt).

    Pricing wise Exchange CALs are £1.25 each last time I checked edu pricing (about a year ago). Do it on a per workstation basis for licensing - works out better in this instance. Exchange was £95 last time I checked.

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    I can probably let you have a play with my OWA setup, if you promise not to email [ALL] "I pwned Alex he is a n00b etc" Smile. That might give you a better overview than me trying to explain all the nuances.
    Thanks Alex, this would be good. I'd like to get a good comparison if its easy enough for you to setup. I promise I'll be good (won't be sending any >75GB attachments lol!)

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    Another point re mailstore sizes: The mailstore size limitation is for Exchange Standard only. If you use Exchange Enterprise Edition you're only limited by the amount of space you have on your server. Exchange Ent costs about £215 from Ramesys iirc.

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Norphy
    Another point re mailstore sizes: The mailstore size limitation is for Exchange Standard only. If you use Exchange Enterprise Edition you're only limited by the amount of space you have on your server. Exchange Ent costs about £215 from Ramesys iirc.
    Education pricing 4tw \o/

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    I tend to assume anything installed on linux is going to take 5 weeks, you'll have to excuse my bias, linux and I dont get on too well (my lack of knowledge, inclination and a bit of bad luck no doubt).
    Depends if you have inhouse Linux expertise or not. IMHO its something you should seriously look for if your thinking of employing new people. It'll save you buckets of cash.

    Also go find your nearest LUG. They've been known install and support Linux based systems in schools for free.

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    Re: zimbra as an exchange replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    I tend to assume anything installed on linux is going to take 5 weeks, you'll have to excuse my bias, linux and I dont get on too well (my lack of knowledge, inclination and a bit of bad luck no doubt).
    Depends if you have inhouse Linux expertise or not. IMHO its something you should seriously look for if your thinking of employing new people. It'll save you buckets of cash.

    Also go find your nearest LUG. They've been known install and support Linux based systems in schools for free.
    I don't work in education any more

    That said, I do have a couple of chaps who specialise in Linux - they tend to deal with our older web servers though.

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