VMWare upgrading Zimbra enterprise email server

VMware plans to make a beta version of an upgrade to itsZimbra Collaboration Server available for download on Wednesday, withshipments in final form scheduled for later this quarter, the companysaid.

Zimbra Collaboration Server 8.0, a major upgrade of this Linux-basedenterprise email and calendaring product, has been designed to beeasier to install and can be integrated with third-party unifiedcommunications tools.

This new version can be installed as a virtual software appliance thatthe company claims can be set up in as little as 10 minutes andthereafter requires little management.

“We want IT administrators and end users to get the benefits of aSaaS-like application whether it runs behind their firewall or ishosted by a service provider,” said John Robb, VMware’s senior directorof collaboration products.

The Zimbra product can be installed on customer premises or hosted inthe cloud by a VMware partner. There are now 85million Zimbra paidmailboxes in use by 250,000 organizations.

The Zimbra Collaboration Server 8.0 can be integrated with Cisco andMitel unified communications products to mesh with Zimbra productfunctionality like IM and presence, IP telephony, web meetings andvideo conferencing, the company said.

“Out of the box” integration
In addition to the deep, “out of the box” integration capabilities withCisco and Mitel products, the Zimbra server can also be manually linkedwith other unified communications products through a softwaredevelopment kit.

Other enhancements in version 8 include an expanded searchfunctionality, a redesign of the user interface and more calendarfeatures, such as scheduling suggestions for meetings with manyparticipants, according to the company.

To simplify provisioning of accounts, Zimbra can tap into Microsoft’sActive Directory or other LDAP directories and get the end user data.

For existing customers, the process of upgrading to version 8 willresult in less than 60 seconds of mailbox downtime, according to VMware.

The Zimbra server can be accessed via a variety of clients, including aZimbra web interface, a Zimbra desktop application, third-party emailclients like Microsoft Outlook and mobile devices including iOS,BlackBerry, Android and Windows devices.

The product starts at US$25 per user, per year in its hosted version,and $45 per user for a perpetual, on-premise license.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprisecommunication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers andgeneral technology breaking news for The IDG News Service.Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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