Earlier this month, VMware launched the beta version of Zimbra, the mail and collaboration tool which they acquired from Yahoo. The complete version is due out sometime in the third quarter of 2012, although no date has been set as yet. The new version of the software is expected to include more enhancements, such as social media tools and comes in two versions; open source and a commercial network edition so that it can be deployed onsite or via a data centre and used as SaaS.
VMware has changed its somewhat innocuous name of Zimbra though to the much loftier sounding “Zimbra Collaboration Server” and VMware already have more than 85m mailboxes running the software, representing around 250,000 customers. This has grown significantly from when the company bought out the software from Yahoo.
For collaboration, John Robb of VMware told The Register that around 5 to 10% of “collabware” has now migrated to cloud, so there is plenty of scope for resellers and cloud providers to jump on board and capture some more of that market.
"The leading players in email and collaboration used to be Microsoft, IBM, and Novell," says Robb. "Now, people want to be able to move to the cloud, even if they choose not to, and they are evaluating Microsoft, Google, and VMware."
He goes on to say that Mozilla Thunderbird is all but dead and “Outlook is next” as companies and data centres alike are looking for more cloud friendly email services.
“It's all part of what VMware and rival Citrix Systems call the "post-PC era," The Register points out.
Zimbra 8.0 now includes better VoIP integration with Cisco and Mitel and in the case of the former, it also links with WebEx so that meetings can be scheduled and launched from within the client. Further features are also expected to be announced but for the moment VMware haven’t made any confirmation that it will include integration with other VoIP clients.
VMware purchased Zimbra in 2010, when cloud and virtual desktop services accounted for about 10% of their customer base; now, Robb says that this figure is somewhere between 50 and 75%.
A number of add-ons can be found for the application and it provides an easy-to-use interface for simplicity for the end user. It’s also compatible with Windows (XP SP2 min), Mac OS X (Intel) Tiger 10.4.11 or Leopard 10.5.5 and above, as well as Linux (x86) 2.6x and above. However, it doesn’t support PowerPC-based Mac OS.