Hosted Email: Zimbra And Open Source Sneak Up On Exchange

When it comes to hosted email, why zig when you can zag? That explains the strategy at EtomicMail, a managed service provider that's hosting Zimbra -- an open source email platform -- rather than Microsoft Exchange.

Here's a look at EtomicMail's strategy, and the potential lessons learned for rival managed service providers.



Lots of MSPs are focused on Microsoft at the moment, because the software giant earlier this month announced its partner and pricing strategy for hosted Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint.

But EtomicMail isn't getting caught up in the Microsoft buzz. Based in San Diego, EtomicMail says it has been managing email for customers since 2001. But this isn't another Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes story. Rather, EtomicMail embraced Zimbra -- the open source email platform that Yahoo acquired in September 2007.

Zimbra is particularly popular within colleges and universities, which need to balance collaboration with scalability, security and privacy. As of mid-2007, more than 100 colleges were running Zimbra. Today, that figure exceeds 300 colleges, notes Matt Asay at CNet.

Another reason Zimbra has become popular: It's cross-platform, running on Windows, Linux or even Apple servers.

Meanwhile, Back At EtomicMail

With an eye on Zimbra, EtomicMail designed a range of email hosting and archiving solutions under a managed services framework. Also, EtomicMail partnered with MX Logic and several of MSP-centric software providers.

Translation: EtomicMail, like many progressive MSPs, is snapping together multiple components (Zimbra, MX Logic, etc.) to offer customized managed services to their customers.

I've sent EtomicMail a quick note requesting an update on their hosted Zimbra email strategy. I'll report back as soon as I hear more.
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