VMware and Zimbra: Serious about Microsoft Exchange Battle?
When VMware acquired open-source email system Zimbra from Yahoo! back in January 2010, it raised eyebrows across the channel and begged questions about the virtualization provider’s plans. Now VMware is ready to attack Microsoft Exchange in the enterprise with the launch of the virtual Zimbra Collaboration Suite Appliance, designed to run on the vSphere platform. Here’s the scoop.
The Zimbra appliance is designed to give VMware’s 25,000 partners a cloud-based email and collaboration solution, either hosted in the customer’s data center or delivered by a vCloud provider, according to the press release. In short, as a virtual appliance, it’s on-premise or in the cloud, depending on need. And as The VAR Guy has reported, VMware as of August 1, 2010, empowered its entire channel to promote Zimbra solutions.
With the vSphere cloud platform behind it, VMware says, Zimbra is easily scalable and secure, with backup and disaster recovery functionality to ensure business continuity. The company claims “install to inbox” in ten minutes.
As for the features of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite Appliance itself, VMware boasts easy migration from platforms like Microsoft Exchange, native mobile syncing support across smartphone platforms like iPhone, Palm, and Windows Mobile, an integrated application stack, a web client, web-based administration, and packaging in Open Virtualization Format (OVF), reducing cost and complexity.
The Zimbra Collaboration Suite Appliance is priced at $625 per 25 mailboxes for a perpetual license. Whether or not Zimbra is the tool VMware needs to compete with hosted Microsoft Exchange services, only time will tell.
Oh, and one more thing: We’re hearing some rumors about VMware potentially making another acquisition. We’ll be back with details this week.