Zimbra is a groupware email server and web client that connects people and information with unified collaboration software which includes email, calendaring, file sharing, activity streams, social communities and more.
Zimbra is used by thousands of companies, service providers and government agencies including well known businesses like Comcast, Dell, Investec, Red Hat, Mozilla, H&R Block and Vodafone. Zimbra is the third largest collaboration provider in the world thanks to its open source community and worldwide partner network.
Zimbra software consists of both client and server modules. There are two versions of Zimbra available, the open-source version and a commercially supported version, called the Network Edition, with closed-source components such as a proprietary Messaging Application Programming Interface connector to Outlook for calendar and contact synchronisation.
ZCS Web Client is a full-featured collaboration suite that supports email, group calendars and document sharing using an Ajax web interface that enables tooltips, drag-and-drop items, and right-click menus in the UI. Also included are advanced searching capabilities and date relations, online document authoring, “Zimlet” mashups and full administration UI.
The ZCS Server uses several open source projects. It exposes a SOAP application programming interface to all its functionality and is also an IMAP and POP3 server.
Zimbra’s approach to email is a little different than most other desktop clients. Just like a portable device, when you use multiple accounts you can view the inboxes either combined or separately. Emails are displayed as received or threaded. It comes with filters, tags and all the other normal email tools, along with the full control over reply addresses in the form of “personas”. Most users feel that it does a better job than Outlook for handling and organizing emails.
Zimbra resembles a mobile device regarding how it handles contacts and calendars. It syncs directly with online accounts and you can edit your contacts and appointments in Zimbra Desktop and the changes will appear online.
Zimbra Community 8.0
On March 11 of this year Zimbra released Zimbra Community 8.0, which is offered in different editions (free, standard and professional). A new addition to Zimbra Community is a free edition designed for small businesses and individuals who want to leverage the power of social communities to increase social marketing without an upfront investment. The free edition can provide businesses and individuals a solution to drive customer engagement, improve customer satisfaction and build employee loyalty.
“With the release of Zimbra Community Free Edition, organizations of all sizes can now benefit from our team’s experience of powering more than 3,000 communities globally to improve real-time employee and customer collaboration, support and engagement,” said Rob Howard, chief technology officer at Zimbra.
Key features of Zimbra Community 8.0 include advanced analytics that drive enhanced contextual search capabilities, a new mobile interface that enables users to be social everywhere and pre-built templates for fast and easy deployment. The new release extends the community to mobile users, making it possible to stay in touch while on the go.
“As a result of the mobile-first era, organizations demand tools to support users on the go. Plus, businesses are looking to deliver the power of social business networking in a quick and simple manner,” said Howard. “Our new release addresses both of these needs. Zimbra Community 8.0 provides a fast track to community engagement through pre-built templates that decrease costs and deployment time, and extends the community experience to mobile users, giving employees and consumers access to their social communities at any time, on any device.”