Troy Murray writes:
> I enjoyed attending the MSU IT Exchange last Friday to discuss the technology direction and concerns for the University as well as to share ideas on what might be the best solutions.
> In particular the topic Mr Davis discussed on the current University email system and the possible directions that could be taken with it ("stay the course", replace, upgrade, discontinue, etc) and the thoughts and feelings of the audience. I can see their are some passionate individuals about this topic.
> While I feel the mail system could be better with updates, like a refreshed web interface, I feel there is a much greater need for a University-wide calendar system. I seem to remember Mr Gift commenting on how this topic can be very sensitive with individuals and that one of the biggest challenges with it is personal control to who can access your calendar and what they can see or do.
> Personally I've been looking into the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (http://www.zimbra.com/products/) which seems to provide a fully featured messaging, calendaring, contact management package. The system can be run in a hosted enviroment or purchased and run at the University level on our own servers.
> For those unfamiliar with Zimbra, it provides messaging using all of the standard protocols (POP3, IMAP and SMTP with or without SSL) so stand-alone programs like Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora or Apple Mail.app would work with it. In addition a fancy AJAX webmail interface is provided, as well as a non-fancy HTML one, and a very nice mobile interface for those wishing to access the system that way.
> Zimbra also provides a calendar to each user and allows the user to control access to it from other users. With permissions set users can even "subscribe" to anothers calendar using the iCal standard protocol with programs like Apple's iCal or Mozilla Sunbird (Windows, Linux, Mac) and Microsoft Outlook 2007 or 2003 with a plug-in.
> One advantage I see with this system is that users of Outlook can still maintain their calendar, contacts and mail through Outlook, like they do now, and all of that will be syncronized with the Zimbra server. It even supports Outlook in cached mode. Those of us with Macs can use Mail.app, iCal and Address book and this will sync (using iSync) to the server as well.
> There are a number of other features that I haven't looked at yet, such as instant messaging, creating documents and custom components for VOIP or mapping.
> I see on their web site that they are having some webinars about campus wide messaging using Zimbra, and comparing it to what Google is offering (http://www.zimbra.com/about/webinars.html). I'm curious, has anyone at the "University level" looked at Zimbra as a possible replacement for the current messaging system? Is anyone on campus running Zimbra? If so, what has been your experience with it?
> Just my thoughts to try and get a discussion started on this topic.
I'm a little late jumping into the discussion, but I wanted to let folks
know that ACNS has been evaluating Zimbra. So far it looks like a good
product, but this is one of a few options we're considering. I've attended
some of their other webinars in the past, and found them to be fairly
As some have mentioned, to get all of the features you need to purchase the
commercial version of Zimbra:
Due to the way Zimbra Network Edition is licensed, this could be fairly
expensive due to our high number of user accounts.