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Thread: Yahoo selling Zimbra news?

  1. #61
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by linxunet View Post
    Without being rude, but how would your clients hosted with your services cope or survive a 9/11 catastrohpic incident near your location, a bit over the top I dont think so, the devestation created to IT companys over the globe by the 9/11 incident proved it, just here in Manchester England a fire in one of the the metro tunnels took out main relay services for over a week effecting thousands of businesses, BT one of our biggest network providers disruption on it's main routing relays again effected thousands of users, this is not scare tactics but does illustrate you are just as vulnerable with hosted solutions and these outages happen a lot more then people are willing to acknowledge. If it were just email then it would not be too bad, but more and more businesses are trusting hosting services with their contacts, calendars, tasks, documents and online storage and like everything it's great when there is no problem, but when it goes bad, it can be devastating for the busnesses effected.

    This does not mean that SMBs are emmune to disasters but when some of the above took place, at least only internet activity was lost, and if a server dies, with the backup scripts created by myself and others within the zimbra community can have them back up and running within an half a day (in most cases we have responded with a system rebuild within a couple of hours) and 99% of our clients are using the Zimbra Community Edition.

    I think that there is a large SMB population that can and would benefit from in-house hosting whether it be OS or NE versions of Zimbra. I also beleive that Zimbra must compete with MS Exchange at the same user level which I call ZimbraSMB packs, and futher beleive that the SMB revenue that they could reap would awesome to say the least.

    How much would it cost Zimbra to implement 5, 10, 15 & 20 ZimbraSMB licence packs a few hundred dollars at most, as most of the work has already been done through the use of the licence keys, compare it to the vast rewards Zimbra would get from it makes no sense for them not to do it, so come on Zimbra open your eyes and let the SMBs prove to you that we can make Zimbra work no matter what environment it's placed, hosted or in-house.

    Kind regards

    Kerry
    Totally agree!

  2. #62
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    dwmtractor is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMStone View Post
    P.S., Just curious what the D/R plan is for your two clients... What happens if their offices burn down? How quickly can you get a working email system back up and running for them with all of their email restored? Or do they accept that they don't need that capability? And if they don't, then email isn't really critical for them - and using a self-hosted FOSS deployment is perfectly fine for a client like that. Not trying to take a poke here, just pointing out that Mike and I were talking about clients for whom email is very mission critical. Different rules apply in those cases I think it is fair to say, yes?
    You are quite right, Mark, that DR is the weak link in local hosting. My two clients have responded differently to the same instructions from me. One of the two has a backup box in a separate building, where I ftp the nightly OS-scripted backup of ZCS. For them, recovery would be grabbing another box, installing ZCS, and restoring the backup which would give them all email but the stuff since the last nightly backup, i.e. all but the last (not more than) 24 hours. The two buildings are separated by sufficient distance that it would take a bomb, not just a fire, to take them both out.

    The other client has not seen fit to take my advice. But he's also a good example of why I think your downtime/maintenance cost estimates may be a bit high. In three-plus years, his downtime has been exactly one morning (when ZCS blew up the clam AV signatures and I had to clear & reload). Maintenance has been nigh onto zero; I just log in and do an apt-get upgrade once in a great while and a version upgrade even more infrequently. Probably doesn't cost him more than $500/year (usually under half that) for in the neighborhood of 15 mailboxes, with webmail, spam and virus filtering, and all the goodies of ZCS as part of the package. I don't know any host anywhere that can meet that threshold.

    But the real issue that I wish Zimbra marketing dudes would get, is that they are leaving money on the table by not offering such an option. It's not like the SMBs that would buy it, are ponying up for NE instead, nor (I suspect) are they coming to you and other hosting providers. They're sucking it up and sticking with what they can get in FOSS and whining that they don't have an alternative. In other words, Zimbra are leaving money on the table which would be additional revenue with little to no additional investment (presuming they would sell the license w/no support other than forums except by additional fee). That's what blows my mind.
    Cheers,

    Dan

  3. #63
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    Mike, as to syncing your mobile, that's not entirely true. I have FOSS and two different kinds of users sync to it. One, Blackberry users with BIS sync using BIS-thru-webmail, and two, Windows Mobile users use IMAP. Both work quite well for email, though neither works for contacts/calendaring.

    I dunno if iPhone has the option of IMAP (particularly using IMAP-SSL), but if it does, you should be able to sync that up with Zimbra just fine.
    Cheers,

    Dan

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by linxunet View Post
    Without being rude, but how would your clients hosted with your services cope or survive a 9/11 catastrohpic incident near your location, a bit over the top I dont think so, the devestation created to IT companys over the globe by the 9/11 incident proved it, just here in Manchester England a fire in one of the the metro tunnels took out main relay services for over a week effecting thousands of businesses, BT one of our biggest network providers disruption on it's main routing relays again effected thousands of users, this is not scare tactics but does illustrate you are just as vulnerable with hosted solutions and these outages happen a lot more then people are willing to acknowledge.
    Hi Kerry,

    No rudeness inferred, so no worries!

    I lived in NYC at the time, and watched the towers go down from my office window. I also lived in London during the early '80s when IRA bombs were very real (missed two of them myself by two blocks each). So I'm very familiar with the disruptions from a disaster like that - natural, terrorist or otherwise.

    We agree that a huge disaster at a data center will impact a greater number of companies than a disaster at just one company's operations.

    But I remain convinced that a proper data center is much more likely to survive from lessor disasters than a small company's IT closet. The data center we use is part of a telephone company; they are mandated to have redundant everything. A few months ago they took a lightning strike. We had about fifteen minutes of downtime, spread over a few 3-5 minute outages as all of the internal routing and BGA announcement changes took effect. Even many large company data centers couldn't handle something like that.

    One way of addressing your concerns is to adopt low-cost Disaster Recovery practices:
    1. Locate your data center far enough away from your company's offices so hat a disaster impacting one location won't impact the other.
    2. Use off-site backups and periodically perform test restores.
    3. Consider investing in low-cost infrastructure you can bring up live quickly in an alternate location.
    4. Educate staff as to what changes will be made in the event of a disaster.


    The above sounds pricey but it doesn't have to be.

    For a number of clients (both self-hosted and whose gear are in data centers), we create Amazon EC2 instances of their production machines and use software which does block-level backups to Amazon EC2. For under 15 cents per GB per month for storage, this is very affordable.

    One of our newspaper clients has never missed a day of publication in more than a hundred years, and they have things down to where they can switch over to EC2 in about 30 minutes. And they have had to do so when some bad code accidentally brought the production system to its knees. The reporters knew what to do in advance, and the paper was produced on time.

    Sure, you can do the same things with very expensive SAN replication and geographically diverse data centers, but it doesn't have to be that way.

    Again, we focus on clients, regardless of size, for whom downtime is frightfully expensive. Small and large (600 employee) medical practices running electronic medical records systems and a three-person lawn care business running a surprisingly sophisticated ERP system are typical of our client base. Size doesn't matter; downtime does.

    So, consequently, we insist on things in servers like redundant power supplies and the like, because over the life of the server such things are, in our view, very cheap insurance. But, we have also utilized used servers for a load balanced Apache farm and other situations where the benefits from new gear with support agreements were made cost ineffective by an architecture that tolerates hardware failure.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

  5. #65
    Chewie71 is offline Trained Alumni
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    Mark,

    I'm always looking for better ways to back up client data. Can I ask what software you use to do the block-level backups to EC2? Anything you can point me to where I could learn about that would be great.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  6. #66
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    A number of the "cloud backup" software will do this, but our current preference du jour is JungleDisk, which just got bought by Rackspace. So now, you can have your data backed up to either Amazon S3 or Rackspace's own "cloud" (which as near as we can tell is a big storage farm in Rackspace's own data center.)

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

  7. #67
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmtractor View Post
    Mike, as to syncing your mobile, that's not entirely true. I have FOSS and two different kinds of users sync to it. One, Blackberry users with BIS sync using BIS-thru-webmail, and two, Windows Mobile users use IMAP. Both work quite well for email, though neither works for contacts/calendaring.

    I dunno if iPhone has the option of IMAP (particularly using IMAP-SSL), but if it does, you should be able to sync that up with Zimbra just fine.
    My iPhone works fine via IMAP/SSL but really I would like to offer my customers calender and contact sync.

  8. #68
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMStone View Post
    Hi Kerry,

    No rudeness inferred, so no worries!

    I lived in NYC at the time, and watched the towers go down from my office window. I also lived in London during the early '80s when IRA bombs were very real (missed two of them myself by two blocks each). So I'm very familiar with the disruptions from a disaster like that - natural, terrorist or otherwise.

    We agree that a huge disaster at a data center will impact a greater number of companies than a disaster at just one company's operations.

    But I remain convinced that a proper data center is much more likely to survive from lessor disasters than a small company's IT closet. The data center we use is part of a telephone company; they are mandated to have redundant everything. A few months ago they took a lightning strike. We had about fifteen minutes of downtime, spread over a few 3-5 minute outages as all of the internal routing and BGA announcement changes took effect. Even many large company data centers couldn't handle something like that.

    One way of addressing your concerns is to adopt low-cost Disaster Recovery practices:
    1. Locate your data center far enough away from your company's offices so hat a disaster impacting one location won't impact the other.
    2. Use off-site backups and periodically perform test restores.
    3. Consider investing in low-cost infrastructure you can bring up live quickly in an alternate location.
    4. Educate staff as to what changes will be made in the event of a disaster.


    The above sounds pricey but it doesn't have to be.

    For a number of clients (both self-hosted and whose gear are in data centers), we create Amazon EC2 instances of their production machines and use software which does block-level backups to Amazon EC2. For under 15 cents per GB per month for storage, this is very affordable.

    One of our newspaper clients has never missed a day of publication in more than a hundred years, and they have things down to where they can switch over to EC2 in about 30 minutes. And they have had to do so when some bad code accidentally brought the production system to its knees. The reporters knew what to do in advance, and the paper was produced on time.

    Sure, you can do the same things with very expensive SAN replication and geographically diverse data centers, but it doesn't have to be that way.

    Again, we focus on clients, regardless of size, for whom downtime is frightfully expensive. Small and large (600 employee) medical practices running electronic medical records systems and a three-person lawn care business running a surprisingly sophisticated ERP system are typical of our client base. Size doesn't matter; downtime does.

    So, consequently, we insist on things in servers like redundant power supplies and the like, because over the life of the server such things are, in our view, very cheap insurance. But, we have also utilized used servers for a load balanced Apache farm and other situations where the benefits from new gear with support agreements were made cost ineffective by an architecture that tolerates hardware failure.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark
    I think the systems in the US are a long way from what we have in the UK. Again it isn't the data centres availability that we are concerned about it's the reliability of the lines coming into our offices. We regularly have problems in the UK whether it's BT based or ISP based or whatever. From complete failure to just plain slow internet speed. Enough to make us very nervous about relying on this for our critical applications. The boss of one of the companies I look after said to me just two days ago when referring to Google Docs that he just doesn't want sensitive business information stored externally to our offices on someone else's servers. This is a valid concern from huge companies to one man bands. So we want to run our own servers and we don't want to pay for 25 users when there might be under five.

  9. #69
    tgx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scholes View Post
    The boss of one of the companies I look after said to me just two days ago when referring to Google Docs that he just doesn't want sensitive business information stored externally to our offices on someone else's servers. This is a valid concern from huge companies to one man bands. So we want to run our own servers and we don't want to pay for 25 users when there might be under five.
    This is my observation as well. There are many companies that will not allow data to be stored in the cloud. Some companies will not be able to do so through contractual obligations with other companies to not store data in these environments. While I think 5 users is a bit small for a host your own solution, why would I not sell to you if that's what you want? Just seems silly. I love companies that turn away money...it's not like you can't also sell them a support contract and I highly doubt they would generate proportionately more support tickets. Furthermore many of these small licenses are actually needed by VAR resellers that are trying to sell into these small shops with odd requirements.

  10. #70
    samgreco is offline Loyal Member
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    Most of my clients are >10 users. Virtually all of them will not accept the cloud option. Logically it all makes sense. But emotionally they just can't deal with the idea that all of their stuff lives on someone else systems and is not in "their control." I have learned from many years in sales before I went techy, that you can't win an emotional argument.

    One of my systems (a little over a year ago) was for a company with 6 employees, one remote. They bought a basic Dell Poweredge with SBS 2003 and an additional 5 user cal. It cost them less than $1200. Hardware and software. 3 external hard drives for around $300 for backup. They haven't spent a cent since on software or hardware. My maintenance has been nill. I would love more billable hours from them, but just hasn't needed it.

    I would have suggested Zimbra, but couldn't justify the expense. Since they needed AS, FOSS wouldn't do.

    Although I have to say, I now use my iPhone with Zimbra FOSS using IMAP for mail, iCal for calendar. I tried Funambol for Contacts, but it insisted on copying ALL contacts including emailed. Very messy. But otherwise I am quite happy with that solution.

    So yes, I would LOVE to see a 5, 10 15 user licensing scheme. I would much rather sell Zimbra, but these days, I'll sell whatever they want.

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