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Thread: Multi location/sever install

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    fhouston is offline Active Member
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    Default Multi location/sever install

    I'm trying to find some info on if/how this is possible. We have two different physical locations w/ different users and what we want to know is if each site has its own zimbra server/install is it possible to have the two of them interconnect so they seem to be on the same server (ability to schedule meetings, share resources/documents/etc)? I'm looking around the admin app but not seeing anything off hand that leads me to believe this sort of thing is possible.

    TIA

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    gnyce is offline Advanced Member
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    you absolutely can - we are doing that now, as many other locations are (esp. large ones). It is called a multi-server installation....

    Multiple-Server Installation

    Zimbra Documentation Links - Zimbra :: Wiki

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    Not sure why you want to geographically disperse your Zimbra servers?

    If the reason you want Zimbra servers in each physical location is because of poor Internet connectivity at one or both of the sites, then you would be better off deploying Zimbra Desktop at the site with the poorer Internet connectivity (assuming an upgrade in connectivity is not available).

    If the reason you want Zimbra servers in each physical location is to provide Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity, some sites do run DRDB and Heartbeat for failover, but Zimbra does not support WAN replication at the moment like Exchange 2010 does for example.

    Regardless, you may also want to consider the use of subdomains. Raj has a great writeup on this that may be useful: Multi-country secondary servers

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

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    fhouston is offline Active Member
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    More a matter of historical corporate structure. We have always been one organization but w/ two different location. The primary one [let's call it foo.com] is larger, has a more developed infrastructure and is slow to change. The second one (where I work, we'll call a.foo.com) has traditionally been left alone to do what they want to do and there was little interaction between the two on a network/infrastructure level (aside from the fact we are subdomain of the main company, we have our own network space/IPs though). Recently we've gone through a reorganization and the powers that be are trying to eliminate (from an outside perspective) a.foo.com as much as possible. Before the reorg we (a.foo.com) started working on switching over to Zimbra, and it seems they are going to let us continue doing that but they are not going to change at this time. They have setup a test server of their own now though so I'm thinking if I can start showing some interaction benefits that I might be able to get them to think about maybe deploying a production server. However that is going to be a long process and I don't want to wait for them before we get ours up and running. So it's really more an interconnectivity thing than a disaster recovery thing. Maybe if both organizations do finally move over to Zimbra we can readdress the issue of whether or not there should be two servers w/ different users, but for right now I have my users, they have their users and if we can share resources (calendars and what not) that would be great.

    Make sense?

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    You can publish and lookup free/busy information in Zimbra, and Zimbra supports domain renaming, domain aliases and email forwarding and multiple non-Zimbra email accounts.

    So, it seems to me you could run with Zimbra now, share calendars and even expose emails if needed.

    Your users could have a mailbox on the other system and Zimbra could present your users with one Inbox too.

    I agree that these kinds of changes are more political than technical.

    Also, if the bigger office is running Active Directory, if you had a DC in your location you could have Zimbra auth against the DC.

    At the end of the day, consolidating down to one email system does seem the simpler, more cost-effective way to go. If you need help pitching that to management, I'd call Zimbra sales and let them help.

    All the best,
    Mark

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    fhouston is offline Active Member
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    So, it seems to me you could run with Zimbra now, share calendars and even expose emails if needed.
    That was the plan but I noticed that for mail specifically it only allows sharing w/ Internal Users. W/ calendars and other things you can create the share and setup a link but that is outside of the context of the Zimbra application right (aka it won't show up when they are logged into Zimbra)? So is there a way to get their users on their test server to show up as "internal users" for my people and vice versa? (Maybe this is covered in the links gnyce sent, I haven't had a chance to digest those fully yet.)

    WRT what the larger organziation has they are all over the map... I believe they have a small AD setup, I know they have at least one exchange server some of the executives are on, and then most everyone else seems to be a series of Unix sendmail servers. As mentioned we've always run separate shops so I'm not entirely sure how they are setup out there

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    gnyce is offline Advanced Member
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    Mark,

    Perhaps I am being dense here, but why would I _not_ want to put the servers closer to the users? If I have multiple sites, it seems to make sense to limit WAN bandwidth (and increase webmail response time) and get users' mailboxes closer to where they are, esp. if we are talking geographically-dispersed offices that have more than a handful of users (e.g. 50-100). You use the master/slave LDAP setup, mailboxes on each server, you can still fully share folders/calendars/etc, busy-search, IM, all that. Sure, you can use ZDesktop, and it is great, but I see that more for off-line use for traveling, plus which, it doesn't help if mutiple people share a PC, or if people use different workstations. What is the benefit to keeping servers in one location? And why would a multi-server setup with different locations be detrimental? What are the downsides that I may not be seeing?

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    may be you want to check a solution (based on OSS version) i proposed in the following link

    Multi-country secondary servers

    Raj
    i2k2 Networks
    Dedicated & Shared Zimbra Hosting Provider

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnyce View Post
    Mark,

    Perhaps I am being dense here, but why would I _not_ want to put the servers closer to the users? If I have multiple sites, it seems to make sense to limit WAN bandwidth (and increase webmail response time) and get users' mailboxes closer to where they are, esp. if we are talking geographically-dispersed offices that have more than a handful of users (e.g. 50-100). You use the master/slave LDAP setup, mailboxes on each server, you can still fully share folders/calendars/etc, busy-search, IM, all that. Sure, you can use ZDesktop, and it is great, but I see that more for off-line use for traveling, plus which, it doesn't help if mutiple people share a PC, or if people use different workstations. What is the benefit to keeping servers in one location? And why would a multi-server setup with different locations be detrimental? What are the downsides that I may not be seeing?
    Email is pretty mission critical for all of our hosting and most of our premises-based clients.

    In our experience, the key benefits of a single location for a mission-critical Zimbra farm are simplicity, reliability, availability and lower costs.

    Putting all the Zimbra servers in a data center means that for each office you need only "good enough" Internet connectivity and a modest firewall/router.

    Those cost savings typically more than pay for data center hosting -- especially as you increase the number of offices.

    Let's say you have mailbox servers in both offices. If the Internet goes down in one office, users will be unable to get their mail even if they go home or to Starbucks to work.

    So, to insure against that, you'll need to improve the reliability of each office's Internet access, typically with either more expensive, reliable connectivity or carrier-diverse connectivity. If the latter, then you need a load-balancing/failover firewall and you have a whole host of public DNS issues with which to deal as your Zimbra mailbox server now has two distinct public IP addresses. Regardless, that adds to costs and complexity.

    If you have MTAs in each office, you'll need a beefier firewall and some more bandwidth to deal with all the garbage.

    But, if you put your Zimbra servers in a data center, then each office can have a low-cost low-bandwidth, dynamic IP single Internet connection and a low-cost simple firewall. Worst case, get something like a SonicWall TZ-210, an inexpensive second Internet connection from a different carrier (e.g. DSL and cable modem) -- both with dynamic IPs -- and you are set.

    Also don't forget that (depending on where you are in the US), each server can add $15 - $25 per month to your electric bill. Not a lot of money, but it adds up.

    And then you need a server room in each office, remote access... and if you have HIPAA, Sarb-Ox or other regulatory requirements, that adds to office hosting costs as well.

    I'll stop ranting now!

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

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