... but after a year, we won't be continuing using Zimbra. Our renewal is coming up this month, and we won't be extending.
Here is the background. We are a reasonably small office - 20 users, and we run Microsoft SBS Server in house. We also have sugar, zimbra, and our web hosting platform (all LAMP) sitting out in a hosting center somewhere. Our use of proprietary software is limited to SBS, Windows, and Microsoft Office. everything else we use on our systems is open source. We donate, use paid support, and provide tangible support to all open source projects we use the software of. I note this to make sure it is clear we are strong supporters of open source.
The reason we are now switching to Microsoft Exchange, after a year of Zimbra, are as follows:
1. Cost. We use a Microsoft Open Value license. Exchange is part of that license, and it is cheaper for us to license this way, as opposed to using default office licenses. Zimbra isn't cheap. Moreover, the way licenses are sold is very difficult to justify to my Board: They want to know why we need to pay for 50 licenses, when we only have 20 users. I explained how we have several "system" accounts, to manage spam and documents and such, and how these system accounts also use up seats. I explained how I asked Zimbra about this, and was rather rudely rebuffed. I explained Zimbra only licenses in blocks of 25 seats, seriously screwing their prime target market - small businesses.
Needless to say, my Board was not impressed.
2. Reliability. We pride ourselves on running a smooth IT operation. We only have a few users, but that is no excuse for having a messy network. Also, we run a rather large website, and that is where we want and need to spend our time. We don't want to waste our time with Office IT, and PC's etc. We have auto-install and auto-fix for almost everything. We invested some time in ensuring this was all engineered well, and left it at that. Our primary source of technical issues were all about Zimbra, and Zimbra + Outlook. the outlook connector not working, emails going missing, emails not being delivered, emails, emails, emails. Various Zimbra issues made up 65% of our trouble tickets, and accounted for 85% of our support time on Office IT in the last 12 months. Zimbra is installed according to the book, no funny hacks, no nothing. After a year of non-engagement from the next to useless support at Zimbra, we came to the conclusion that the Outlook connector is flaky at best.
Add to this the logging system going on the fritz more or less permanently, and many, many other issues and niggles, and we can conclude that Zimbra's backend needs more work, and the Outlook connector seriously needs to be fixed.
3. Mobile. Blackberry integration is a joke.
4. Sales. The sales team are the dregs. Never big fan of sales, I have found the Zimbra sales persons to be utterly useless, rude, and deserving of my contempt. Questions are answered rudely, if at all, and many questions are simply not responded to. The Zimbra sales team is beyond unprofessional.
5. Users. My users hate Zimbra with a passion. Primarily due to the unreliability issues I have weekly requests to move to something else. My users no longer *trust* our email system, and prefer to use hotmail or gmail for their email needs.
There is more, but there are the really *serious* issues.
I wish you all the best of luck. You will need it.