Zimbra Collaboration Server (ZCS) is software that is installed on Linux or Mac OS X servers (generally by an IT administrator). Once installed and configured; end users can access their email, contacts, calendars, documents (and more) on a variety of end points the ZCS server communicates with. These include the ZCS AJAX Web Client (bundled with the server installation), any POP/IMAP email client (Thunderbird, etc), mobile devices (BlackBerry, Smartphones, mobile web browsers) and even in Microsoft Outlook (via MAPI) and the Apple Desktop clients (Mail, Address Book, iCal via iSync).
To see ZCS without installing the server trial, we recommend you first watch the Zimbra Overview Flash demo. If you want to test drive the actual product, we have a free Hosted Demo account you can use for 2 weeks with sample data.
If you want to test ZCS internally (with your real data, etc) we recommend that you ask your IT administrator to download and install our free 60 day Network Edition trial.
If you are a smaller organization or individual with limited technical resources but want an enterprise-class service we recommend that you try an on-demand deployment. Zimbra has many 3rd party Hosting Partners around the world to whom you can outsource Zimbra hardware and maintenance. This is convenient and allows you to purchase Zimbra for one or more users for a nominal monthly fee.
On-site deployment. The best way to test the full capability of ZCS is with real data in your planned deployment configuration. We recommend that you download and install our free 60 day Network Edition trial. Note this is a server install for Linux and Mac servers (not Windows servers). If you are a Windows administrator we recommend you try Zimbra as a Virtual Appliance.
On-demand deployment. If installing software is not an option for your organization (e.g. you want to outsource the hardware maintenance to a 3rd party), you can contact one of our many worldwide Hosting Partners who quite often provide free trials as well.
Network Edition is the most robust version of ZCS and is normally used by most organizations (service providers, businesses and education and government organizations) for its enterprise class features. Network Edition has an annual software subscription with maintenance, updates, and patches, as well as product support and value-added services.
Open Source Edition is great for individuals or smaller organizations that want basic email and collaboration but do not require enterprise features. Open Source Edition does not include support or software subscription, and is free in perpetuity. (Users of the Open Source Edition need not have any formal relationship with Zimbra, but must comply with the open source licensing terms under which the ZCS software is licensed to you.)
For more information please compare the product editions.