Zimbra Roadmap and VMware Integration Webinar Plus Q&A

By | May 25, 2010

As you may have noticed, we have just posted the recording of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite 6-to-7 and VMware Overview webinar. This was hugely popular — hundreds of customers, partners and community members attended — because it covered three critical areas of Zimbra’s future:

  • What’s in ZCS 6.0 (powerful new admin features, Enterprise support and usability improvements) as well as near-term additions (such as support for Android, BES 5.0, BES Express, and Outlook 2010).
  • The roadmap of ZCS 7.0 and beyond: a fascinating discussion of calendar wizards, powerful distribution lists, workspaces, and IM changes.
  • The future with VMware: how Zimbra fits within the VMware stack and the value it brings to the Zimbra environment (notably an appliance, vSphere integration for DR, HA and site recovery).

 
We also received many excellent questions – too many to answer during the live session, so we’ll cover the remaining here:

Q: Zimlets, IMHO, should allow push as well as pull; akin to what IM does at the moment.  Realtime phone apps require that capability to allow popups in a client session.
A: Real-time push and pull updates are fully supported in the ZWC, Zimlet should be able to do the same.

Q: Is the IM server connection change slated for the Network or Open Source Edition?
A: External XMPP proxy/interop it is scheduled for both.

Q: Do you have public calendars for appointments or a conference room? And only certain people can reserve timeframe and all others can view?
A: The use case here is akin to a “board room” where only certain people have rights to book the room, but everyone can view the availability of that room. The answer is yes: you can create a public calendar for the conference room as a resource, and then permit only specific users to reserve that resource.

Q: Better quarantining of emails, AS/AV stats. and per user prefs. akin to MailScanner and MailWatch
A: Zimbra team is expanding its anti-spamming and anti-virus functionality. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, you may want to consider using some postfix capable methods.

Q: Any word on per-user read state on messages?
A: The use case here is when multiple users have access to a single account, one user clicking on a message will mark it as read for all other future users. The feature enhancement (individual user state on shared messages) takes significant effort, has not been committed yet, but is discussed thoroughly in bugzilla. If this is a feature you feel is crucial, please vote for it or mention so in a support case.

Q: Would email tracking likely to be a feature that will be added back in; since zmmsgtrace was pulled?
A: There is a enhancement request for a tracing replacement, but have not yet released a schedule; stay tuned for more details. If you feel this is a key feature, please comment on its implementation in bugzilla.

Q: Which of the features are targeted @ the FOSS or the Network Edition?
A: We generally don’t make final decisions until we approach the release date. Check pm.zimbra.com for specific feature release information, and vote for the features you see as most valuable.

Q: Will Zimbra DR allow realtime replication and from a multi-tenant experience allow geo connection to the most appropriate server ?
A: We are going to leverag all of the High Availability and Data Recovery options that are provided by vSphere (and partners). We’re also looking at additional capabilities beyond that using direct server sync – stay tuned.


Q: VMware recommends single processor vms for best performance. Looking forward to easier multi-component zimbra installation or guide.
A: The VMware team suggests using the fewest number of virtual cpus required to satisfy the workload. If you need four, you should use four. See the new Zimbra on vSphere Recommendations wiki article for more information.

Q: Will VMware Update Manager take care of the updates?
A: Look for future announcements – perhaps for a release sometime in 2011.

Q: With respect to the appliance, would one be allowed to tune SA and CLAMAV?
A: By design, there is no CLI or shell in the Zimbra Appliance. It’s built for simplicity of management, so all configuration and administration will be done through a new web-based streamlined UI; likewise if something is not in our current admin console it’s probably not built into the appliance yet either.

Q: Could you expand on the AD / External Auth changes that you will be making? In connection with that, will you be able to deploy Zimbra and have it automatically keep in sync with users in Active Directory?
A: For the appliance, there will be a one time bulk import.
Here are the RFE’s: 44835 | 45223 | 45174 Please vote for the features that are important to you.
For ZCS, we are not making any AD/ External Auth changes. Zmexternaldirsync does this today.

Q: Any plans to improve the management console for zimbra network edition, i.e. Monitoring and Status tools? I would like to see the kind of admin tools you’d find with mdaemon or other similar apps. Right now it’s slow and doesn’t provide much visual feedback.
A: We’re working with Hyperic for additional monitoring and reporting capabilities. We have not released a schedule yet, more details soon.

Q: Are there firm time lines on 32 bit phaseout?
A: The end of 7.0 will be the last time 32-bit is supported, and the dates are not yet finalized. Therefore, it will be quite some time before 32-bit is depreciated. We recommend that you move to 64-bit if you are new to Zimbra or planning an upgrade. See the phase out FAQ for more details.

Q: Will migration from physical 32 bit system to Appliance be built in to appliance? or have migration tool to perform this?
A: The zimbra-to-zimbra migration tool is completely independent of the hardware. You should be able to migrate from a 32-bit machine to the appliance without a problem.

Q: There has been a lot of contention on the forums about the priority of particular rfe’s/bugs; now with greater resources would Zimbra look at a different type of voting mechanism?
A: If you are having trouble with the current methods or a hitting ‘show-stopper’ issue please contact the community mangers to help you. (As always, customers also have the option of directing inquires through support to raise their urgency.) Having said this, we’re always open to new ideas for the community process. If you prefer a specific voting mechanism, we’d like to hear about it – and the 7.0 detailed roadmap will be open soon.

Q: Scaling on VMWare… it’s going to be 2011 before we’ll be able to run mailbox servers on VM with thousands of accounts per mailbox?
A: Zimbra already supports thousands of mailboxes in a virtualized environment. The Zimbra Appliance, which will require little-to-no configuration or administration — a “cloud in a box” — is slated for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Q: What about official CentOS support?
A: Since one cannot get support at the operating system provider level, our technical staff can’t 100% support it. Having said that, it should perform similarly to RHEL.

Q: Is HSM going to change?
A: The Hierarchical Storage Management in the Network Edition doesn’t have any major changes targeted till 8.0 server. (We did add the ability to offload other items besides messages in 6.0 with a search type query.) There are no plans on adding HSM to the Open Source Edition.

Q: Are there plans to allow installation on big iron like HP IA64 ? (RX range)
A: Not yet, as there does not appear to be a business case to build and test on big iron. You can file this as a feature enhancement and ask others to vote for it.

Q: How do I find new zimlets?
A: We have a renewed Zimlet plugins site with more than 80 contributions. Look for future additions such as a revamp social & IM zimlets, additional salesforce integration, webex changes, smart scheduler and many others: gallery.zimbra.com

Q: ZCS web question: Being able to separate windows from Zimbra is nice for emails. How about having that for all of the other apps (contacts, calendar etc)?
A: Yes, this is something we are working on. An example is tabbed calendaring, which is slated for version 7.

Q: Will there be tool to bulk loading documents into Briefcase, especially if supporting collaborating workgroups?
A: Yes, there will be a migration tool. And at some point in the future, we’ll have multi-file import in the web-client. If you are looking for convenient file sync today, so far we’ve built-in webDAV support.

Q: Looking forward to whitepapers and wiki for vmware/zimbra. Encourage?. mailto is also a problem for us.
A: Whitepapers and wikis are soon to come. Were looking into EWS for Entourage. The Zimbra Desktop does work with mailto links. It is defaulted off (to change it, go to the preferences and select zimbra desktop as the default mailto handler).

Q: Can you mention the URL for the new dev Wiki?
A: A good place to start wiki.zimbra.com/wiki/ZCS_6.0:Zimlet_Developers_Guide:Introduction


Links: Video of the above webinar. You can also browse a list of existing or sign-up for upcoming webinars here.


Comments

  • A follow up on this Q&A. Could you please provide a link to documentation of “Zmexternaldirsynch”? Nothing turns up in the Zimbra Wiki and info in the forums, which is sparse, refers to it as Zmexternaldirsync (no “h”).

    Q: Could you expand on the AD / External Auth changes that you will be making? In connection with that, will you be able to deploy Zimbra and have it automatically keep in sync with users in Active Directory?
    A: For the appliance, there will be a one time bulk import.
    Here are the RFE’s: 44835 | 45223 | 45174 Please vote for the features that are important to you.
    For ZCS, we are not making any AD/ External Auth changes. Zmexternaldirsynch does this today.

    Commented on May 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm
  • zmexternaldirsync (previously called zimbrasynctool) can do one way provision, some have even croned it.

    It’s available in the source at //branch/ZimbraServer/src/bin/zmexternaldirsync (there’s some old copies attached to bug 14772 – where we decided not to bundle it in the standard install for several reasons; testing, documentation, support training, etc). There’s also some example config files under //source/ZimbraServer/conf/externaldirsync.

    Use the above at your own risk/backup, it’s not completely hassle free yet. The proper RFE to vote for is bug 7235 – Auto Provision New Accounts with External LDAP (aimed at both auto-creation and auto-removal).

    As bug 44835 plans to add bulk import methods to the appliance (from AD, to CSV, and XML) it’s likely some of that code will make it into the standard ZCS binaries as well.

    Commented on May 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm
  • A: Real-time push and pull updates are fully supported in the ZWC, Zimlet should be able to do the same.

    Is that a definitive yes? and if that being the case is there a sample Zimlet which implements push instead of pull functionality please ?

    Commented on May 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm
  • @UxBod, We don’t have any Zimlet that posts information to outside world. But, you should be able to use the same APIs(for example AjxRPC.invoke) to push whatever information you want from Zimbra to outside service.

    Commented on May 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm
  • Is the VMware Zimbra Appliance only available as the paid Network Edition?

    Commented on May 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm
  • The Zimbra Appliance will be a priced product. The details of the pricing will be available soon.

    Commented on May 27, 2010 at 12:19 am
  • @Raja Rao, it is not the ability to post information to the outside world, but the capability to push information to a zimlet. The example would be a Telephone Popup Zimlet; for which one would receive a call and the PBX would then query the users Zimbra contacts. If a match is found data would be pushed to the Zimlet within the ZWC and popup on the users screen of whom is calling them.

    Commented on May 31, 2010 at 9:24 am
  • A: Real-time push and pull updates are fully supported in the ZWC, Zimlet should be able to do the same.

    Is that a definitive yes? and if that being the case is there a sample Zimlet which implements push instead of pull functionality please ?.

    Commented on June 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm
  • It is a priced product but I think well worth!

    Commented on June 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm