The Zimbra Appliance is our first major step post acquisition to integrate Zimbra and VMware products and provide a simplified IT experience for administrators and their users. We have spent the last 5 months speaking with VMware and Zimbra customers and re-affirming their need for a simplified collaboration software stack that embraces the IT Platform of the future.
The call for simplicity reflects changes in the overall IT landscape driven by the evolution of user, administrator and datacenter requirements – many of these inspired by events in the consumer market. Whether it is the simplicity of the Amazon Kindle, the open platform of Facebook or the cross platform support of Twitter, users and administrators expect applications to be easier to use and deliver than ever before.
Here is a summary of market drivers influencing the launch of Zimbra Appliance:
Users want applications to be available on any device, anywhere and anytime. These applications need to be available using traditional desktop clients and via the browser. The collaboration cloud is a hub for communications: regardless of device, the user has the context he needs to make decisions — like what flights to take, which purchase orders to accept/reject, or what information should be synced with the CRM system. Additionally, users want to be able to share information with co-workers, partners and other external users. Ted Schadler at Forrester recently wrote about this need to empower users.
Based on these needs and core to the Zimbra Appliance is our support for Zimbra Desktop, an offline cache of the user’s collaboration cloud, and our browser-based support for desktop, touchpad and mobile browsers. Additionally, we continue our support for legacy email clients (Microsoft Outlook) and a wide range of mobile devices (iPhone, Android and BlackBerry).
Administrators’ requirements have also changed and now require a simpler application stack that is easier to deploy, manage and update. Administrative innovations from companies like Saleforce.com and Successfactors have made it easier to deploy, manage and update applications that provide web-based administration tools and a complete software stack (application, operating system and update tools).
As part of offering a collaboration cloud as a complete software bundle, administrators are able to deploy the Zimbra Appliance in under 10 minutes. Beyond a quick set up, the Zimbra Appliance provides administrative tools for self-service, auto update, security policy control and the ability to remotely wipe a mobile device wipe.
The last key change in the IT market that is driving simplification is that organizations want to deploy applications in a private or public cloud. In order to maximize flexibility and drive down the total cost of ownership, applications need to be portable and provide support for standards-based virtualization (OVF) and cross platform back up tools.
The Zimbra team has worked closely with hosting providers like Hosting.com and Contegix as well as many small businesses to make sure that the Appliance can be easily moved from private to personal clouds. Additionally, the Zimbra Appliance supports VMware’s Data Recovery so that administrators can manage multiple applications with a common back up and recovery tool.
This is just the first step on our efforts to integrate with other VMware products and continue our mission is to simplify IT and to provide a collaboration cloud that can run anywhere. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.
Check out a video of the Zimbra Appliance for more information: