Zimbra & Synacor: An in-depth look into the Roadmap for the upcoming months

We are delighted to share with all of you our Roadmap for the upcoming months. Please share your feedback in the comments section of this Blog Post.

Vision & Mission

In terms of our Vision & Mission of our Product, we have the highlights below:

  • Deliver an advanced, feature rich collaboration platform across all devices.
  • Allowing for high levels of safety and security in communications.
  • Services that can be scaled and managed easily, supporting the needs of the smallest mailbox environments to millions of mailboxes.
  • A wide range of applications built into the platform to support collaboration.
  • Advanced services augmenting the product.

Enhanced UI

Roadmap-2015-UINew Web mail interfaces focusing on Usability

  • Existing Zimbra Interface designed around Enterprise and High Feature visibility
  • Next Generation Zimbra UI to be written using modern design standards and focus on usability over features
  • HTML5/Responsive – Desktop UI as well as touch based tablet and phone based

Encrypted Email

This functionality will be included inside Zimbra Collaboration as a native feature. The key idea is to make Encryption in Email simpler.Roadmap-2015-Security1Encrypted email key aspect of business email

  • Various commercial and free add-ons exist to try to fill this gap
  • Many are flawed
  • Adoption is fairly low

Roadmap-2015-Security2

Provide a robust, but easy to use, encryption platform

  • Enterprise Key Management
  • Data at Rest Encryption
  • Full end to end encryption

Updated Management Console

Roadmap-2015-MCExisting Management Console has gaps

  • Customers using Third-party options to fill the gaps
  • Many Service Providers build out their own tools

Zimbra has a robust CLI/API for management

  • Update the web console to better leverage those existing management interfaces
  • Have the existing gaps filled with Zimbra core console options

Zimbra 24×7

Roadmap-2015-247Goals

  • Decouple mailboxes and provide infrastructure fault tolerance
  • Enable rolling upgrades to minimize or eliminate customer service disruptions

Approach

  • Release incremental improvements to the system to avoid risk
  • Address the most difficult problems first
  • Focus on distributed architecture and reducing complexity

Implementation

  • New Core component to Zimbra Server
  • Framework for Distributed Cluster Services (based on Raft Consensus)
  • Allows for concurrent and asynchronous interaction w/ Mailbox resources

Zimbra Chat

Roadmap-2015-chatRich chat experience integrated in the ZCS web client

  • Embedded Click-to-chat in contact cards
  • Integrated presence throughout email experience
  • Pin a conversation to favorites list
  • Search for contacts to initiate conversations
  • Custom status messages

Supports popular XMPP servers – v1

  • Ejabberd, OpenFire, mongooseIM
  • Peer to peer chat
  • Chat with any XMPP enabled user
  • View chat history and missed chats

Built in Zimbra Secure Chat Service – v2

Rest API

Roadmap-2015-API

Updated RESTFUL API

  • Provide an easy to develop against API
  • Turn the Zimbra mail server into a easily accessible data source for application integrations
  • Consumer UI built on top of REST API

Slides in Slideshare

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27 Responses to Zimbra & Synacor: An in-depth look into the Roadmap for the upcoming months

  1. Edward Dpre October 20, 2015 at 9:37 AM #

    Looks good, but what are the timescales? From the roadmap, it looks like we won’t be getting proper HA until some time in 2017!

    “Zimbra 24×7” in particular is sorely needed – Exchange has been doing this for years and we’ve been waiting on Zimbra’s “Always ON” project since 2013!

    Hopefully we will actually see the fruits of this roadmap (at some point), rather than the usual failure to deliver on promises and periodic change of ownership.

  2. Störm Poorun October 20, 2015 at 9:44 AM #

    Thanks for this, glad Synacor will continue Zimbra’s roadmap and commitment to Opensource.

    Concerned that many well-requests enhancement bugs for Tasks, Briefcase, and Contacts remain un-targeted, or had their targeting for v9 removed recently (for example no recurring tasks, no user-defined contact forms, old-fashioned and clunkly contacts search and interface, legacy feel to the briefcase offering).

    Appreciate that holistic changes are important, but stagnation in development of key modules of the suite don’t play well – these apps are the things the end-user most notices and needs.

    User-defined items and forms (as most other suites have) would give the product a increase in usability.

    • Runar October 21, 2015 at 2:50 AM #

      I politely disagree. Zimbra needs new GUIs both for webmail and the admin to stay relevant, and at this point that should be the top priority.

      Probably depends on your userbase as well. Tasks and Briefcase don’t seem to be used at all on the servers we manage, with thousands of users.

      In my eyes this roadmap seems sensible, and making GPG-encryption a primary feature (I hope that’s what they intend to do, as their wording about “encryption” is somewhat vague) may help to keep Zimbra relevant for security conscious organizations, already an important customer group. Nice move.

      I really hope they can pull this off, and that their organization doesn’t get too distracted by all the sales/mergers/whatevers.

    • John October 23, 2015 at 10:10 AM #

      The new UI for webmail and admin panels are indeed critical. As is the need for native iOS and Android Apps.

      Runar, Thing about Tasks, they barely have any true collaboration features which makes them feel clunky and out of date for most of our users. We use tasks internally but find we commonly have to rely on features outside of Tasks to achieve the goals that the application should already handle on its own.

      Encryption is key to progress. Looking forward to native integration rather than having to rely on add-ons. Fortunately for everyone, Zimbra being Open Source with the friendly API allows for extensions such as the OpenPGP Zimlet to fill the need until it can be baked into the platform.

  3. Ignacio October 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM #

    I like the new interface anda the chat feature. Can’t wait to upgrade. Thanks.

  4. Marc October 21, 2015 at 12:20 AM #

    The Roadmap sounds very nice! I’m looking forward to the nice new ui, chat but the best new feature is encryption using PGP! Will this features also included in the open source version? I hope it :)

  5. Jake October 21, 2015 at 7:36 AM #

    This sounds pretty great! Although this part:

    Next Generation Zimbra UI to be written using modern design standards and focus on usability over features

    Sounds good in one breath, but then also sounds bad saying “over features” does this mean the WebUI will loose several of its current features? If so will they be brought back over time?

    Secondly, will any of this stuff reach the Open Source version? If so, which features will not? Where does Synacor stand on Open Source?

    Lastly, does Synacor plan to keep Zimbra? We’ve been using Zimbra since 2013 and it’s already been passed from VMWare to Telligent and now to Synacor.. what is going on? Is there something wrong with Zimbra that is only found out after sale is complete and it becomes get rid of it as soon as possible?

    • John October 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM #

      We’ve been with Zimbra since 2008 and had the very same concerns as you. Frankly, Synacor is absolutely the fit for Zimbra. Why? Because they are a well established Zimbra email provider for many years (since 2006?) with millions of paid Zimbra mailboxes. Might say, “They liked it so much they bought the company.”

      Appears that we owe the pending webmail and admin UI enhancements to Synacor. All part of their commitment to the platform as a Zimbra service provider. Now that they own it they are sharing and incorporating their expertise into the platform for everyone to benefit from.

      The Open Source Edition isn’t going anywhere. The new roadmap indicates commitments to the Open Source and to updating the REST API. If you follow news about Zimbra they have made it clear they plan to continue following the OSE path and are even opening up a paid support option through their VAR program which is something we look forward to as a VAR/BSP partner.

      Article: http://www.cmswire.com/social-business/zimbra-acquired-again-this-time-by-synacor/

      Teligent did some great things for Zimbra, far more than VMware ever did. Sadly, the pairing between a Social CRM and an Email & Collaboration platform didn’t quite create the synergy everyone was hoping for. Now we have new ownership that is very committed to email as a primary product, to Open Source, and to their partners.

  6. INNOVOT October 21, 2015 at 10:23 AM #

    Never mind the UI primary goal should be “Decouple mailboxes and provide infrastructure fault tolerance”

  7. #Vendée_Sepro October 23, 2015 at 3:20 AM #

    Hello,

    Good news for this big update !

    Just one question, what will be the possible number of people in a chat conversation ?

    Thanks for the answer ! :)

  8. Steve Hillman October 23, 2015 at 12:11 PM #

    These updates sound great, but I’d really like to see a timeline. Ever since pm.zimbra.com became dead, we’ve had no view into upcoming releases. This is important for our planning cycles as it takes us months to roll out a new release of Zimbra (updated documentation, testing, integration work)

    Regarding the Zimbra encryption: another great feature, as long as it doesn’t rely on Java on the desktop. Doing “secure” email but requiring Java in the browser is basically a paradox.

    • INNOVOT October 23, 2015 at 12:18 PM #

      Agree with your views Steve. Moving encryption/decryption closer to the ingress/egress point, combined with a Zimlet, would be far better in our opinion. https://www.ciphermail.com/

  9. Jimmy October 24, 2015 at 7:23 AM #

    First of all, thank you for the updated roadmap. It’s good to know where you’re going and when. With that said, I’m very disappointed that the native IOS and Android apps are delayed once again. I’ve been really waiting on these since early 2015, which was the first announced release target. Having done programming, I realize how easy it is to have unexpected problems or events show up to delay a timeline, but now I see that they won’t be out until “1H2016”, which I interpret as “sometime before July 2016”. That’s very disappointing news.

  10. Mike October 28, 2015 at 3:01 AM #

    Lots of good news on the roadmap like encryption.
    Two questionmarks:
    First: Whats with the “unwanted child” Zimbra Desktop?
    Second: The Web-GUI on the screenshots above looks very similar to the iOS mail client which sucks if you have a lot of folders. Is that finally already? With lots of folders this will require lots of scrolling on a desktop PC. There are still people using keyboard and mouse.

  11. Peter Wolfe October 28, 2015 at 1:04 PM #

    Agree with Question above re zDesktop. Looks like perhaps desktop UI sounds like nextgen zDesktop?
    More info would be greatly appreciated

  12. clint December 16, 2015 at 3:15 PM #

    please tell me you will be keeping the ability to have different themes? that is one thing I really liked about zimbra webmail, you had about 2 dozen different theme options to choose from.

  13. Peter Wolfe January 11, 2016 at 6:10 PM #

    Hi, any updates on zdesktop roadmap? Silence is not reassuring for us users.

  14. Thor January 22, 2016 at 8:50 AM #

    I noticed that it’s more quiet in bugzilla than usually latly.
    Is 8.7 going as planned? when is 8.7 planned released?

    Please fix spnego-bugs(SSO) that sits in bugzilla. It’s ridicilous that they are not all fixed yet. small bugs like that destroys the impression our users have on the product…

    When the new UI is released will it be possible to run the old UI as well or is that upgrade going to change UI on all users in one bang?
    New UI will most likely mean new bugs and new special situations that one havent handled before. so it would be great to be able to switch back and report the new bugs, rather than be stuck with the new bug and wait to next patch comming in several months later…. What is the plan?

  15. Thor January 22, 2016 at 9:03 AM #

    will there be any changes with zimlets and new UI?

    • Jorge de la Cruz
      Jorge de la Cruz February 25, 2016 at 9:27 AM #

      Hi Thor,
      Let me share your comment with the Engineers and we will be back to you.

      Best regards

  16. Thor February 9, 2016 at 3:36 AM #

    Not much response here.

  17. Rupert Hurley March 4, 2016 at 6:16 AM #

    Hi, agree with many points here, there really needs to be an open dev / roadmap – other providers have detailed timelines and specs, too. Businesses + developers need to be able to plan ahead, so as not build “stuff” that might be “in the pipeline”, as well asn enabling new customers to make an informed choice, as there are a lot of players in the market, now, notwithstanding the 900lb gorilla’s like Gmail….

    Having just spent IRO $20m for Zimbra, I would have thought this should be right up there with the “urgent” taks, to both recruit new users/customers, and look after their existing customers / revenue streams!?

    In order to even stand still in this market, you need to innovate quicker and better than the competition, and exploit this agility, otherwise big users will migrate to other platforms and the service will waste away…

    So please can we have a detailed timeline / roadmao, e.g. when is the API going to be ready? The currents docs, if they represent the true state of it are simply atrocious, not only in terms of detail, but more importantly in terms of their scope/ability – SOAP? I was delaing with SOAP back in ’99!

    Look forward to getting some progress on this, as the product is pretty good, but is majorly lacking in terms current technologies that people expect, specifically REST API in our case.

    Thanks!

    Rupert Hurley