iiNet deploys a million Zimbra mailboxes


National broadband provider iiNet today announced a deal with VMware whereby the company’s Zimbra Collaboration Suite will be provided to customers — effectively delivering a rollout of a million cloud email-based mailboxes for the ISP.

“iiNet’s goal has been to not only consolidate our various email systems, but to provide our customers with a solution that’s both user-friendly and comes with all the extra bells and whistles,” said iiNet chief technology officer Greg Bader in a statement.

Migration of iiNet customers mailboxes to the open source email solution — which was bought by VMware earlier this year — will begin this month and is aimed to be completed January 2011, although iiNet reported that 25 percent of customers were already using the Zimbra service.

“This landmark deal expands our strong relationship with iiNet beyond the virtualisation of its IT infrastructure to providing flexible enterprise-class email and collaboration solutions that will directly impact iiNet’s customers,” said VMware’s local chief Paul Harapin.

Bader acknowledged that there were other options on the table, but iiNet had chosen Zimbra because it supported iiNet’s future and present product ranges. An iiNet spokesperson could not comment on what the other options considered were.

iiNet could not comment on what the future products mentioned might be, however an announcement is slated be made in the near future in regards to business customers, with the new products to feature rich social media integration — such as with Facebook.

“Zimbra is providing consumer and corporate editions of its email and collaboration service, and both will offer iiNet’s customers a feature-rich unified communication platform.,” said Jim Morrisroe, Zimbra general manager. iiNet already uses a number of VMware products — such as the View desktop virtualisation platform for its call centre desktops. And the Zimbra-hosted email was made available for business customers in May this year.

“We’re delighted with the performance of the Zimbra corporate solution for our business customers and look forward to rolling out Zimbra’s Collaboration Suite to our residential customers,” said Bader. “Zimbra’s offering is ideal because, without our customers having to lift a finger, they’re about to get a simple-to-use email service that’s really ahead of the curve in terms of technology.”

In June last year, analyst house Longhaus released a report based on a survey of 110 senior business decision makers, that none had admitted to using the-then-owned-by Yahoo Zimbra. The largest stakeholders were Lotus Notes at 13 percent and Microsoft Outlook/Exchange 53 percent.

Image credit: Zimbra


  1. It’s funny how brand plays an important part of a deal. We (Cleartext) looked at Zimbra and decided it was too difficult to manage and unreliable. The add-ons like IM were woeful, using the almost defunct OpenFire XMPP platform. But I will say that Zimbra appears to be getting more traction now that it’s under VMWares wing than it did with Yahoo!.

    We were not comparing Zimbra with MS Exchange, I think it’s well ahead of Exchange. No we compared it with several other Linux solutions (@mail, Sun Messaging, etc) of which Axigen came out on top, easily outperforming them all on ease of setup, management, reliability, standards compatibility and features.

    Axigen has better standards compatibility (FYI MS Exchange still doesn’t have good IMAP support), is OS neutral in both deployment and on the desktop/mobile side and real 24×7 support.

    Two years on I can say we made the correct choice as we’re seeing 100% up time year on year. Obviously we’re not counting planned maintenance here, but even that is limited to 30 second restarts node by node.

    I’m sure Zimbra will work well for iiNet and having met Greg a couple of times he would have done the research to make a selection.

    What this re-inforces is that it’s irrelevant if you have a better platform/product/service if you don’t have the marketing spend to build the brand, only then do you get in front of the decision makers and a chance at landing the big deals.

  2. I agree with David’s comment.

    We do sites of up to 250k users and even at a few thousand Zimbra was choking, as well as needing nightly restarts (~15 minutes). More egregiously their definition of HA means that you can’t *actually* have a HA environment as there is no backend storage redundency, so if the SAN volume needs an fsck you’re out those users while it happens.

    They also seem to not really care technically about the product, trying to make the business deals and not letting the product support them.

  3. When I saw the VMWare bit, I thought it was a virtual server, so I could not work out what it would do.

    So Zimbra is a server technology, not dependent on VMWare back end?

  4. It doesn’t surprise me that people in Aus have not heard of Zimbra. The numbers for most things in Australia are small.

    Zimbra has the most excellent form of scalability, federated build outs and hierarchical storage management. Needed when talking about enterprise and govt/residential deployments in proper sized economies.

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