VMware reveals Zimbra 7 social media collaboration suite

8 Feb 2011

Virtualisation giant VMware has taken the wraps off its Zimbra 7 next-generation email and collaboration platform. The platform, which boasts social media capabilities, will rival Salesforce.com’s Chatter technology.

VMware Zimbra 7 features new data-sharing capabilities, expanded calendaring and search functionality, and upgraded management features for both IT and end users. With this update, Zimbra is further optimised for both the casual and power user, establishing a platform for a next-generation workspace within the VMware End-User Computing vision.

VMware’s End-User Computing vision seeks to free users and IT from more than two decades of complex, device-centric computing and delivers a more consumer-focused cloud experience for the enterprise. VMware Zimbra is among the largest business collaboration providers and is the largest on-premise open source collaboration suite in terms of paid mailboxes.

“VMware Zimbra continues to be the fastest-growing enterprise collaboration solution – now with more than 66m paid mailboxes and more than 200,000 organisations using VMware Zimbra as their next-generation collaboration platform of choice,” said Jim Morrisroe, vice-president, Zimbra Products, VMware

Major changes in the enterprise inbox

VMware Zimbra 7 includes access to Zimbra’s Briefcase functionality, which allows users to easily share or store files in the cloud, enabling lightweight document management with added control directly from within Zimbra. Users can upload and access multiple versions of a Briefcase file or document, and new “check-in” and “check-out” controls further simplify document management and collaboration.

With People Search, users have access to contact lists, org charts, seating charts, etc, simultaneously – making it easy to find contacts within the web client. With new compatibility available in VMware Zimbra 7, users also have the ability to forward contacts as a vCard, making sharing contact information easier than before.

Improved administration with role-based delegation at multiple administrator levels enables features such as distribution list management – which allows administrators to set parameters around who can email certain distribution lists, drastically reducing spam. VMware Zimbra 7 also features simple policies to control automatic recovery (reboot) of Zimbra virtual servers, Zimbra server load balancing, and zero-downtime hardware maintenance.

“The enterprise inbox is going through dramatic changes,” said Erin K Traudt, research director, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Solutions program at IDC.

“The impact of social media along with a new generation of increasingly mobile workers creates new demands on collaboration platforms. The concept of ‘sharing more and sending less’ becomes a key capability that enterprises should consider as they look to arm their workforce with the essentials of everyday business communications,” Traudt said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years