Great joint post about Zimbra verses Exchange

Dave Stork and Michel De Rooij have published a great join post comparing Zimbra to Microsoft Exchange. It’s in many parts a rebuttal to a post by Christopher Wells, but I think they have covered it pretty fairly.

My take? To be honest I don’t even know why people are bothering to compare Exchange with Zimbra. Before Yahoo bought Zimbra, I thought they might eventually release a competitive product at some point, and they might be the success that Open-Xchange never was.

The reality, in my humble opinion, is that VMware bought Zimbra for the technology not the product. Zimbra’s engine is used in Project Octopus, which fills a gap in the market and actually looks like a product VMware can market to it’s customers. Zimbra.. not so much.

In a way it’s a sad state of the market that Exchange doesn’t have a great competitor that’s taking customers away right left and centre. Why would I say that? Because having a great competitor to Exchange pushes Microsoft to make Exchange better!

If not for Google Apps, we wouldn’t have Office 365 in it’s current form, and I dare say Outlook Web App wouldn’t have pretty themes like Super Sparkle Happy. Zimbra on the other hand has a few nice features; it’s not bad by any means. But it’s not something you’d compare to Exchange 2010 and prefer – either from an end user perspective, or as an Administrator. As an ex-Solaris, Linux and BSD sysadmin as well as VCP 3,4 and 5, that’s something I find a little disappointing.

8 thoughts on “Great joint post about Zimbra verses Exchange

  1. Hi Steve,

    I do think it is wise to compare solutions to the same problem resulting in a product choice. But mostly within organization specific business cases with very specific parameters, including the whole infrastructure etc. etc.. General comparisons with a conclusion “thus product z is better than x” are IMHO too much simplified to be of any value. But I think the latter was your point?

    And when actual facts are wrong, well… that’s like putting a red flag in front of a bull 🙂

    • Hi Dave,

      My point was Zimbra’s not matured into a worthy competitor, so a comparison is likely to go in favour of Exchange; it would have to be a really unusual, specific requirement (like Zimbra’s slightly better iCal support) for it to win. But yeah, I think yours and Michel’s article is essential to dispel FUD and incorrect articles that make Zimbra out to be better than it is, that’s why I wanted to draw attention to it.

      Something that made me laugh, and understand that VMware really don’t give a stuff about Zimbra was on the VMware partner portal. I looked at their PPTs for selling Zimbra – they haven’t been touched in nearly *two years* and compare storage costs against Exchange 2007. When you see that it just makes you think, if VMware aren’t pushing it.. Why would anyone else?


  2. Considering Exchange 15 is very much under a tight NDA, and isn’t even out yet Bernd either knows something everyone else outside of Microsoft doesn’t or he’s just trying making a point that doesn’t exist. Bottom line is a comparison with Zimbra is absurd. I run a plethora of different MTA’s and collaboration suites. From Open Xchange to Citadel and Exchange 2003 to Ex2010 and Postfix. There is nothing in the same sphere as Microsoft in the proprietary or open source space that touches Exchange. If there was, id be using it. And i consider myself very much an Exchange (Microsoft UC) evangelist.

    • It’s the latter, a point that doesn’t exist. I’m not on the Exchange 15 TAP, but I was early on before changing employers and I won’t be breaching any NDA by saying Exchange 15 will *not* be disappointing.

      And you’re right. If there was something better, you and I would be using or implementing it.

  3. Steve, I’ve been reading your posts for a while, and while I’ve been firmly in the Exchange world since the beginning, I have to agree with you whole heartedly. Competition is great for all of us, and while I do like what Exchange is compared to everyone else, I’m sure it could be much more if it had real competition.

    Thanks again for your posts, keep up the good work!

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