VMware Channel Set to Attack Microsoft Exchange On Aug. 1

VMware is preparing to attack Microsoft Exchange across the IT channel. The strategy calls for VMware's channel partners to begin selling Zimbra -- an open source email system -- starting on Aug. 1, 2010. Here are the details, which The VAR Guy confirmed at HostingCon.

First, the back story: VMware acquired Zimbra from Yahoo in January 2010. By March 2010, VMware was describing plans for the VMware channel to sell Zimbra as well as forthcoming Zimbra appliances, as noted in this FastChat Video:

Here Comes the Channel

Now, the next chapter in the VMware-Zimbra strategy is set to unfold. Starting Aug. 1, the VMware channel and VMware's entire sales force will be empowered to sell Zimbra, according to Andy Pflaum, head of global sales and channels at Zimbra.

The channel generates roughly 80 percent of VMware's revenue, so it's safe to expect a similar VMware channel commitment to Zimbra, The VAR Guy believes.

Next up, VMware expects to unveil the Zimbra appliance at VMworld (Aug. 30-Sept. 2, San Francisco). VARs will be able to sell Zimbra appliance as an on-premise or cloud solution, according to Pflaum.

Targeting Microsoft Exchange

No doubt, VMware and Zimbra intend to target the Microsoft Exchange installed base, where many customers are (A) contemplating migrations from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 or (B) contemplating a move from on-premises Exchange to hosted Exchange. Based on those inflection points, it's an ideal time for channel partners to be in the market discussing Zimbra as an alternative email solution, Pflaum asserts.

Still, Microsoft has made progress with its Exchange efforts. More than 16,000 channel partners have signed up to offer Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), which includes Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. And a range of companies -- such as Intermedia, Apptix and Verio -- now offer Hosted Exchange 2010 to VARs and resellers.

But here's the twist: Zimbra's Pflaum says many hosting providers are looking to hedge their email bets because they don't necessarily want to compete with Microsoft's own BPOS and Exchange Online efforts.

Pflaum also pointed out that VMware and Zimbra have no plans to build a VMware cloud and/or to host Zimbra directly for partners. Instead, Zimbra plans to leverage existing relationships with roughly 500 hosting companies that offer Zimbra.

The VAR Guy will be watching -- and listening -- for the official VMware-Zimbra channel efforts on Aug. 1.

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Discuss this Video 6

Justin Freeman (not verified)
on Jul 22, 2010
Zimbra pricing is pretty straight forward: free (open source edition), annual or perpetual licenses. Price points are for 25 mailboxes, no server license or CPU license required. There are significant discounts for educational and government institutions. Agileware have a detailed listing of Zimbra pricing across the entire product range available here, http://agileware.net/howtobuy/zimbra Go Zimbra! :)
Victor (not verified)
on Jul 21, 2010
Hi TVG, This article made me check the pricing of Zimbra. I wanted to compare it to Kerio for a solution I am working on. I had a problem understanding their pricing. It did not seem that great compared to Kerio or Exchange. Maybe I will have to wait until Aug. I think that products like Zimbra and Kerio that seem to work with Outlook will put pressure on MS and Exchange. Exchange has increased in complexity and options. Really hard to recommend to small business. Unless they are hosted options, which I like and dislike. I will be watching Aug. 1. Thanks, Victor
on Jul 22, 2010
Victor: The VAR Guy will ping Zimbra to see if they have any additional insights they can share with you. Thanks for reading. The VAR Guy appreciates the dialog. -TVG
John Collet (not verified)
on Jul 8, 2011
Victor, Great points. Frankly, no matter what anyone says,if you have the resources, Exchange is still king. Nothing will best it anytime soon, others can come close. Bynari for example gives us about 90+ of its functionality for about 10% of the cost. So it's a good trade up in our case. SBS is great and is actually a great value for smaller size companies. Kerio, plays a lot in the market. We've looked at them and tested them. You can't put a 100 user on it, no way. You're right resources are getting cheaper but the turn off with Zimbra is that will all those limitations, their prices were pretty close to Exchange!!! Regards,
John Collet (not verified)
on Jul 7, 2011
We have moved 370 users from Exchange to Zimbra which was a disaster. Almost lost my job over that one. Zimbra is just as heavy on resources as MS and their "Outlook Connector" is a joke (I have a long list but you get the idea). Outlook was constantly crashing. After a dozen complaints, they told us to use their "desktop", a webclient with a glorified name meaning we'd give up the Outlook functionality that allows them to claim to be an Exchange alternative. I've found and have tested BCS (Bynari collaboration suite) and after 3 months of trialing was impressed with the product and the price but the support was and is unparalleled. We bought it and have used it for 6 months now without a hicup. www.bynari.net
Victor (not verified)
on Jul 7, 2011
John: That is very interesting. I think I had stumbled upon Bynari at some point but never tested it. I looked and saw that wow it has been almost one year since this post. My follow up: Tried Kerio for a test system to synchronize to phones. The Kerio system was pretty nice. Easy install and seemed to work very well. Problem was the Android phone we were testing at the same time was not on the approved phone list so would not synch. We also have a bunch of BlackBerrys and never got to test that functionality. SBS2011 which includes Exchange 2010 was eventually used. I take back any negativity in my comment about the increased complexity and options of Exchange. They actually have some very good options that I used to solve the complexity of the problem I was solving. Also, there spam filter seems to being catching things that the current system is not. Lastly, about heavy resources, look at where we were a year ago with hardware and where we are now. And what is on the horizon. The computing power just keeps increasing and getting cheaper. Interesting times, Victor
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