Saturday, May 9, 2009

Zimbra support

A while ago I posted a positive review of Red Hat's support - first time I'd ever used it. Well here's another positive support story on an open source company - this time Zimbra. They make a quite good groupware package, roughly equivalent to MS Exchange - their AJAX webmail client is apparently better than the MS equivalent (never used the MS one), and the paid for version of the product supports MS Outlook and Windows Mobile / iPhone devices.

A few weeks ago, we had a full day outage where our mail server was thrashing its disks hard. After working away at it for a while, we somehow managed to get the server under control. Not having any idea what happened or what caused it, we decided to use one of our two Zimbra support cases for the annual subscription.

What followed was excellent - we lodged a case with the Zimbra online customer portal last thing before leaving work - a support engineer responded the next day asking for some specific data. They looked at the data, and asked for some more data. This happened several times, but in every case their turn around time was quicker than we expected (typically under 48 hours). Twice, the support engineer actually consulted with the developers of the product, and reported back to us some very informative feedback on the outage. The second of these was actually quite detailed, and the developer would have taken some time to diagnose, consider then write a good response.

So there you have it - another good service report. Zimbra aren't cheap - for us it's about US$1900 (AUD$2500 currently) per year (26-50 user license). MS Exchange is about AUD$6000 outright (ie. 10 years support, patches, but no upgrades). But I couldn't dream of that type of support from Microsoft, so I think we'll renew our Zimbra contract when it comes up at the end of the year.