Exchange to Linux migration solution

There can be many different reasons why an administrator would want to migrate from Microsoft to Linux, whether it be to reduce cost, improve server efficiency linux-logoor simply because the administrator is more proficient in Linux. One of the main difficulties you will always come across is finding a suitable solution that will be able to replace the Microsoft counterpart, especially if you are dealing with an Exchange environment. In the past you would have had to install an array of applications and servers just to be able to provide all the features that Microsoft Exchange has to offer.

Luckily for us today, we have open source alternatives to Microsoft Exchange which includes all of the features it has to offer and more. VMware’s Zimbra Collaboration Suite is one such alternative which offers a host of features that Microsoft Exchange offers as well as compatibility with multiple operating systems, clients and devices making VMware Zimbra hands down one of the best migration solutions for administrators to deploy. Zimbra Collaboration Suite offers a number of features similar to Microsoft Exchange and is available for some of the more popular versions of Linux. Let’s take a look below at some of the features it offers and take a quick look at some of the clients it is compatible with.


The Zimbra Collaboration Suite offers 3 editions, an open source edition, cloud addition (also known as Zimbra appliance) and a closed source Zimbra Network Edition. Each version can also be integrated with active directories LDAP service if you are still using Windows server for user administration, which allows you to migrate your users to Linux.

1- Open Source Edition


AJAX Email, Address Book, Calendar, Task, & Briefcase web application

AJAX Mobile web application

CardDAV, iCal and CalDAV for contacts and calendars

Email, Address Book, Calandar & File Server

Zimbra Desktop client

Community Support

2- Network Edition


AJAX Email, Address Book, Calendar, Task, & Briefcase web application

AJAX Mobile web application

Advanced search and file indexing for large inboxes


CardDAV, iCal and CalDAV for contacts and calendars

Email, Address Book, Calandar & File Server

Microsoft Outlook Email, Contact, Calendar and Task sync

iPhone Email, Contact, Calendar sync

Windows Mobile and other smartphone, Email, Contact, Calendar, Task sync

BlackBerry Email, Contact, Calendar sync

Real-time backup and restore

Clustering/High Availability


Domain Administration & Role-based Delegate

Email Archiving & Discovery

Zimbra Desktop client

Email, phone support and 24/7 emergency service

Community Support

Professional Services access for customization and migration

3- Compatibility


LDAP/Active Directory integration


Microsoft Outlook

Mozilla Thunderbird

Zimbra Desktop

Apple Mail

Zimbra Web Client

Compatible mobile devices with 2 way sync



Nokia E Series

Windows Mobile



*These are the requirements for 7.1.0 GA release and requirements may change for newer releases. If you are installing a newer release, you can check compatibility and requirements here


Minimum – 32-bit OS with Intel/AMD 2.0 GHZ+ CPU

Recommended – 64-bit OS

Minimum – 2GB RAM

Recommend minimum – 4GB RAM

Temp file space for installs and upgrades

10 GB free disk space for software and logs (SATA or SCSI for performance, and RAID/Mirroring for redundancy)

Additional disk space for mail storage

*Temp files space – The zimbra-store requires 5GB for opt/zimba, plus additional space for mail storage. The other nodes require 100MB

Operating Systems

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, AS/ES 6 (64-bit, mid-version)(BETA)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, AS/ES 5 (32-bit or 64-bit)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, AS/ES 4 (32-bit or 64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, SP1 (64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (32-bit or 64-bit)

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition (64-bit)

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition (32-bit or 64-bit)

Debian 5 (32-bit or 64-bit)

Fedora 11 (32-bit or 64-bit)


For RHEL servers

NPTL Native POSIX Thread Library

Sudo Superuser, required to delegate admins

Libdn For internationalizing domain names in applications (IDNA)

GMP GNU Multiple-Precision Library

Compat-libstdc ++-33 Compatability Standard C++ libraries

For SLES10 – compat-libstdc++-5.0.7

For SLES11 – libstdc++33

For Ubuntu 8.04








Note: Ubuntu 8 (64-bit) requires libperl 5.8

SSH client software to transfer and install the Zimbra Collaboration Server software

Valid DNS configured with an A record and MX record

Servers should be configured to run Network Time Protocol (NTP) on a scheduled basis.


Although VMware Zimbra is free to use and open source, VMware charge a per mailbox annual or once off pricing if you purchase the Network Edition (under the ZPL license). Pricing for the Network Edition starts from as low as $399 per year for 15 mailboxes or $899 if you are purchasing a perpetual (never ending) license and includes additional features and support.

More information about VMware Zimbra can be found at