When the open source Zimbra project started out back in 2006 the focus was on improving email collaboration. It's a focus that has remained in place as the product has evolved over the last six years to the new Zimbra 8.0 release out today.
Zimbra is now the engine behind 85 million commercial mailboxes and the new release aims to make it even easier to integrate with other collaboration platforms including ones from Cisco and Mitel. That integration can enable a Zimbra user to directly schedule a Cisco WebEx meeting or enable presence and chat with Cisco Jabber.
Another key focus for the Zimbra 8 release is about improving the look and feel of the application.
"We cleaned up the user interface and are now taking a less is more interface approach," John Robb is VMware's senior director of collaboration products, told InternetNews. "We want to make the overall experience feel more conversational."
As part of the user interface cleanup, the calendar in Zimbra has been given more granular control as well as the ability to integrate with Google Calendar.
With Zimbra 8.0, a new multi-node virtual software appliance is also coming to market. With the new appliance, Zimbra can be operational in ten minutes according to Robb.
Overall administration has also been given a makeover in the new release. With browser based administration, full collaboration can be managed in a cloud just as easy as it can be on site.
The move toward a more cloud and virtualization friendly version of Zimbra should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, Zimbra has been owned by virtualization giant VMware since 2010.