Cloud or Local Server. Which is best solution for Zimbra Deployment? | Zimbra

Alert! This article is written for Zimbra OSE users. As of December 2023, Synacor will no longer be providing support for Zimbra OSE. You might want to consider trying out Carbonio Community Edition – Zextras’s free and open-source email and collaboration platform.

For additional guidance, check out our community articles detailing the process of migrating from your current platform to Carbonio CE.

Today we are going to cover an interesting topic that every company faces when choosing Zimbra Collaboration Suite, namely which is the best choice for its implementation. Cloud or Local Server?

A first Answer

The immediate answer to the question, may be rather obvious. In fact, it’s always better to have both an on-premises (local) server and one on the cloud, to ensure maximum business continuity in the company and constant backup of important data. Generally, however, the budget allocated for IT does not allow for both options, and this is the main reason why a choice must be made anyway. With this article we are going to see the pros and cons of both solutions, so you can have a clearer idea of which choice to make when implementing Zimbra in your company.
It’s important to consider your choice of hosting for Zimbra Collaboration Suite based on the size of your company and the type of business it runs.

Small Business

Local Server

We normally tend to consider a local server as the best option for small businesses, because Zimbra doesn’t require any particular computing power. Moreover, an inconspicuous system unit with a Linux operating system on board, placed in a corner, will be much cheaper than renting a cloud server. But that’s not always the case, and it depends mostly on how critical the use of Zimbra is to your business processes, and what other IT solutions are being used in the company. Deploying Zimbra on a local server in the future can pose a number of challenges. As the company grows and develops, the issue of Zimbra uptime, for example, or systematic data backups and hardware upgrades, will inevitably become more critical.

Cloud Server

In addition to cost savings, a cloud server helps provide greater mobility for a business than a local server. It’s no mystery that speed and mobility are the advantages of small businesses over large corporations, and the absence of a physical server makes it much easier to move into a new office. This saves a lot of time and improves the reliability of the IT infrastructure, because virtual servers, unlike physical ones, break down very rarely and the consequences of such failures, as a rule, are not as severe as in the case of physical servers.

Medium Business

In the case of mid-sized businesses, cloud infrastructure is much cheaper than local one. We’re not just talking about capital and ownership costs, but also those related to security issues. Considering that Zimbra is not only a mail server, but also a complete collaboration solution, over time, a large amount of data, which is a trade secret, will accumulate on the server with Zimbra. That’s why the IT manager is required not only to ensure the continuity of the server, but also the security of the data and prevent third parties from accessing important information. Here again, certified cloud servers are more secure, eliminating a number of opportunities for intruders.

A case in point is where if a resigned system administrator or IT manager decides to “take” the Zimbra archive with them, if a cloud service is used, this incident will be logged by the service provider.

Large Enterprises

For large enterprises, the situation is very different. Based on the volume of consumption of computing power and IT services, for example, it is much more profitable to maintain their own server fleet and IT staff. Typically, these companies have a strong security policy that significantly reduces the risks associated with maintaining their IT infrastructure.

Therefore, we can say that, with a few exceptions, the Cloud option with virtual servers for Zimbra deployment is generally the most optimal and secure.

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