The Zimbra Advantage: Do Talking Heads and e-Mail go hand-in-hand in the cloud?

Posted on June 7, 2011


According to former Zimbra President and CTO Scott Dietzen, the name for Zimbra is derived from the song “I Zimbra” by Talking Heads.

Back in January 2010, VMWare acquired Zimbra for $100 million from Yahoo, who ironically paid $350 million for the groupware product vendor back in 2007.  Talk about a deep discount.At the time, the move by VMWare was seen has being a strategic necessity in that industry pundits believed that the company needed to expand its focus on virtualization as competitors like Microsoft were threatening to eat heavily into their primary market.

Unlike the seemingly meaningless lyrics of the namesake song after which the company was named, through the acquisition of Zimbra, VMWare reportedly put itself in a better position to build, run and manage applications both internally and on external cloud platforms, which brings us back to the theme of this week’s focus which is cloud computing and in particular the recently announced GSA $2.5billion RFQ.

So has the Zimbra acquisition accomplished what VMWare had originally envisioned in terms of strengthening its market position?  In relation to the mega-RFQ, has Zimbra provided the missing pieces to enable VMWare to seriously contend for all or part of the five key areas of acquisition interest, which are; mandatory email-as-a-service, migration and integration services; and optional office automation and electronic record management services, that can be provided as  a government community cloud, provider-furnished-equipment private cloud, secret enclave or public cloud?

While I will leave it to you to visit both the Zimbra and VMWare company websites, given that the latter already boasts an impressive list of government clients, in my opinion they are indeed a vendor who’s offering is worthy of serious consideration, and should definitely make the short list.