Zimbra Collaboration Suite Scaling

    One of the main tasks for business is growth and development. In today's realities, an increase in the number of production facilities, as well as the emergence of new employees and contractors, means a constant increase in the load on the company's IT infrastructure. That is why, when implementing any solution, the enterprise IT manager must take into account such a characteristic as scalability. The ability to withstand heavy workloads when adding large computational loads is especially critical for ISPs. Let's see what scalability the Zimbra Collaboration Suite offers as a product used by various SaaS providers around the world.


    There are two types of scalability: vertical and horizontal. In the first case, the increase in performance of the solution is achieved by adding computing and other capacities to the existing nodes of the IT infrastructure, and in the second case, the increase in productivity is achieved by adding new computing nodes, which take on part of the load. Zimbra Collabration Suite supports both horizontal and vertical scaling.

    Vertical scaling in case you decide to add computing power to your server will not differ much from migrating to a new, more powerful server with Zimbra. However, if you decide to add secondary storage for e-mail to the server, you will certainly encounter a limitation inherent in the Zimbra Open-Source Edition. The fact is that in the free version of Zimbra you can’t connect secondary volumes for storing email. The Zextras PowerStore extension, which allows you to connect both physical and cloud S3 secondary storage to the server, is designed to solve this issue for users of the free Zimbra edition. In addition, PowerStore includes compression and deduplication algorithms in Zimbra that can increase the efficiency of data storage on existing media.

    The creation of secondary volumes among ISPs, which make the primary, but fast, but expensive SSDs the primary storage, is especially in demand, while secondary volumes are placed on slow but cheaper HDDs. Due to the use of transparent links that are stored on the SSD, the system continues to work quite fast, and due to compression and deduplication, each server can store much more emails. As a result, the cost-effectiveness of servers with secondary repositories and Zextras PowerStore is significantly higher than using the standard Zimbra OSE functionality.


    Horizontal scaling, by definition, can only be used in a multiserver infrastructure. Since during a multi-server installation all Zimbra modules are separated into different machines, the administrator has the opportunity to add more and more infinity LDAP Replica, MTA and Proxy servers, as well as mail storage almost infinitely.

    The process of adding new nodes repeats the process described in one of our previous articles.About the Zimbra multiserver installation. Simply install the necessary Zimbra modules on the server and specify the Master LDAP address, as well as drive in the data for authentication. After that, the new nodes will become part of the Zimbra infrastructure, and Zimbra Proxy will provide load balancing between the servers. Moreover, all previously created mailboxes and their contents remain in those storages where they were before.

    Typically, new mail storages are added to the Zimbra infrastructure, based on one server per 2500 active users of the Zimbra web client and up to 5-6 thousand users of desktop and mobile email clients. This number of users allows us to achieve the most responsive server performance and to avoid problems with availability and long download time.

    In addition, administrators of a multi-server infrastructure can also connect secondary repositories, as well as compress and deduplicate each e-mail repository using Zextras PowerStore. Using this wintering saves up to 50% of disk space, and coupled with increased economic efficiency of the entire infrastructure. In the case of large ISPs, the economic effect of such infrastructure optimization can reach really large values.

    For all questions related to the Zextras Suite, you can contact the representative of Zextras Katerina Triandafilidi by e-mail katerina@zextras.com

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