Zimbra, powered by VMware, is an advanced emailing solution that offers a dedicated email server to their client which helps business professional to use special and secure mailing network for their office work. The upcoming collaboration suit has many advance features that are lanking in the popular google email application. Some of the major difference are:

1.Location/ Device Independent Access:

  • Google Apps: Independent access feature is offered only to online web client and no true offline client. For offline clients, many users use third-party clients such as Outlook, IMAP/POP clients.
  • Zimbra: Both online and offline client have same user experience and same client experience with any browsers or desktops (Mac, Windows, Linux). Zimlets (a mechanism for integrating the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) with third party information systems and content) can be used in web or desktop client.


  • Google Apps: Have limitations with Outlook. One cannot sync multiple calendars, office rules, filter rules, tasks, notes, journals, follow up flags or rich contacts formatting and requires sync tool.
  • Zimbra: Support all standard Outlook features like delegation, file sharing, directory access, tasks etc.

3.IMAP/POP Clients

  • Google Apps: Have Limited functionality using third-party IMAP/POP clients.
  • Zimbra: Fully support third party IMAP/POP clients

4.Mobile access includes Smart-phones:

  • Google Apps: Easy access to iPhone (Beta), Windows or Android based mobile devices and native access to the Blackberry enterprise server.
  • Zimbra: Compatible to all iPhones, Android and Windows based mobile devices and worked efficiently on Blackberry enterprise server.

5.Open applications:

  • Google Apps: Proprietary solution that supports open standards with limited re-branding. Features like Google Apps Marketplace, Google Labs are not supported.
  • Zimbra: Has open source code including API with sample Zimlets and supports open standard protocols such as SOAP, CardDAV, REST, CalDAV, ICS feeds and Oauth. There is an easy and complete re-branding with gallery of Zimlets, allowing users to download, upload, read or provide feedback.

6.Application Functionality:

  • Google Apps: Breadth of functionality but have basic features and is useful in a limited set of circumstances.
  • Zimbra: User can access rich Zimbra Desktop functionality that is slick, powerful, and much more extensible than MS Outlook. Features like documents sharing, version and check-in/check-out increases options for users.

7.Management & Operations:

  • Google Apps: Many limitations for multiple domains like user cannot set different policies or configuration settings for different domains, delegated administration, domain aliases not supported and cannot enable/disable functionality by group or users.
  • Zimbra: Reduces admin work due to features like self-recovery of emails, calendar, tasks etc. One can enable/disable functionality for a group or user.

8.Security & Assurance:

  • Google Apps: Security is not granular and there are legal risks like power to turn over your data, privacy breaches or your crucial data can be stored anywhere in the world.
  • Zimbra: Offers great security with option of deploying data on premise or at a hosted partner. Server side control of Zimlets, with facility to remotely wipe the client data.

9.Lifecycle management:

  • Google Apps: Google customers have limited control over new feature releases like Global add of new services or pre-release features.
  • Zimbra: Customers have facility to control new release cycle and can test it before introducing in production. Zimbra offers automated and configurable notification for installation of new software and security updates.

10.Deployment Flexibility:

  • Google Apps: Only Hosted solution available.
  • Zimbra: Interoperability with Exchange (free/busy, GAL), Hosted through a partner or On-Premise, Traditional, Virtualized or a Virtual Appliance, Dedicated or Multi-Tenant Same software for 25 users or 25 million users Zimbra Appliance ‘Install to Inbox’ in 7.5 minutes Use included AV/AS or own solution.

11.Service/ Support:

  • Google Apps: Google Apps has a unique infrastructure that services millions of users each day that often leads to consumer side goes down. Google does not specify response time and slow reply to applications.
  • Zimbra: VMware is known for enterprise software and support. Rich features like Zimbra Backup and Zimbra Archiving and Discovery is available with option for you to deploy own solution.

12.Total Cost of Ownership:

  • Google Apps: Cost shifting not necessarily cost reduction.
  • Zimbra: Optimized hardware costs and competitive software costs.
Author's Bio: 

Sorav Singh has 5 long years of career proficiency as a content writer and written some of the most searched articles on web services like Zimbra, corporate email solutions, dedicated server and cloud hosting.