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Zimbra Email & Calendar System
Tutorials, FAQs & Training Information
The CNI group has migrated 600+ JLab email accounts into Zimbra behind-the-scenes. A Zimbra web interface will host the email and calendar client. This will allow calendar users to access their email and calendar in the office, on their phone, or from home in one, robust interface. If you prefer to continue using Thunderbird, you must make a slight change to your Thunderbird configuration after migration. Calendar users that use other email clients have nothing to fear: their clients will work with the new email system too.
The biggest difference will be in performance. Zimbra should markedly speed up the delivery of emails to your Inbox. Non-calendar users will also see improvement in email response as more users are moved off of the Dovecot email system and onto Zimbra. The Zimbra web email interface looks and functions much like a desktop email client. Users will benefit from a far more robust web-accessible email client than the JLab's current web mail system. Additionally, a lot of people are using mobile devices now. Zimbra allows you to integrate your JLab calendar with your mobile device's calendar app. The old calendar server didn't allow you to do that conveniently; if at all.
Changes from Oracle to Zimbra
Zimbra is a widely used email and calendar collaboration suite. There are increasing demands on the size of email storage. With a more modern suite of tools, Zimbra has the potential to remain more useful and applicable for a long time. The Zimbra system is primarily needed for 600+ JLab people who used the current CorporateTime (Oracle) calendar system on a regular basis. Not everyone was migrated to Zimbra. If you didn't use the CorporateTime Calendar, then you will stay on the existing, Unix-based email system, Dovecot.
Zimbra Calendar is fundamentally a different product than the old Oracle Calendar so that modern protocols can be used. Even the basic language and colors used in the application may be unfamiliar or unexpected.
Appointments: Meetings are managed via e-mail. This is very useful, especially if you are trying to collaborate with people outside of Jlab. However, it can be confusing. If you want to invite someone to a meeting you have created, you must “Send” and not just “Save”. The invitation must be delivered to the invitee via e-mail. Invitation replies are also sent via e-mail, which means that if you are not using the Zimbra web client, which performs some filtering, then you will get unexpected e-mail messages in reply to invitation requests.
Shares: In Zimbra, the way to view others’ calendars (and let others view your calendar) is via “Shares”. Like folders, these are the objects in which calendar events are stored, and you can customize permissions to each calendar that you have. For most people, a single Calendar (called “Calendar” by default) is sufficient. For tips on how to share your calendar, visit the Calendar FAQ. (https://cc.jlab.org/zimbra/calendarFAQ)
Reminders/Notifications: The reminder scheme has changed and gives users a more limited list of options. You can choose from a drop-down list of options for how many minutes/hours/etc. in advance of a meeting that you want to be reminded. You can also type in an arbitrary number as well. In addition, you can send a notification to your e-mail address. Or, if you have a pager and would like to be paged, you can use your JLab pager address email@example.com, or any paging e-mail address from your mobile phone provider. More importantly, if you are sitting at your desktop, the reminder does not pop up a window to notify you, as it did in Oracle Calendar. The Zimbra web page will sound an audible alarm and pop-up a reminder within the page. If you are on another active open tab or window, you might not see a notification. Your mobile device can be configure it to remind you as well.
Folders: In Zimbra, folders are storage containers, and everything is stored in a folder. Under the hood, even your calendar events are stored in a folder called “/calendar”.
Appointment color-scheme: It’s a small detail, but important because it is counter-intuitive to those who have used Oracle Calendar. Whereas in Oracle Calendar, the color red signified “declined”, the Zimbra web client uses this color to signify meetings invitations that you have not responded to. Blue is used to signify meetings that you have accepted, and when you decline a meeting, it shows up semi-transparent. Similarly, for daily notes, if the “Free-Busy” status is “free,” the color shows up semi-transparent, and if that status is “Busy,” the color will be solid.