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The Evolution of Zimbra at VMware: Changing the Way You Work

Kevin 

 Hi, my name is Kevin, and I work with the Zimbra Team here at VMware. Zimbra in addition to email and calendar provides file sharing, tasks, contacts, document management and simplified IT administrative controls. My role as the Senior Director of Zimbra R&D allows me to work with a global team of engineers to help serve Zimbra’s 70 million paid mailboxes deployed at over 250,000+ organizations in 100+ countries.

 Zimbra started over seven years ago with a simple idea, that enterprise email was broken.  Consumers were able to get several gigs of storage and fast search yet many legacy enterprise email systems were stuck with tiny quotas, antiquated fat clients, and poor remote web access to email.  Fast-forward to today and the challenge has morphed to making email and collaboration more social with a continued trend to move to the cloud. VMware acquired Zimbra and more recently Socialcast and SlideRocket to accelerate that mission.

 The acquisition by VMware has enabled us to resource and grow our teams more quickly.  Not only to better serve our existing customers but also to research and explore new projects and applications.  For the past several months the Zimbra team has been incubating a new project, Project Octopus, which will enable users to access their files securely on any device.  Technically the challenges are similar to Zimbra’s core mission of providing a scalable server but also a rich AJAX and mobile client experience across all the popular devices (iPad/iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, etc.). 

 That said, as with any new project there are unique problems to solve like cross-browser high fidelity preview, or bandwidth optimal ways to move and compare files between devices.  It also has given us the chance to work closely with Socialcast to integrate social features like sharing and commenting on files with co-workers or those outside your company.  Similar we plan to enable SlideRocket presentations to launch or collaborate from inside the Octopus web UI.

 Our team will continue to grow as we continue to push the limits of modern communication and collaboration.  Devices like the iPad have radically changed how many of us work today, and we at VMware and especially in the Zimbra team feel that there is huge opportunity to innovate.  Building end-user facing applications that are simple, easy to use, powerful, yet easy for IT organizations to deploy and manage will keep us busy for quite a few years.

 

About Kevin:

Kevin Henrikson, Sr. Director R&D at VMware leads the engineering and QA teams for the Zimbra product group. Kevin joined Zimbra in 2005 and has held various engineering and leadership positions over the past 6 years. He's been part of two acquisitions; first by Yahoo in 2007 and again by VMware in 2010. Prior to Zimbra, Kevin was at Openwave, an ISP and mobile carrier software provider where he led the Mobile Messaging engineering team. He is a regular speaker on AJAX, open source messaging, and related topics. He lives in San Mateo, California, and has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA.

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