Open Source

Tanzanian ISP goes open source

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Enterprise open source provider Obsidian Systems has rolled out the Zimbra open source messaging and collaboration suite to Tanzanian Internet service provider and mobile operator, Dovetel, which operates under the Sasatel brand.

The 20 000 end-user roll-out marks Obsidian's biggest Zimbra installation outside SA, as the company ventures into African territory.

Zimbra brings together calendaring, e-mail, instant messaging, and other tools, combining them in an online platform. It provides an Ajax, Web-based interface that can be accessed from anywhere via a Web browser. Zimbra also integrates with a variety of desktop clients, including Outlook, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.

“We selected the Zimbra platform to underpin Sasatel's e-mail solution, Sasamail, and provide e-mail services to our business customers and consumers based on the affordability, scalability and reliability of the solution,” says Edson Mdanguzi, ISP manager at Sasatel. “The fact that Zimbra has an excellent track record as an e-mail platform in the ISP space also counted in its favour.”

Since e-mail is such an important communications tool for its customers, Dovetel needs a platform that offers high levels of reliability and availability, notes Mdanguzi. Its business customers in particular cannot tolerate downtime as a lack of e-mail could cost them both time and money.

To this end, the Zimbra platform is scalable enough to grow alongside Dovetel's needs, he adds. Sasamail business clients can depend on this service for all their e-mail requirements rather than needing to install and manage their own e-mail servers.

Says Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems: “We're seeing strong interest in open source software throughout Africa, with growing demand for our skills and expertise across the continent.

“Zimbra and Linux are just two examples of open source platforms that African customers are embracing for their reliability, affordability and ease of customisation. We are well placed to help customers such as Dovetel realise the benefits of open source software.”

Obsidian Systems was appointed as a Zimbra value-added reseller in 2007.

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