Zarafa ZCP 7.1 groupware gets new search functionality
At the Zarafa Summercamp 2012, the groupware company announced several new versions of its products and gave selected camp delegates insights into its software development process. Last week, Zarafa released its new WebApp 1.1 interface, which is the successor to the existing WebAccess browser frontend. This was followed by version 2.0 of its ActiveSync implementation Z-Push. Version 2.1 of the admin tool Z-Admin, which is based on the graphical administration framework yaffas (Yet another Framework for Administering Servers) is also nearing its release. The current beta version already includes support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
Things that weren't completed in time are version 7.1 of the core groupware package Zarafa Collaboration Platform (ZCP), major changes in that release include the demise of zarafa-indexer, introduced in version 7. The indexer component, which is based on the Apache Lucene project, had caused performance problems, as it searched through all mailboxes on the server for any indexable changes in the background every five minutes. This had a negative impact on server response times.
Its successor, zarafa-search, restricts the use of the Lucene engine to text analysis only. The indexing software has been rewritten from scratch by Zarafa developers and now stores results in a lean key-value database. A pleasant side-effect is that the search function finds new emails just seconds after they arrive, doing away with delays which could be up to thirty minutes on large inboxes.
The developers have also updated the internal database from MySQL 4.1 to 5.5 and made the internal backup function multi-thread capable. The latter change speeds up backups significantly, particularly on multi-core servers, as it allows zarafa-backup to backup multiple mail stores in parallel. The team is aiming to release version 7.1 in late July, with release candidates likely to appear in the interim.
Zarafa is also working on EWS (Exchange Web Service) support, but users will likely have to wait until the end of the year for this feature to be available for testing. Microsoft has presented EWS in Exchange 2007 as the successor to its WebDAV model. EWS is implemented as a SOAP-based XML protocol and current versions of Outlook use it for purposes such as communicating free/busy entries. As a first step, the developers want to implement email and address book functionality for Outlook 2011 and Mac Mail within their software.