Zimbra have released 8.8.9 today, July 10, 2018, with a bevy of new features.

What’s New?
The Release Notes and a Zimbra Blog Post provide the nitty gritty details of what’s included, what’s Production and what’s still Beta, so rather than repeat all that here, take a moment and follow the links, and then come back here!

Should You Upgrade?
If you are currently on Zimbra 8.7.11 or any version earlier than 8.8.8, I’d upgrade to 8.8.9 during your next maintenance cycle, but by using the ZeXtras Suite to migrate to new, fresh servers (I’m not a fan of in-place upgrades to 8.8.x in general). The 8.8.x series is now well-seasoned, and quite stable.

If you are currently on Zimbra 8.8.8 however, I would wait before doing an in-place upgrade to 8.8.9.

Why Should 8.8.8 Users Wait To Upgrade to 8.8.9?
First, unlike patches, version upgrades require downloading and running the full Zimbra installer.  This involves more downtime and more fundamental changes to your Zimbra server(s) than just installing patches by running “apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade”.

Second, a number of the new features in Zimbra 8.8.9 are still Beta. Perhaps the most anticipated improvement in 8.8.9 is Click-to-Run support in the Zimbra Connector for Outlook.  “Click-to-run” is Microsoft’s new distribution method for Office applications versus a traditional msi-based installation. If you upgraded your Outlook in the past year or so, likely you have a Click-to-Run version of Outlook. The Zimbra Connector for Outlook now works with all Click-to-Run versions of Outlook 2013 and 2016, as well as the Office 365 version of Outlook, leaving only a small subset of Outlook installations unsupported. Once Click-to-Run support leaves beta and becomes GA Stable, then there will be no reason not to upgrade to 8.8.9 forthwith.

The third reason for 8.8.8 users to defer their upgrade to 8.8.9 is that some new features that are Production, like the new Zimbra Docs, require the deployment of a dedicated server to host a customized LibreOffice binary.  The documentation to do this hasn’t yet been released, at least as of this writing.  Better to prototype this in a lab environment first and let this new enhancement season a bit. (You have probably by now caught on that I am very conservative when it comes to upgrades…)

Fourth, Patches for 8.8.8 are still scheduled to be released, so there is no near-term risk that a security patch will be released for 8.8.9 but 8.8.8 systems will be left exposed.

Again, and to be fair to Zimbra, I am very conservative when it comes to version upgrades, so I take no offense if you are on 8.8.8 and decide to upgrade to 8.8.9 this weekend. 🙂  All I ask is that you post in the Zimbra forums regarding your upgrade experience.

Hope that helps!

L. Mark Stone
Mission Critical Email
10 July 2018 – Updated 13 July with ZCO clarifications

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