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Home News & Articles "Zimbra"; a FOSS based mail server deployed at the Ministry of Education By Wasantha Deshapriya and Niel Gunadasa
"Zimbra"; a FOSS based mail server deployed at the Ministry of Education By Wasantha Deshapriya and Niel Gunadasa
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Ministry of Education consist of 5 divisions and about 60 Branches /Unites which distributed in 6 floors. More than 800 staff grade and supportive service officers (excluding minor staff) serving under the said divisions. Among this staff about 200 are staff grade officers. This staff, specially staff grade officers used generic e-mail service providers such as gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc for their official communication. Although Ministry had an e-mail server previously, it became obsolete by the time due to Spam problem and problems with the nomenclature of the accounts.  Furthermore , it was later realized that the nomenclature used for email accounts was not compatible with eGovernment policy compliances.

The use of such e-mail systems cause the following problems.

  • Difficult to ensure validity and acceptability
  • Not conforming to eGovernment policy
  • Difficult to ensure the security in communication
  • Inability to incorporate with identity and uniqueness of the Ministry

The ministry explored some options and after analyzing the cost benefits of such systems, Moe requested the assistance of Information and Communication Technology Agency to accomplish the task of providing a low cost but secure and user friendly email system. Having analyzed few possible email options for MoE the staff of the ICTA and ICT Branch of Ministry of Education selected Zimbra as the mail  solution for MoE.

Why Zimbra?

  • It is cost effective. The software can be freely down-loadable and cost is required only for installation, services and maintenances.
  • Ability to use in most computer platforms (operating systems)
  • Ability to customize according to the requirement of the Ministry
  • Specific advanced options such as  sharing calendars, meeting reminders, briefcase, auto reply
  • After installation it is easy to maintain and expand the service
  • Easy to incorporate as a mobile e-mail solution
  • User friendly interface
  • Social networking features are inbuilt

How it was implemented
ICTA proposed that it would select a Zimbra implementor through open procurement process and pay for the installation, training and maintenance period. MoE agreed to buy a proper server, find a suitable ICT staff member to be trained as the email administrator. ICTA selected Ceylon Linux  for implementing Zimbra at MoE through an open procurement process.
Cost involved

  1. Setting up and Configuration of E-Mail Server with Collaboration Suite (with Anti SPAM/VIRUS & Archiving) + With Free Support & Maintenance for 1 Year + Free Training on Zimbra Administration for One System Administrator = Rs 145,000.00
  2. E-Mail Server with Collaboration Suite support for second year (with Anti SPAM/VIRUS & Archiving) = Rs 6.500.00 per month

Deliverables and time frame



Time Frame


Installation and configuration of Zimbra email Server at the Ministry

01 week

Creation of 60 accounts and training of 60 users on using the email client and collaboration suite

02 weeks


Training of System Administrator on email server administration, configuration of email accounts and collaborative suite for individual users and on installation and configuration of Thunderbird as an email client.

04 weeks

Support and maintenance for 12 months

13 months

Installation and configuration -
The Zimbra mail server was installed in the server provided by Ministry of Education which is running on Ubuntu server which is a Linux operating system.
Creation of mail Accounts -
At the first stage about 60 mail accounts were created. This covered the staff grade officers who serve in the key positions and branch heads of the Ministry of Education.
Training -
The email administrator was trained by the service integrator and two training sessions were organized for the users in order to support the use of mails.


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