zimbra to the rescue

Late Friday evening our email server started to play up.  Play up would be somewhat of an understatement -- it was restarting itself every 10 minutes.  We had a dedicated machine running SuSE with OpenExchange on it and in all fairness, for the last 4 years, it has given us no problems whatsoever.

The only concern I had with it, was that it was running an older version of Postfix and subsequently it would accept all emails before realising the mailbox didn't exist.  This would create a lot of extra load and bandwidth allowing spammers to sneek in and just generally annoy things.  It wasn't too much of an annoyance but was always on the list to do when feeling bored one weekend with nothing to do!  Like that happens a lot! 

First thing I checked was the software to make sure nothing had gone wrong that would be causing it to reboot every 10 minutes. Nothing showed up.  I disabled pretty much everything and it would still reboot itself.  Next thing I tried was to boot up the machine and leave it in the BIOS and see if it would still reboot.

Sure enough, it would.  This ruled out OpenExchange and pointed towards a hardware problem.  Initially I thought it was a power supply problem.  Having spent all of Saturday trying to source one (finding one ironically my sister had), I switched it over and thought the problem would be solved.  Nope, still rebooting itself.

I then checked the motherboard and noticed a couple of capacitor lids were completely blown off with scorch makes inside the case and on the motherboard.  Not quite sure why I didn't spot it before, but needless to say, the motherboard was fried.  Time for the machine to go to the big data center in the sky.

I have a Linux box that isn't doing a lot and decided to put a mail server on it.  Andy had already gone through joys of installing Zimbra and since he had no major issues with it I opted to go down that route.

Downloading the 200MB Zimbra tar file I had the beast installed within 30minutes.  It allowed me to define all the ports and even installed MySQL on its on port 7360 away from the instance that was already running.  How considerate.

Lots of really nice touches with Zimbra that has impressed me.  For example, the ability to easily define multiple email domains with isolated name spaces.  Open Exchange couldn't do that.

Importing the email from the old server was a simple matter of taking the old hard disk and putting it in another machine to get it up and running and then using imapsync moved the mailboxes over.

At the moment, Zimbra feels faster, but it is on a machine that has more CPU and memory so can't really make any conclusions there one way or another, but from a users point of view, it rocks.  The only complaint I have at the moment is that my mail filters don't seem to be working. I am hoping it is something silly.


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