Dispatches From The Geeks

News and Announcements from the MCS Systems Group

Mail Server Upgrade: Update 2

Another semi-regular update on the mail server upgrade and migration.  This is happening on Saturday, April 26th.  Please see http://www.mcs.anl.gov/systems/blog?cat=1 for past updates and details.  Throughout the week I’ll be sending notes on changes you can expect to see or things you need to do to be ready.  Friday, I posted about making sure you have an Argonne Domain account — you’ll definitely need that to be able to read any new mail.Today, I’m covering a couple of thoughts that occurred over the weekend, brought on by some questions some of you have asked.  So let’s get to those:I don’t use my e-mail account, do I need it?Nope, you don’t.  You will need an e-mail account only if you want to use any of the features of the Zimbra service.  The features you’re most likely to want are: having a mailbox, having a calendar on the server, or accessing the shared calendars.  If you don’t want any of them, you don’t need an account on the server.  We do need a way to reach you via e-mail, however, so please be sure your personal accounts page at accounts.mcs.anl.gov is up to date.Okay, I don’t need the e-mail account.  Do I still need a domain account?As covered in Friday’s update, if you’re onsite more frequently than a few days a year, you’ve almost assuredly got one.  But if you don’t actually have one, do you need one right now?  No.  Will you need one eventually?  Yes.  Right now we’re using our own back-end for identification and authentication for a number of resources.  This leads to the mishmash of usernames and passwords you need to keep straight.  Eventually, we’ll be down to a single identity, and that’s going to be the Argonne Domain account.  Our new account management system is going to be using that as its back-end, so at some point in the coming year we’ll be migrating people over to that.  I see this e-mail switch as being the first big push in getting most of our non-Argonne users set up, since it’s now become a lot simpler to get this account set up.Is any mail not being copied to the new server?Yes.  First up, if you use POP for e-mail, then it’s likely your mail isn’t even on our server, since POP by default downloads the mail to the client machine and deletes it from the server.  Some POP clients can be configured to leave the mail on the server for a period of time, or indefinitely.  If you are using POP, which we don’t recommend, and you leave copies on the server, you will likely be downloading a duplicate copy of that mail when the switch is complete.But, aside from any mail that only lives on your machines and not on our server, there’s other mail we’re not copying over.  Specifically, we’re not copying over your Trash and Viral mailboxes.  The former because those mailboxes can get rather large and presumably the user has decided it is trash, and the latter because it’s mail we’ve designated as highly likely to be malicious.  Quarantine is being copied — that’s where .zip files end up for a number of users.  The SPAM folder is also being copied, since we don’t want to make the judgement call that you’ve decided it’s actually SPAM.Both of the folders we’re not copying will continue to be available on the old mail server as long as it remains in operation — probably another month.Now, as promised in the last update, an overview of forwarding mail, setting server-side filters, and setting Auto-reply or Out of Office message.I’m kind of cheating by choosing those as topics, because they’re all dead simple.  In all cases, they’re done through the web interface, which has thorough documentation.  And because the web interface is available from anywhere (no VPN or SSH keys required), you’ll be able to set any of these from any web browser.In fact, all of the preferences for how your account operates are handled from this web interface. There’s also a new feature not available on our current system, New Mail Notification. You can choose to have a message get sent to a provided e-mail address notifying you of new mail.  This is different from simply forwarding the mail, since the content of the mail is kep local to the server.  If your MCS mailbox is low traffic and you prefer not to regularly check it, this might be a handy option for you.We’re making good progress on the migration, and still expect to hit our target on Saturday.  If all goes as planned, when you check your mail after Saturday evening, you’ll see all your old mail on the old server followed by instructions on how to read your mail on the new server.


Written by Craig Stacey

April 23, 2008 at 4:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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