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Design Agency | Windsor | New OS X Mail Server

The Problem : 135Gb of mail data split between 45 mail accounts, were sitting on a file server for a company of a busy Design Agency. The server was OS X 10.5 running the built-in OS X Mail Server. Due to unexpected power outages a couple of email accounts had become corrupted and we were concerned that the Cyrus database for IMAP had become unstable and could ultimately corrupt all users accounts. Any potential downtime on the mail server would impact on the constant access required to the file server.

The Objective : To split the mail server from the file server so that the two services are sitting on separate boxes. This would give the opportunity to upgrade the mail server to 10.6 and Dovecot which is a more reliable platform for handling IMAP mailboxes.

The Modus Operandi : We considered using a migration utility such as cyrus2dovecot to migrate the IMAP mailboxes between the platform, but were concerned that the corruption to the Cyrus mailboxes would cause problems. There were about 12 static Macs and 13 Mac laptops in the office, so we decided to manually copy each users individual mailboxes across between the two servers. We configured the new mail server with the imported list of users from the old server and applied the correct users passwords to their accounts. We configured Mac Mail on a MacPo on the network as a drone for collecting the IMAP mail for all the laptop users from the old server and for their mailboxes on the new server. Then I configured Apple Mail on the iMac for each of the laptop users with the 10.5 mail server settings and left it to collect their IMAP mail. Come the day of the migration, the firewall was configured to re-route SMTP and IMAP to the new mail server and we made sure that new mail was hitting the new server and the being forwarded correctly to users mailboxes. Then on the MacPro it was just a question of copying each users Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, Notes and IMAP mailboxes from the old server to the new server within the Mail client. The static Macs were simpler as I just needed to re-create the new mail account and drag the mailboxes between old and new.

There was just a bit of tidying up to do, namely; get webmail working, out-of-office and server side side scripts and lastly to re-create their in-house group mailing list.

The vast majority of this work was done off-site whilst the rest was conducted over a Saturday at the clients premises. The laptop users were able to see their existing mailboxes on the new server by 5pm Saturday evening. Not a single email went astray during the whole process.

The End Result - We successfully split the email function from the file server responsibility of the original server. We moved their email onto a more stable platform i.e Dovecot. We implemented a more robust backup strategy for their email server using a combination of Carbon Copy Cloner, CrashPlan and a unix script.

 

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