Migrate mailboxes between vaults in Zimbra Collaboration Suite

    Earlier we wrote about how easy and simplescalable Zimbra Collaboration Suite Open-Source Edition. Adding new mail storages can be done without stopping the infrastructure on which Zimbra is deployed. This feature is highly regarded by SaaS providers who offer their customers access to the Zimbra Collaboration Suite on a commercial basis. Nevertheless, such a scaling process is not without a number of minuses. The fact is that when creating a new account in the free version of Zimbra, it is tightly connected with the mail storage on which it was created, and transferring it to another server using the built-in Zimbra OSE tools is an unsafe and rather time-consuming process. However, mailbox migration is not always associated with horizontal scaling. For instance, SaaS providers can use the transfer of accounts to more productive servers in cases where their customers change their tariff plan. Also, the transfer of accounts may be needed by large organizations during the restructuring.


    A powerful tool for transferring email accounts between servers is Zextras PowerStore, which is part of the set of modular extensions Zextras Suite . Thanks to the doMailboxMove team , this extension allows you to transfer not only individual accounts, but also entire domains to other mail storages as quickly and conveniently as possible. Let's figure out how it works and in what cases its use will give the maximum effect.

    For example, take a company that started from a small office building, but subsequently grew into a medium-sized enterprise with several hundred employees. At the very beginning, the Zimbra Collaboration Suite Open-Source Edition was introduced at the enterprise. The free and rather undemanding hardware solution for collaboration was ideally suited for a start-up company. However, after the number of employees in the enterprise increased by several times, the server ceased to cope with the load and began to work more slowly. In order to solve this problem, management allocated money for the purchase of a new mail store to place part of the accounts on it. However, the connection to the second repository alone did not give anything, because all the created accounts remained on the old server, which simply could not cope with their number.

    Zimbra Collaboration Suite is designed so that the main role in its speed is played by the speed of reading and writing media, and therefore increasing the computing power of the server will not lead to doubling the performance of Zimbra. In other words, two servers with 4-core processors and 32 gigabytes of RAM will demonstrate much better performance than one server with an 8-core processor and 64 gigabytes of RAM.

    In order to resolve this issue, the system administrator used a solution from Zextras. Using a command of the form zxsuite powerstore doMailboxMove mail2.company.com accounts user@company.com stages data, accountone by one, the administrator transfers the last hundred created accounts to the new storage. After completing this process, the load on the old server decreased significantly and working in Zimbra again became comfortable and pleasant for users.

    Imagine a different situation: a small company uses the services of a SaaS provider to access Zimbra on a multi-tenancy basis. At the same time, the company has its own tariff, access to account administration, and so on. However, soon the company wins a major tender and dramatically increases the staff. In this case, accordingly, the role of the collaboration system is growing. The possibilities of using the address book, organizing instant communication between employees, as well as coordinating actions using calendars and diaries are extremely important when implementing large projects. At the same time, given the lack of time, it is not possible to switch to Zimbra's own infrastructure. In this regard, management decides to conclude a new agreement with its SaaS provider, which will have a more stringent SLA and, accordingly,

    The SaaS provider, in turn, has several repositories that are used to serve customers who have connected different tariff plans. In addition to SLA, servers for cheaper tariffs can be equipped with slower HDDs, are relatively rare to reserve, and also not be able to synchronize account data with mobile devices. A serious difference is also the period during which the SaaS provider stores customer data after the end of the subscription to its services. Therefore, after signing the contract, the system administrator of the SaaS provider needs to transfer the data of all the accounts of the enterprise to a new, more fault-tolerant and efficient mail storage that will guarantee the client a high SLA.

    It will take some time for the administrator to complete the mailbox migration, and it is quite difficult to predict how long the mailbox migration process will take. In order to meet the 15-minute technical break, the administrator decides to transfer mailboxes in two stages. In the first stage, he will copy all user data to the new server, and within the second stage he will transfer the accounts themselves. In order to complete the first stage, he runs the command zxsuite powerstore doMailboxMove secureserver.saas.com domains company.ru stages data. Due to this, all account data from the company domain will be safely transferred to the new secure server. Copying them takes place incrementally, so when the accounts are finally transferred to the new server, only the data that appeared after the first copy will be copied. At the time of the technical break, it is enough for the system administrator to enter the command zxsuite powerstore doMailboxMove secureserver.saas.com domains company.ru stages data, account notifications admin@saas.com . Thanks to her, the process of transferring a domain to a new server will be completed completely. Also, immediately after the completion of this command, an notification will be sent to the administrator’s mail about its completion and it will be possible to inform the client about the successful transition to a more productive and reliable server.

    However, do not forget that the old server left backup copies of migrated mailboxes. The SaaS provider is not interested in storing them on the old server and therefore the administrator decides to delete them. He does this with the zxsuite powerstore doPurgeMailboxes ignore_retention true command . Thanks to this command, all backup copies of mailboxes transferred to the new server will be instantly deleted from the old server.

    Thus, as we were able to see, Zextras PowerStore gives the Zimbra administrator virtually unlimited possibilities for managing mailboxes, allowing not only to achieve horizontal scaling, but even to solve some business problems. In addition, moving mailboxes between repositories can be used to increase the security of the Zimbra mailbox upgrade process, but this topic deserves a separate article.

    For all questions related to the Zextras Suite, you can contact the representative of the company "Zextras" Katerina Triandafilidi by e-mail katerina@zextras.com

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