The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution

Bertrand Russell

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On 4 Oct 2012

Zimbra

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I’ve recently upgraded my Zimbra FOSS installations to the latest version 8. The upgrade process itself is easy enough, launch the install script, answer a few basic questions like Is this an upgrade? and you let it run.

My test/DR server took about an hour (actual service downtime was around 30 mins), my live server was more troublesome…

Being that its hosted and services a small number of mailboxes, its got as little CPU and RAM assigned as possible (1x CPU and 1GB RAM), its always been a little sluggish, but perfectly usable.  However, once the services started back up and started to process the small backlog of emails it fell apart.  An ungraceful reboot got it back up and running, only for it to fall over when the backup script ran overnight.  In the morning I got my trusted provider to give it another 512 MB and within a few mins it was back up and running.  Since then its been running sweetly.

Improvements

Zimbra 8 is nice upgrade to the previous version, its still the same beast, but the web client looks a lot slicker.  Basic layout and functionality are essentially the same, but with a new skin.  The way email conversations are handled is much improved, which I particularly like as grouping mails by conversation is great way to keep your Inbox uncluttered without having to ruthlessly delete.

Its now possible to set per-folder retention and deletion thresholds (similar to Auto-Archive in Outlook), which was a very noticeable omission from previous versions.

The admin console has been revamped and generally improved, and feels much like the vCentre 5 web interface (VMware are obviously trying to get a consistent look and feel across their products).  It’ll no doubt take a little getting use to as things aren’t in the same place they were, but it seems more logical, and definitely feels like a move forward.

There’s probably more that I haven’t discovered yet.

All in all, I’d say that Zimbra is finally seeing some of the benefits of its acquisition by VMware.

See the Zimbra FAQ for more info on changes etc – http://files.zimbra.com/website/docs/8.0/VMware_Zimbra_FAQ_8.0.pdf

Also, if you use Z-Push with the Zimbra backend to provide Active-Sync to your mobile clients, then there’s no reason to hold back, Z-Push v2 seems to work fine.

For more info on performing the upgrade see my vWiki page – http://vwiki.co.uk/Upgrade_Zimbra_FOSS_v7_to_v8, and also see the release notes – http://files.zimbra.com/website/docs/8.0/Zimbra_OS_Release_Notes_8.0.0.pdf.

And finally…

If you’re on the lookout for a good virtual server hosting provider, you could do a lot worse than using VMhosts.  They’re a good, responsive, and honest bunch, who constantly deliver a professional service.  I’m a normal paying customer, and (given that I work in IT) it’s rare to feel the need to openly praise an IT organisation for their work (they’ll always do something wrong).  I’m not going to suggest that they’ll never experience any problems (that would obviously be rubbish!); but I’m sure they’ll be open, frank, and prompt about getting a resolution in place.

 


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