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

Bertrand Russell

Welcome to vBlog, a personal record of my techy tinkerings and particular ponderings.

I tend to focus on VMware virtualisation, and the interaction/automation of it using PowerCLI (VMware's PowerShell Snapin), but anything that I happen to stumble across that seems like it might be of use at a later date, may well get recorded here.

I also maintain vWiki, which was a predecessor to this blog. Wiki's are great for quickly recording snippets of info, but tend not to look that great; Blog's are better looking things, but seem to require more effort so that the posts/articles are accessible in their own right. As a result I tend to update both interchangeably as available time, and depth of thought, permit.

If you happen to find anything of use, or in need of correction please leave a comment. Knowing that my ramblings are of some use is a great reward; and similarly I'd hate to waste anybody's time by feeding them duff info.

See these pages for me info about me, and my vBlog, and below for my recent posts...

15 Oct 2012



The long awaited version 2 of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Active-Sync package known as Z-Push became available earlier in the year.  Whilst I held out for the first few months, in case there were a few early release bugs, I recently took the plunge… Continue reading →

4 Oct 2012


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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… Continue reading →

5 Mar 2012



A while back I played with getting ActiveSync working for my Zimbra server using Z-Push (see previous post here), which was OK, but due to the lack of HTML email sync support and the fact that it seemed likely that v7 the Zimbra Appliance (ZCA) was to be released soon (free for 10 accounts with ZimbraMobile, Zimbra’s implementation of ActiveSync), I never really got round to using it anger.

But having plumped for v7, ZCA seemed to be taking an age to come out of Beta (it still is). Z-Push v2 is expected to be released at some point this year, though that does seem to be slipping (see roadmap), which will feature HTML support; but regardless there’s a branch version of v1 that implements HTML email sync anyway.  Therefore, I’m back to playing with Z-Push.

I’ve managed to get it up and working, and have been syncing and sending email without issue for a few weeks, and have sync’ed the odd calendar and contact item as well; using one of my email accounts.  Here’s how you can get it done… Continue reading →

16 Oct 2011


1 comment

If you’re getting a new commercial certificate created, then you can use the GUI tools available in the admin console to create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for your SSL provider, and then import the certificates that they provide.

If you’re migrating from an old server that already has a commercial certificate, then you need to migrate everything across, which can’t be done via the admin console… Continue reading →

7 Sep 2011



The free open source (FOSS) version of Zimbra lacks the ability to push email (and calendar and contact) updates to your mobile device. In the Network Edition and Appliance versions this feature is known as Zimbra Mobile, which is an implementation of Microsoft’s Active-Sync protocol. You can have these features with the FOSS version, but you need to implement it yourself.

To do so you need three things…

  1. A pubic Apache web-server with good access to your Zimbra server
  2. Z-Push – provides Active-Sync front-end to your mobile devices
  3. Zimbra backend – interfaces with your Zimbra server

UPDATE:  I’ve now documented how get full HTML email sync working using Z-Push (plus I get the impression the below procedure doesn’t reliably work) – which I’ve documented on this vBlog and my vWiki

Core procedure is the same in both, but there’s a bit more explanation on the vBlog post, and the vWiki article includes setting up Z-Push over SSL.

Continue reading →

I’ve been using Zimbra’s Collaboration Server (ZCS) as mail server/calendar/document store for about a year.  I chose it because I wanted a professional standard email server, and didn’t want to pay the £500 plus to do it (and do it legally).  You can spend £400 getting Zimbra Network Edition (price has probably changed since when I was looking), but the FOSS version has done me fine.  The email client is great, though the desktop client is only just getting there.

Since Zimbra was purchased by VMware, they’ve obviously wanted to make it more virtualisation friendly (the first FOSS version I used needed a fair bit of tweaking to keep its memory and CPU reasonable), and the epitome of that is the virtual appliance.  And for me the carrot on the stick to tempt me to move to that from the comfort of my existing server is the fact that I can get ActiveSync (aka Zimbra Mobile) functionality for free (for a 10 account license, previously it was a component of the premium Network Edition).

Anyway, this is how I’ve got the Zimbra Collaboration Appliance (ZCA) running (v7, which I used to create this post, is currently beta, and there are a few workarounds included here, hopefully they won’t be required in the production release).

Once you’ve got it running see my follow on post covering Migrating to Zimbra Collaboration Appliance

Continue reading →

Zimbra Collaboration Server (ZCS) is a replacement for Microsoft Exchange, and comes in a nice free open source edition (aka FOSS); and also a premium Network edition (which includes bells and whistles such as support, mobile active-sync, on-line backups, a MS Outlook connector, etc).

The last time I touched MS Exchange it was version 5.5, so I’m in no position to compare the two. I’m not going to make out ZCS is perfect either, but similarly I’ve overheard sys admins voicing plenty of gripes regarding MS Exchange so I doubt ZCS is any worse.  ZCS is in fact very slick in places, and has a healthy support forum to assist in any problems you may have – there are organisations that use FOSS in production (and plenty that use the paid for version as well). Continue reading →