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Thread: how portable is a zimbra installation?

  1. #1
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    Default how portable is a zimbra installation?

    Hi,
    Would it even be possible for someone to ship a computer system to someone with zimbra installed without the zimbra installer knowing the machines name, ip address and MX domain?

    My thought is that the zimbra installation process probably hardcodes configuration data (in ldap directory, mysql db, config files, etc) so that the zimbra installation is very "sticky" and hard to re-purpose once the hostname or ip address is modified, even if by dhcp.

    These are the questions that I am pondering since I am trying to share my zimbra installation as an "AMI" (Amazon Machine Image) for the Elastic Cloud. I have zimbra successfully installed and running on the amazon elastic cloud. By successful, I mean it can send/receive mail to/from yahoo.com.

    I am about to bundle up my customized AMI and attempt to test my AMI with some other domains to see if I can get it up and running quickly and easily.

    Any thoughts on the "stickiness" of configuration data for zimbra?

    Thanks for you time!
    Phillip

  2. #2
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    I don't know what the silence on my post represents. I would even appreciate hearing a "you are nuts" post.

    I have been thinking more about this.

    I am considering a set of ant scripts that will do a bunch of sql statements, ldap updates, file system updates to basically reset the zimbra hostname in all the places that it's stored.

    Thoughts?

    I know that it may seem strange thing that I am after, but I want to do is be able to run 10 instances of zimbra out of the box, whereas the base hostname of the zimbra install would be provided by the DHCP server, but of course, users would be able to configure their zimbra instances with their own hostnames, etc. The server would bound to a public IP address via NAT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by authsum View Post
    I am considering a set of ant scripts that will do a bunch of sql statements, ldap updates, file system updates to basically reset the zimbra hostname in all the places that it's stored.
    I'm no expert, but I think that might work. The only thing to do is try it, as I'm guessing you won't find people that have already done exactly the same thing. I'm sure I've seen mention of wiki pages detailing how to reconfigure hostnames and other details post-install - hopefully those pages will between them contain all the steps you might need to implement.

    One other method that might also work is to not install Zimbra before rolling out the machines. Instead try automate the install process and include the install binary on the VM:
    • Each VM just a base OS install with the Zimbra setup unpacked in /tmp
    • Initial setup (automatic on first boot?):
      • Detects or prompts for network settings (addresses, hostname)
      • Configures the base OS accordingly (/etc/hostname, confguring split DNS if needed, ...)
      • Prompts for custom Zimbra settings, if any needed (these prompts could be done at the same time as gathering network info)
      • Runs the Zimbra install, feeding in data where needed (IIRC the only interaction required is "yes" to various questions and setting the admin password)
      • Uses the Zimbra command line tools to set customisations not set during install
    This will take longer then your proposal for the creation of each machine, of course, which would be a problem if you are looking for a fast "setup request -> installed and ready" time.

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    The dependancies on DNS and hostname resolution are a pretty big hurdle to ship any mail server preconfigured. You could configure ZCS as a software only install (install.sh -s) and all the user would have to do is run zmsetup.pl once they've setup the IP, hostname etc.

    This is essentially what the ZCS appliance vmware/iso image does but it also provides a nice lighthttpd interface for setting up the hostname, ip, dns and zmsetup defaults.
    Bugzilla - Wiki - Downloads - Before posting... Search!

  5. #5
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    Sort of like a Windows OEMPreinstallation kit for Zimbra huh?

    Well it'd be possible, but I imagine it's not going to be easy. It may be simpler to come at it from a different angle, instead is scripting a change to a base install to set the hostname, email domain etc; create a script to automate the zimbra install from scratch.

    So when the server boots, it prompts the user for the IP address information they want, and the server hostname and then reboots. Then a script runs with installs zimbra with the information gathered but it asks the user no questions. Once done, you have the end result, a preconfigured zimbra installation with no interraction from the user other than asking them for their email domain and server IP address?

    Still looks hard though.

  6. #6
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    I'm working on a multi-domain, scalable solution to run Zimbra on Amazon EC2. How have you configured your instances to use for mail/log storage, as the instances are not stateful? Are you using S3 or SimpleDB?

    Setting up the instance to use a new domain/hostname seems similar to the vmware image as was already stated.

    Any help or more info on how you have your system configured on EC2 would be appreciated.

  7. #7
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    I have a Running EC2 testing with 6Beta zimbra open source version. everything running well with no issues. I would like to know if anyone has done any portability of the MYSQL to SimpleDB or if it is even possible. It would allow for huge Databases for hosting companies at a very low cost.
    Daniel Brody - VP
    OneSync Inc. www.onesync.com
    Voice/Fax: 416-613-3491 daniel@onesync.com

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    I am also interested in hosting Zimbra on Amazon EC2. Would love to hear more details about whether you succeeded in wrapping Zimbra as an AMI and how easy it is for others to deploy it for other domains. Someone should make it available on Amazon DevPay!

    I also thought that sending emails from EC2 is very problematic because EC2 instances have IPs from a dynamic pool and no reverse DNS so that they many email systems reject emails sent from EC2 instances as span - no?

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