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Thread: My Random Tips for Migration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default My Random Tips for Migration

    Hi everybody. Just wanted to add some more knowledge to the community.

    I recently migrated from the traditional Redhat Linux box with Sendmail / Dovecot doing SMTP and IMAP for all my users, over to the network edition of Zimbra.

    I learned many things, some of which I added to the wiki, some of which I figured I would post here in case it helps anybody out there because my solutions tend to be highly practical instead of highly technical.

    Some Basics

    1. Make it easy on yourself by installing a new machine for your new mail server instead of trying to install a new product on a server that is already doing your email.

    2. Yes Zimbra for Redhat Enterprise Linux works just swimmingly on CentOS 5.

    Ok so the tips:

    1. imapsync is horrible, badly documented, and hates you. Ok so maybe it's not all that bad but when it doesn't work life can seem pretty bleak. After a few hours of tinkering I found that the command line given in the wiki didn't work unless I ended my command line with --noauthmd5 and I had logged in to the zimbra admin panel and changed the server to support clear text passwords.

    My command line was thus:
    imapsync --buffersize 8192000 --nosyncacls --subscribe --syncinternaldates --host1 oldmail --user1 nathan --password1 oldmailpassword --host2 newmail --user2 nathan --password2 zimbramailpassword --noauthmd5

    I have a lot of email, as in thousands of messages, so the sync process took about an hour.

    2. If you have 50 accounts to move, like I did, you can start several instances of imapsync running at the same time. Your server load will go up a lot, so if you are using a slow machine try not to run too many at once. I was running 6 at the same time and my load average got up to 4.0 but the machine was still responsive so no worries.

    3. If you only have one or two accounts to migrate over, why use complicated command line tools to copy your email? To copy your email over requires that both the old and new server are up on your network, so just load up Thunderbird and set up TWO email accounts. One on the old server, and one on the new server. You cant have two accounts in thunderbird with the same name so I just put NEW at the end of all the nonessential data like Real Name, etc when setting up my account. You are using IMAP right? Well start.

    Now just check your email, and then drag your email from one server's folders to the other. Thunderbird will kindly copy them all over for you. Make friends with ctrl-A to select all the messages in a folder at once, to make selecting and dragging a lot faster.

    4. I see folders in Zimbra that I didn't see before!
    Yeah that happens. See at one time a Bad Sysadmin (tm) who didn't know what he was doing coppied the mail directory of one user in to another's thinking this was a good way to merge accounts after somebody was fired. No, it's actually a terrible way to merge accounts. So imapsync coppied all this junk, and though John Q User couldn't see all those mangled folders before, now he can! Just erase the dupes with your favorite email client and then refrain from running imapsync on this account again.

    5. I have a folder called Drafts that shows unread email, but when I click it there isn't anything there!
    Remember Thunderbird? Many of my users here used it. I found the easy way to solve this wierd problem was to close their Zimbra client, and use Thunderbird to read their email. Now right click the Drafts folder and select COMPACT. Now close Thunderbird. When you go back to Zimbra the mysterious email is gone!

    6. Thunderbird exports contacts, and Zimbra imports them all wrong!
    Export your contacts from Thunderbird to a CSV file. Now open the CVS file with your favorite Excel rip-off or plain text editor. Change the header names to match what Zimbra is looking for, and no the order of the columns is not important:
    "assistantPhone","birthday","callbackPhone","carPh one","company", "companyPhone","description","department","dlist", "email","email2", "email3","fileAs","firstName","fullName","homeCity ","homeCountry", "homeFax","homePhone","homePhone2","homePostalCode ","homeState", "homeStreet","homeURL","initials","jobTitle","last Name","middleName", mobilePhone","namePrefix","nameSuffix","nickname", "notes","office", "otherCity","otherCountry","otherFax","otherPhone" ,"otherPostalCode", "otherState","otherStreet","otherURL","pager","wor kCity","workCountry", "workFax","workPhone","workPhone2","workPostalCode ","workState", "workStreet","workURL"

    This also works for people who export contacts from Outlook as CSV because they don't want to use the PST importer. You should use the PST importer, its much more elegant a solution.

    That just about does it for my installation tips and random migration irritations that I ran in to. I hope my experience will assist those who have similar situations!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Hi, great tips, I like the imapsync line especially, I've not used it myself but looking at the syntax, I'm sure other people will benefit from it!

    I'd mention that using thunderbird as the transition point to move mail from one account to another may mangle the recieved dates, or at least it did when I used outlook to do this a while back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Rep Power


    Thunderbird didn't set the INTERNALDATE when using APPEND to copy messages. You can work around this by putting /tb at the end of your login username ( or user/tb), which throws the Zimbra IMAP server into thunderbird hack mode for your session and works around this issue by setting INTERNALDATE to the Date header of APPENDed messages. However, using a newer version of Thunderbird should prove alright. (There's also /wm which is Windows Mobile mode. When using zmlmtinject you can run a script (search for it) that can set the x-zimbra-received header.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Aye. I must be using the new version of Thunderbird because I didn't have any date issues at all.

    I did experience date issues on all of the messages that were coppied incorrectly by a previous administrator, but it was imapsync that mangled all those for me. I think it was just doing the best it could with the corrupt data it was given. Thankfully all those messages were junk anyway and we just erased them.

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