Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

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msutherland
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Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

Postby msutherland » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:11 pm

I have been an avid fan of Zimbra for years and persuaded numerous customers to use Zimbra and have remained responsible for these installations. Clearly it is time to upgrade from 8.6.0, but I am in utter confusion. It seems like Synacor have simply bought in Zextras and fully integrated it - it certainly badly needed some of these improvements such as better control of activesync and better backup. However, it seems to have dumped Briefcase along the way. This is vital to my customers who use signatures that point to logos in their briefcases and sharing files with customers when needed - from what I read, there is no migration options and the Zimbra drive seems to rely on some external software that it not fully integrated! Next I see that it is necessary to start with a fresh install due to the numerous changes and there is no clear method to transfer the data and settings. I am totally confused about the Universal UI, NG, Zimbra Suite Plus. Please could someone tell me how to painlessly upgrade my various Zimbra 8.6.0 installations. Thank you


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Re: Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

Postby phoenix » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:25 pm

Where did you get the impression that this version 'requires' a clean install? I've upgraded my system and also done a separate clean install and the Briefcase function is still available in both of those and still working as it used to. :)
Regards

Bill

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L. Mark Stone
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Re: Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

Postby L. Mark Stone » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:01 pm

msutherland wrote:I have been an avid fan of Zimbra for years and persuaded numerous customers to use Zimbra and have remained responsible for these installations. Clearly it is time to upgrade from 8.6.0, but I am in utter confusion. It seems like Synacor have simply bought in Zextras and fully integrated it - it certainly badly needed some of these improvements such as better control of activesync and better backup. However, it seems to have dumped Briefcase along the way. This is vital to my customers who use signatures that point to logos in their briefcases and sharing files with customers when needed - from what I read, there is no migration options and the Zimbra drive seems to rely on some external software that it not fully integrated! Next I see that it is necessary to start with a fresh install due to the numerous changes and there is no clear method to transfer the data and settings. I am totally confused about the Universal UI, NG, Zimbra Suite Plus. Please could someone tell me how to painlessly upgrade my various Zimbra 8.6.0 installations. Thank you


So lots of questions there in your single paragraph; let me try to break them down for you and see what's what...

First, we are a long-time Zimbra Hosting Partner (BSP) since 2006. We have a multi-tenant hosting farm that has been in continuous use from version 4.0; we also host a number of bespoke, custom-configured Zimbra systems for clients, and also help other clients with their on-premises Zimbra systems.

I'll be doing a blog post in the next few days on various upgrade scenarios, but let's leave your upgrade choices for last and work on the other questions first.

Briefcase is still front and center. An in-place 8.8 upgrade will leave it intact and a new 8.8 install will deploy the Briefcase by default.

Zimbra Drive is a little confusing, yes. The Network Edition relies on a separate Nextcloud server you can host anywhere, and a little Zimbra applet you install on the Nextcloud server to manage seamless communications between Zimbra and Nextcloud. Drive then presents as another tab to the end user, just like Tasks, Briefcase, Preferences, etc. In the Open Source edition, Barry deGraff has built some some software that adds Nextcloud functionality to an existing Zimbra server, without the need to have a separate Nextcloud server.

Universal UI is not in 8.8 (yet). Separate Ephemeral data store and the new imapd engine are in 8.8.5, but are marked as beta for the moment.

Yes, the NG modules are Zextras integrated in already; if you have NE licensing you now get the Zextras bits for free. The various Zextras modules -- especially delegated admin -- do things sometimes very differently than the existing Admin toolset in 8.6. I would strongly advise you to take several hours to review the NG docs before turning any of that on; indeed before doing an upgrade to your 8.6 environment.

The killer question (and the focus of my forthcoming blog post) is when to do an in-place upgrade versus a migration to a new system.

To make this decision you need to understand that the NG (Zextras) restore function works totally differently than the Zimbra traditional backups. The differences actually make it, in many cases, more attractive and less risky to do a side-by-side migration than an in-place upgrade. Specifically, on Disaster Recovery/System Migration restores the Zextras backup kit does not restore LDAP nor does it restore MySQL. It creates all that as-new, based on meta data it pulled from the backup of your 8.6 system. The Zextras Backup/restore also preserves sharing, distribution lists and other LDAP-specific attributes that used to be lost when doing mailbox restores to a new system. Plus, you can break the restore into three chunks: (a) initial system/mailbox provisioning (takes a few minutes), after which users can log in to their mailboxes and receive/send new email; (b) non-intrusive initial mailbox data restore (to restore old emails, calendars, contacts, Briefcases, etc.), and; (c) and a non-disruptive rsync-like "catch-up" of any new data from the old system after you took the first backup there.

In-place or new system? If you existing system is running anything but the latest OS, I'd do a side-by-side migration to a new system (you'll be surprised at how much less disk space you'll use). Relatively new Zimbra system, like built initially at 8.6/8.7 on say Ubuntu 14/16, then you can do an in-place upgrade.

And oh by the way, when you do a side-by-side migration, the Zextras tools don't care about the versions of Zimbra in the old and the new system, nor the OS versions. You can take a Zextras backup of a 7.2 system on RHEL4 and replay it back into an 8.8 system on Ubuntu 16.

Regardless, I'd strongly suggest building a new 8.8 system with a test domain so you can play around with the Zextras features, and do a test restore of a few mailboxes on your new system to get comfortable with how different some of the Zextras features are.

Hope that helps,
Mark
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msutherland
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Re: Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

Postby msutherland » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Mark, Thank you for your very helpful advice. My worries with the briefcase were because I found another forum question that asked why there was no migration from Briefcase to Zimbra drive which rather suggested that Briefcase had gone!
I have used Zextras on open source versions of ZCS a few years back, so am fairly familiar with how they work. It sounds like the best option is to install Zextras on existing NE version and do a full backup, then install a fresh OS/ZCS and use the built-in restore which can read Zextras backup format?

So NE now contains Zextras and modules marked NG are the Zextras ones, and you can choose module by module whether to use the NG module or traditional module then?

Not sure what the point of Zimbra Suite Plus is now?

Thanks, Martin
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L. Mark Stone
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Re: Zimbra NE 8.6.0 to 8.8 woes

Postby L. Mark Stone » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:01 pm

msutherland wrote:Mark, Thank you for your very helpful advice. My worries with the briefcase were because I found another forum question that asked why there was no migration from Briefcase to Zimbra drive which rather suggested that Briefcase had gone!
I have used Zextras on open source versions of ZCS a few years back, so am fairly familiar with how they work. It sounds like the best option is to install Zextras on existing NE version and do a full backup, then install a fresh OS/ZCS and use the built-in restore which can read Zextras backup format?


So to do a migration you just install the Zextras backup tool on your old NE (or OSS) Zimbra server, take a backup, get the backup to the new NE server and then use the Import button in the Admin Console or the CLI to do the install. There's a link to download the backup tool in the documentation. No need any longer to install the whole Zextras Suite on the old, (source) server.

msutherland wrote:So NE now contains Zextras and modules marked NG are the Zextras ones, and you can choose module by module whether to use the NG module or traditional module then?


Essentially, yes.

msutherland wrote:Not sure what the point of Zimbra Suite Plus is now?

No point actually IMHO. The latest Zextras binary won't even install on 8.8 and later I am told.

Thanks, Martin


All the best,
Mark
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