Major Mail Server Upgrades: Over the past…

Sat Aug 16 13:44:14 PDT 2003 — Major Mail Server Upgrades: Over the past year we have been working hard to design and implement an entirely new mail server architecture. The new architecture is built around load balanced single task servers allowing for high availability and easy on-line expansion of capacity. We have been silently preparing and upgrading our existing servers and network to support the new systems. This includes the deployment of 6 new clustered NFS servers for mail spool storage, a new gigabit Ethernet SAN comprised of 4 switches, four new dedicated internal DNS servers, four new authentication and accounting servers, a new dedicated SpamAssassin user database server, and a pair of Alteon AD3 server load balancing switches in an active-standby automatic fail over configuration. And, of course, the nine new mail servers themselves. (Three of which are already deployed as ‘’ and ‘’.) The final stages of deployment are upon us. Monday, August 18th, we are going to begin transitioning the flow of inbound email to our new MX handling servers. For now, these new MX handlers will direct mail to the existing MX handlers for local delivery. There will be no negative customer impact during this migration. Saturday, August 23rd, we are going to swing local delivery and pop to the new delivery and pop servers. This change itself should only take a few minutes to complete; most customers will probably not notice that anything has changed. However, there will be some important and significant changes that take place at this time. The most significant changes are: 1) Mail left on the servers will be redelivered into the new message store format. If your mail client is configured to leave mail on the server, all of these messages with be re-downloaded by your mail program which will create duplicates of all these messages in your inbox. Additionally it should be noted that it may take as long as 12 hours to completely redeliver all email to the new spools. We recommend that users stop leaving mail on our servers immediately and then re-enable it once the migration has finished if they wish. No messages left on our servers will be lost. 2) The new POP3 server supports STARTTLS as well as the currently support alternate port SSL encryption. Users using email clients with broken STARTTLS implementations or with broken proxy servers may need to disable STARTTLS in their email client, upgrade their software or disable their proxy. This is not expected to affect a significant number of customers. 3) The only ‘Officially’ supported shell mail clients will be Mutt and Pine, the only shell clients which have support for Maildir format message stores. We are recommending that users who are not already doing so use Mutt. It should be noted that there are a number of potential solutions for users to continue to use whichever email client that they choose but they will be doing so without official support from staff.

Due to the significance of these changes we will be sending out two emails detailing the changes and expected issues to be encountered to our customers. The first will go to all users. The second will specifically deal with reading email on the shell and will only be sent to users who have enabled shell access.

If you have any questions or comments please direct them to news:// -Kelsey, Nathan, Russ, Kevan, Scott and John from Operations. Eli, Chris, Kavan, Randy and John from Support.

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