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Zimbra to Zimbra migration using Zextras and SSHFS

This is only an extension to a normal installation. So you should have your new Zimbra environment ready to move the data of your current Zimbra environment to it.

In the past we did an in-place upgrade of our Zimbra and the Ubuntu it was residing on. The last upgrade from 8.5.1 on Ubuntu 14.04 to 8.7.1 on Ubuntu 16.04 was such a drama that I started looking for an easier solution that would give me a fresh Zimbra with all my settings, accounts, mails, calendar items ... without too much fuss.

To prevent inconsistency please stop your old Zimbra and afterwards make a snapshot and/or backup before you continue.

/etc/init.d/zimbra stop


su - zimbra -c "zmcontrol stop"

Also stop and disable fetchmail if you're using it

/etc/init.d/fetchmail stop 
sed -i "s/START_DAEMON=yes/START_DAEMON=no/g" /etc/default/fetchmail

Next change the IP because the Zimbra will need to be started again to do the export

sed -i "s/old_ip/temporary_ip/g" /etc/hosts /etc/network/interfaces

Next on both Zimbras create a folder to store the migration data on

su - zimbra -c "mkdir /opt/zimbra/backup/exports /opt/zimbra/backup/zextras"

Next mount this folder as the user zimbra on the new Zimbra (don't set a password on the zimbra user, just create a key pair and share the SSH public key). This will save you time to move the data.

 sshfs zimbra@temporary_ip:/opt/zimbra/backup/exports/ /opt/zimbra/backup/exports/

Next install the migration tool on the old Zimbra

cd /tmp && wget
tar xvzf zextras_migration_tool-*.tgz
cd zextras_migration_tool-*/
./install all

Now open the Zimbra admin page (https://temporary_ip:7071) and start exporting the domains and user you want to keep. Through ZeXtras -> ZxMig -> Start Migration



 Change the folder to the newly created /opt/zimbra/backup/exports


Select the domains you want to move


Under ZxNotifications check for any error during the export


When this finishes you can start importing on the new Zimbra. First install the Zextra suite (this is free for 30 days and we will remove it after we finish to get rid of warnings afterwards)

cd /tmp && wget 
tar xvzf zextras_suite-*.tgz
cd zextras_suite-*/
./install all

Open the Zimbra admin page (https://new_ip:7071) and open the ZeXtas -> ZxBackup -> select Import Backup


Change the path to /opt/zimbra/backup/exports


Select the domains you want to import


Select the accounts you want to import


And check if the restore started without warnings


After this finished you can clean up and give your new Zimbra the IP of the old one to start sending and receiving mails again.

If you had an SSL certificate installed now is the time to move that as well. Do this as user zimbra!

On the old zimbra

rsync -au /opt/zimbra/ssl/ zimbra@new_ip:/tmp/ssl/

On the new Zimbra

cp /tmp/ssl/zimbra/commercial/commercial.key /opt/zimbra/ssl/zimbra/commercial/ 
./zmcertmgr deploycrt comm /tmp/ssl/zimbra/commercial/commercial.crt /tmp/ssl/zimbra/commercial/commercial_ca.crt

In any case I would also enable HTTP -> HTTPS redirection

zmprov ms "FQDN" zimbraReverseProxyMailMode redirect

Let's finish:

FIRST: shutdown the old Zimbra machine and make sure it won't boot by itself. Don't forget to copy any backup settings, fetchmail config, cron jobs, ...

On the new Zimbra

cd /tmp/zextras_suite-*/ 
./install -u all
sed -i "s/new_ip/old_ip/g" /etc/hosts /etc/network/interfaces

Now your new Zimbra should be available with all the settings, accounts and mails just like it was when you stopped your old Zimbra.

Upgrading an existing Zimbra environment from Ubuntu 14.04 (ZCS 8.6.0) to Ubuntu 16.04 (ZCS 8.7.1)

Since I got some complaints about the current environment which I checked and according to the changelog these issues should be fixed by now. I'm going to perform an in-place upgrade of my current Zimbra 8.6.0 on Ubuntu 14.04 to Zimbra 8.7.1 on Ubuntu 16.04. The system runs in an OpenVZ container which gives us some extra flexibility.


First of all create a backup or a snapshot after you stopped the Zimbra services.

/etc/init.d/zimbra stop

Next create a "snapshot". Since this hypervisor doesn't have a snapshot solution I specifically choose to use the local (SSD) storage without compression to get the backup to finish as fast as possible, we can't afford unnecessary downtime and in the next generation of our servers we will be using file system based snasphots (LVM or ZFS) which makes waiting for a backup to finish something of the past. I created my snapshot using the web interface of Proxmox 3.4 but this is what happens in the background after stopping the container.

vzdump 113 --remove 0 --mode stop --storage local --node duff-prox-01


To prevent Zimbra from accepting mails. I changed the IP of my VPS during the entire upgrade. Next restart Zimbra and make sure it still runs fine.

sed -i "s/" /etc/network/interfaces /etc/hosts
service networking restart
/etc/init.d/zimbra restart


Next install and enable the Zimbra proxy and memcached if you didn't had them configured in the past. See

cd /tmp/ && wget
tar xvzf zcs-8.6.0_GA_1153.UBUNTU14_64.20141215151116.tgz
cd zcs-8.6.0_GA_1153.UBUNTU14_64.20141215151116/packages
dpkg -i dpkg -i zimbra-proxy_8.6.0.GA.1153.UBUNTU14.64_amd64.deb zimbra-memcached_8.6.0.GA.1153.UBUNTU14.64_amd64.deb
su - zimbra
./libexec/zmproxyconfig -e -w -o -a 8080:80:8443:443 -x both -H zimbra.ampersant
./libexec/zmproxyconfig -e -m -o -i 7143:143:7993:993 -p 7110:110:7995:995 -H zimbra.ampersant
zmprov ms zimbra.ampersant zimbraMailReferMode reverse-proxied
zmmailboxdctl restart
zmprov ms zimbra.ampersant +zimbraServiceEnabled memcached
zmcontrol restart


Now upgrade Zimbra to the latest edition available for Ubuntu 14.04

Note! Zimbra introduced their own repository so before starting the upgrade make sure you can install GPG keys from and that your server can surf the web (through the proxy if any). And just to be sure, rebuild the apt cache:

apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 9BE6ED79
sudo apt-get clean
cd /var/lib/apt
sudo mv lists lists.old
sudo mkdir -p lists/partial
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get update
cd /tmp/ && wget
tar xvzf zcs-8.7.1_GA_1670.UBUNTU14_64.20161025045105.tgz
cd zcs-8.7.1_GA_1670.UBUNTU14_64.20161025045105

If you run in to any other issues please first check the installation log

tail -f /tmp/install.log.*

If you successfully finish the upgrade stop Zimbra before you upgrade Ubuntu

/etc/init.d/zimbra stop


Next upgrade Ubuntu (this application is in the update-manager-core package)



Only for when you are running a very old kernel! Revert back to upstart

apt-get install upstart-sysv


Get the latest build of Zimbra for Ubuntu 16.04

cd /tmp/ && wget


Next extract the installation files

tar -xvzf zcs-8.7.1_GA_1670.UBUNTU16_64.20161025045114.tgz


And start the repair of the old install to be able to do an in-place upgrade. You will get some alerts and we work around them anyway

cd zcs-8.7.1_GA_1670.UBUNTU16_64.20161025045114
echo "deb [arch=amd64] xenial zimbra
deb-src [arch=amd64] xenial zimbra" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/zimbra.list
apt-get update
apt-get install zimbra-core-components
apt-get -f install
dpkg -i packages/*.deb
apt-get -f install

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