How To Maintain Your Zimbra Servers After Soon-coming CentOS End-of-life | Zimbra

Alert! This article is written for Zimbra OSE users. As of December 2023, Synacor will no longer be providing support for Zimbra OSE. You might want to consider trying out Carbonio Community Edition – Zextras’s free and open-source email and collaboration platform.

For additional guidance, check out our community articles detailing the process of migrating from your current platform to Carbonio CE.

In December 2020, an announcement of Redhat shocked the whole tech world. CentOS, one of the most stable open-source OS will not release any stable version of it after CentOS 8. Moreover, it will end its support for CentOS 7 & 8 from June 2024 & December 2021 respectively.

I was not expecting this at all. As a system administrator, I manage quite a lot of servers that run on CentOS. What will I do with them? What if any other popular open-source OS gets the same fate as CentOS. Who can we rely on?

This situation has different aspects based on its use case scenario. Like, if you are a hosting provider, to overcome this situation either you need to switch to any commercial OS or non-popular OS.

We will now analyze the situation from the perspective of an administrator who has Zimbra based email server.

Step 1

Don’t panic. Find a stable OS as an alternative for your upcoming new projects. Though it is completely my personal opinion I think I will be comfortable with Debian-based Ubuntu OS.

As per the official guideline of Zimbra, it supports the below mentioned OSs:

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 7

CentOS Linux® 7

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, patch level 4 or later is required

CentOS Linux 6, patch level 4 or later is required.

Oracle Linux 7.2

Oracle Linux 6.6

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Among these OS, Ubuntu has a stable release channel and strong community-based support. Hence, for all of my upcoming projects, I would like to work with Ubuntu LTS (where LTS stands for long-term support).

Step 2

But what about my existing Zimbra servers? Whether I like it or not but the time has come that I migrate them or plan to migrate them from CentOS to Ubuntu.

I know, I know. It would take a lot of planning, effort, and precise execution to do this work. But to make our future, hassle-free we have to do it.

There are several different ways to migrate your old Zimbra server to the new Zimbra server. Most of these methods are manual and need precise intervention to make them work.

In one migration system, you need to set up a new Zimbra system into a new server with a new OS besides your existing Zimbra server. Now remove your newly installed Zimbra system files from your new server. Copy old Zimbra server’s configuration files and folders to the new server. Fix the permissions. And you can make your Zimbra server live again into a completely new OS and environment.

In another system, similarly, we need to set up a new Zimbra server in a new OS. Now migrate the existing server’s user data (Not mailbox) from the old server to the new server. When we can assure that both old and new servers have similar user data then we can change the necessary DNS configuration to make the new server an active server. After that, we can gradually migrate user mailboxes to the new server with some custom scripts.

All these processes and manual and heavily depends on the various factors and need professional guidance.

Here comes zextras Suite for Zimbra. With Zextras Suite backup we can easily migrate your Zimbra server. I have shared some reference links for your better understanding.

At first, it was mind-boggling. But as I spent time with this whole process it gets more and more clear. Though this article is not a technical article. But hopefully, it will enlighten us during this crisis time.

To read more about Zimbra migration please refer to Zimbra Migration with Zextras Suite Backup.

Find more about supported operating systems Zimbra OSE and CentOS EOL dates.

Thanks for your time.

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