Real-time Backup and Restore for Zimbra – System Administrators’ Most Requested Features | 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.

Zimbra OSE is a complete email solution. It offers lots of customization compared to G Suit and M365. Still, it needs some attention from the system admins perspective. We think a real-time backup and restore system is all we need to secure our data on a Zimbra server.

This is a series of three articles that try to discuss the most requested features by Zimbra admins including:

  • Backup and restore for Zimbra,
  • Authentication methods for Zimbra,
  • Cloud storage integration for Zimbra.

In this article, we will discuss backup and recovery for Zimbra.

What makes someone a good system administrator?

We will figure it out later.

Imagine on a sunny summer afternoon you received a call from your assistant that your data center had a disaster. All of your IT infrastructure along with an on-premises email server is lost. What will be your first thought? How will you recover your losses? Your network counterpart administrator has their configuration backed up and they can replace the damaged hardware. But what about you?

Having a reliable contingency plan is the key to being a good system administrator. A good backup system can be a lifesaver sometimes. Our article details will focus on how a common backup system is implemented and works and how a reliable backup system (Zextras Suite) works.

There are two types of backup & recovery systems:

  1. Full system backup and restore
  2. Selective backup and restore

There are other situations where a backup can be really useful, such as:

  • Data retention policy (i.e. recovery of an earlier version than the current one) 
  • Protection against internal/ external security threats 
  • Legal requirements and compliance with institutional regulations 
  • Data transfer (migration) requirements

With a full system backup and restore policy, we can backup & restore the complete system. In today’s circumstances, there are a few mechanisms that help us to implement the full system backup and restore feature.  I.e


We can have a secondary/backup node configured with the same version of Zimbra.  After that, we copy/rsync full backup/incremental backup from active to the secondary node by using the scheduler (cron)  service. In this mechanism, we are hugely dependent on the cron job which can be tricky with the time and condition. After the failure of the primary node, we have to restore the full backup and make it usable.


  • This is not a real time backup.
  • We can not use this if we need some selected items to be restored.


We set up a secondary node. We put a forwarding into the active node where we tell it that it should forward a copy of each incoming and outgoing email into an email address of the secondary node. In this case, the secondary node works as a dump zone.


  • Though it works real time it is not a structured backup/restore system. We just dump a copy of all of our emails into an email account of another server.


We can also use some other dedicated software like Acronis which provides data backup that satisfies data backup point of view more than email backup point of view.


  • Does not come up with the flexibility that a system admin needs in terms of full/selective email backup & restore features.

The most common drawback of these three (3) options is flexibility. Though Option-3 provides some reliability, they all feature tedious and laborious ways to restore data.

A smart and reliable instrument to restore data can save precious system administrator’s time because the most common requests from users are: 

  • Recovering e-mail they worked on for a while and they deleted it by mistake, 
  • Restoring something they deleted but don’t remember where 
  • Asking for one or more restores because they are unsure about deleted data nor restored ones.

Zextras Suite has solved all these problems for system administrators by implementing all sorts of different features. For instance, a real-time backup for Zimbra which is craved by system administrators for years is only one of the many features of Zextras Suite backup. 

With Zextras Suite, any object inside Zimbra is saved. Users and admin can recover anything that was deleted. An e-mail? A whole mailbox? All the files of a local disk? Anything a system admin wishes for.

Some Key features of Zextras Suite Real-time Backup and Restore

  • Zextras backup is transactional and continuous.
  • Backup is automatic. It runs without affecting the workday and there is no need of having specialized support.
  • Punctual. You choose what to recover. Set a date and a time and you’ll recover the whole situation of that specific moment.
  • Universal. You can use the backup you recovered on any Zimbra edition, version, and any server.
  • Redundant. Your files can be copied in more geographical areas. Don’t worry about the storage: thanks to Zextras storage the more space you occupy, the more you save up. There is the possibility to save on external storage, too.

Finally, we all agree that deploying a backup and recovery mechanism for the Zimbra OSE is kind of a nightmare for system admin like us. But with Zextras Suite it is not anymore.

Download Zextras Suite for Zimbra OSE



Hi Arman,

which article ? 

this one I suppose ?


Arman Khosravi

Posted by: @dominix

Hi Arman,

which article ? 

this one I suppose ?


Hi, yes.

Sorry, this post was generated automatically but for some reason without the link.

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