Zimbra OSE Backing Up And Restoring Process | 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 my future series of articles onmost requested features by Zimbra admins, I will discuss the details about the advantage and disadvantages of various manually created backup and restoration process of zimbra OSE. To understand and further clarify the topic, we are going to describe and demonstrate a manual backup and restoration process before digging deeper into the topic.

Let’s assume that we have a mail server. We need to set up a backup and restore process for it in case of any disaster.


Steps to configure a backup process

  • Setup a secondary server with the similar OS of active/primary email server
  • Install same version of zimbra into the backup/secondary email server
    • In this case use software only option
    • ./install.sh -s
  • After the installation is completed, stop all zimbra services,
  • After successful installation, remove the zimbra configuration file from the backup server
    • #rm -rf /opt/zimbra/*
  • Setup keygen into the active/primary server. Exchange the key to backup/secondary server so that it does not prompt for authentication during rsync process
  • Now set a cronjob to rsync Zimbra files from active server to backup server
    • 00 00 * * * nice -n +19 rsync --progress -avzHS -e ssh /opt/zimbra/ root@backup_server_IP:/opt/zimbra/

With this step, a complete and incremental backup will be copied into the backup server. But the backup server is not properly functional yet.

Steps to configure restoration process

In case of any disaster, we need to follow the below-mentioned steps to reactivate the backup server.

  • Modify the logical configurations. i.e /etc/hosts, /etc/hostname, ip_address if necessary
  • Fix permission of the backup server
    • /opt/zimbra/libexec/zmfixperms -extended -v
  • Now again install the Zimbra into the backup server using platform-override option
    • ./install.sh –platform-override
  • After successful installation, reboot the server and all Zimbra services.

Now, these processes are so complex and need critical technological knowledge to operate. There are few alternatives to backup and restoration mechanisms available on the web. But all of them are complex and unreliable. Let’s take a look at one example from the Zimbra wiki page that shows some scripts for the backup and restoration processes (please note that the article is archived).

Although some of these methods are listed on the Zimbra wiki, executing them can be challenging and required extensive technical skills.

Whereas we can easily overcome the situation if we adopt the Zextras backup solution which has a graphical operational portal. Comparatively easy to use.

I am leaving some reference links if you’re interested in learning more:

  1. https://community.zextras.com/zextras-suite-advanced-backup-and-restore-system-for-zimbra/
  2. https://github.com/lucascbeyeler/zmbackup
  3. https://tamlx.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/script-backup-zimbra-mail/

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