Zimbra to ISPConfig

Discussion in 'General' started by TonyG, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. TonyG

    TonyG Active Member

    I've been running the Zimbra FOSS environment for a couple years. In terms of features and L&F, it's a really fine platform. But there are issues which I am noting here. I'm looking for a new solution, and so far I beleive ISPConfig most closely matches my needs.

    What's wrong with Zimbra?
    The owner (Synacor) is not FOSS/community-friendly - they just don't get it. The docs are a disaster. While all email servers are tough to maintain, this one is very difficult because it's so cryptic. There are only a few people in the forum who really know the platform. Their personal dedication to the platform and community is admirable and Very appreciated. But there is not a critical mass of talent to allow an independent admin to keep flowing with frequent challenges.

    Why do I find ISPConfig attractive?
    ISPConfig includes an email server only as part of a larger system with a lot of other great functionality.
    Some people favor Nginx over Apache, but I like Apache. All of my servers are running it. I'm familiar with it in a way that I am not familiar with Nginx. So I really appreciate that ISPConfig works with Apache.
    ISPConfig email-related functionality seems to support more features than other offerings. I'm not a feature-monger but I don't like too many fundamental limitations either.
    The source is PHP, very important to me because I spend a lot of time in PHP with WordPress and MantisBT.
    The API and extensibility make this package empowering, where Zimbra feels closed and restrictive.

    Is ISPConfig a good replacement for Zimbra?
    I see very old threads here where people wanted to migrate email services from ISPConfig to Zimbra. That's fine for those who want more features. But it seems like this package is now much more robust in this area, and I'm not seeing recent threads about a move To Zimbra. Is that a valid observation?

    Are there any recent major failings in the email server functionality? ( SMTP / IMAP / Postfix / Dovecot / filters / etc )
    Does anyone here feel this specific component of the package is unsuitable for some reason?

    Do email components get updated with a ISPConfig update, or do we need to update components ourselves?

    For Zimbra / Postfix, can anyone recommend an easy migration path? Or should I look at generating a CSV or REST calls to import?

  2. Jesse Norell

    Jesse Norell Well-Known Member Staff Member Howtoforge Staff

    Check the issue tracker for sure; what is "major" to one person isn't even of the slightest concern to another, so hard to say. There are certainly more features I'd like to see, but it's quite solid and customisable, so no "major" failings as far as we (my employer, etc.) are concerned.

    The mail software (postfix, dovecot, etc.) is generally installed with OS packages and updated with OS updates. Some things are downloaded manually as part of the installation (eg. jailkit, and often roundcube or phpmyadmin), and those need to be updated manually as well. Some software can be installed from 3rd party repo's (eg. the most common way to install multiple php versions is the sury.org repos), though of course installing packages from 3rd party's can at times be incompatible or break things, too, so research and test those things. ISPConfig does not (currently?) package 3rd party software, nor do I know of any OS's which package ISPConfig.

    I'm not familiar with Zimbra at all, but either using the api directly or a csv import (which uses the api) are workable approaches, and use something like rsync for the data.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
    Th0m and TonyG like this.
  3. Th0m

    Th0m ISPConfig Developer Staff Member ISPConfig Developer

    I'm not familliar with Zimbra either, but I am very happy with ISPConfig. If you set it up correctly, it works like a charm. I don't how big your installation is, but I would advice you to use a separate server for just the panel and set up your other server(s) as slaves if it's a big installation.

    I think Jesse answered your questions, but if anything pops up, let us know :)
  4. TonyG

    TonyG Active Member

    Thanks @Th0m. I have created a new cloud server from scratch with Ubuntu 20.04 and PHP 7.3. I understand notes so far target up to v18 but I'm OK to push the envelope a bit. I'm going through The Perfect Server notes for Ubuntu, encountering some common issues, and will post a note here when I have a working environment.

    I have about 8 domains for personal projects and my own small business, no big corporate thing. For all domains I have about 10 default accounts. There are no mail items worth pulling over from Zimbra. If possible I'd like to find a Postfix export. But if that doesn't exist I can generate CSV or API calls. I'm sure I'll get this going.

    I'm kinda tired of spending months with various FOSS, and then finding the shortcomings. I'm hoping to find a balance here, with stable functionality and a vibrant community. I'm happy to participate, share notes in a wiki and forums, even an occasional PR or extension. I just need this stuff to work. Looking for a little reassurance I guess. :)
    Th0m likes this.
  5. Th0m

    Th0m ISPConfig Developer Staff Member ISPConfig Developer

    Make sure to follow the Perfect Server guide and eventually tweak it to your needs.

    What do you mean with Postfix export?
  6. TonyG

    TonyG Active Member

    There are scripts like mailbox_import_from_csv (probably out of date)
    (I'm a new member here, can't post URLs yet)
    If I can export existing domain/user data, convert to CSV, then import back into ISPConfig Postfix, it will save some time.
    I might find a Postfix>Postfix transfer.
    Frankly as I said, at this point I would be fine with generating a CSV rather than trying to pull anything from Zimbra. I already have my own scripts that generate commands to create addresses like this:
    users: sales at domain.tld, support at domain.tld, info at domain.tld
    then for any user: Lastname_Firstname
    aliases: FLastname, FirstL, FirstLast ...
    I just need to adapt that to the schema for the CSV for the above script:
    login name; full name; mail address;password;mailbox quota
    Unless there is another suggestion for CLI or mass file import of user data?
  7. Jesse Norell

    Jesse Norell Well-Known Member Staff Member Howtoforge Staff

    It's not as much postfix that's involved, rather the mail store and user bases, so more of a dovecto>dovecot transfer (assuming zimbra uses dovecot). There probably is some data in tables/maps that postfix uses, which you may or may not be able to transfer simply. Doing a proper migration of data/users from one system to another can be a bit of work to write and test everything, for small setups like yours I'd probably just create users from scratch (via script or even manually), rsync over any mail (of which it sounds like you have none of concern), and be done.

    I suspect that script will work fine, I don't remember any new required fields that would need to be added.

    The other option is using the api directly, eg.:

    IIRC, most of the examples are a touch dated and didn't work on my system, but here's a more updated/recent example which does: https://git.ispconfig.org/ispconfig....1/remoting_client/examples/dns_naptr_add.php

    And lastly, those all use the soap api, there is also a REST api with same methods/parameters, an example of using it is in https://git.ispconfig.org/ispconfig...3.1/remoting_client/examples/rest_example.php (and iirc, the csv import script was also based on REST).

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