Admin Tools & Tidbits – Part 2

Part 1 covered Network Edition backup features, today’s snips apply to all editions.

First among the lesser known additions: We recently provided the possibility for a nice performance boost to some environments by adding the ability to turn on batched indexing in ZCS 5.0.3 (you can even fine tune it at the localconfig, COS, and account level). We’re not talking about when you re-index an entire account here, this is a change to the index-as-received model; now new items can sit in a ‘queue’ (really a ‘indexing deferred’ flag on the mail_items table of the pertaining mboxgroup database in MySQL) to run all at once when it reaches the zimbraBatchedIndexingSize threshold, saving you from all the tiny disk thrashing. It might not be immediately apparent that this works better, but you can mention it in the forums and we’ll show you the evidence to the contrary – it proves expecially useful for POP heavy or ZAD archive accounts.

 New & Enhanced Admin Tools


Your /opt/zimbra/bin & /opt/zimbra/libexec directories hold a wealth of tools to make your job easier.

zmdumpenv has been around for a long time, but underutilized – it grabs the basics that you should probably provide with every issue to help others understand where you’re coming from.

When you need to send ad-hoc SOAP commands to the server, the powerful zmsoap takes care of authenticating, generating the envelope, sending the request, and writing the response to stdout.

If your server freezes or is busy, running zmdialog can give that ‘my server hung’ support ticket a purpose. With JDK 1.5 it won’t collect a heap dump so you might also run /opt/zimbra/java/bin/jmap -heap:format=b [/opt/zimbra/log/] however zmdiaglog collects a core dump, from which it should be theoretically possible to get a heap dump. Thread dumps when you kill -QUIT/3 [pid] are helpful too. Info on ways to take them (like /opt/zimbra/libexec/zmmailboxdmgr threaddump) plus a handy script, are here.

There’s the MySQL metadata DB, the Lucene index, and the actual blob files on disk in /opt/zimbra/store. If you can click on a folder in the web UI and get results, it means MySQL is up and happy. If you open a message and get the infamous “missing blob for id” error, it means that the message files on disk aren’t where they’re supposed to be (ie: disk crash, not mounted/permissions, or you’ve recently pointed your volumes incorrectly). There’s all sorts of things you can do in that situation – here’s a more detailed list. Even if you don’t have a good grasp of the mailbox database structure yet, you can appreciate the need to easily determine if those blobs are still available (after you’ve moved whatever you can salvage of the store from corrupted drives to a better location). Enter the zmblobchk utility which can determine what files are missing – there’s also plans for a repair mode, for when you finally realize the blobs are gone and want to get rid of those UI error messages. Of course you’ll next consult the Network Edition’s restoreToTime feature or other backup solution you may have.

When you’re absolutely out of room on the disks housing your DB (seriously put in that purchase order for more storage – it’s cheap these days) in a pinch the script (available in the public cache and added to the upcoming 5.0.10) can help you recover wasted space in your mail_item, appointment, imap_folder, imap_message, open_conversation, pop3_message, revision, and tombstone tables on each mboxgroup. Just note that it temporarily locks each table, and could use considerable IO while they’re being rebuilt. You can certainly use it pro-actively during a maintenance window to reclaim space as well.

There’s also a new wiki page on statistic collection so you can generate nice charts that help you figure out what you might need to tweak.

We could go on and on about the utilities in those folders, so throw up a test environment and experiment sometime – it may just make life easier when you have hundreds of users breathing down your neck. And if you should ever be ‘stumbling around in the dark’ you can always enable additional debug logging to shed more light on the situation.


You can find help for all the above utilities over in the Community Forums or ask us a question on them below.

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