Need help migrating slow server
Question asked by Mark Thornton - August 28, 2017 at 10:06 PM
Answered
I have a client with SmarterMail Version 14.6.5974 running on Windows Server 2012. The server is also the domain controller and file server. The client is a small office with needs for reliable mail service and unlimited mailbox sizes. Everything was fine until two months ago. It appears the server has developed a problem resulting in slow disk access. The server still runs effectively, but a simple reboot of the server requires 54 minutes before SmarterMail will provide the web interface. It isn't SmarterMail's fault as it take about 30 minutes to get to the swirling dots of death on the boot. IIS responds on the default site at about 40 minutes. I know I need to do maintenance on the server but the problem now is the downtime. The client needs reliable email to support their service model. The data size of the SmarterMail installation is a bit over 126 GB and takes three hours to back up to another local disk. The downtime to migrate the server is becoming my biggest concern.
 
Is there any way to minimize the dataset of the running server, say to the last 30 days of email, then merge the email after I have migrated the installation to a new server? If I delete the message files in a mailbox after a backup and continue the server receiving new messages while I bring up the new server, can I move the new message files to the new server once it is running? Assuming the server times are synchronized, will they messages index correctly? Is there a way to regenerate the index?
 
I have the resources to build a SmarterMail server in a VM as an interim server while I diagnose the root problem with the client's server. I am asking for suggestions on the best way to migrate the data with the least downtime. I've tried backing up the data online, to a USB disk, to another disk on the scsi chain and all have excruciatingly slow transfer times. Your suggestions would be very helpful.

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Linda Pagillo Replied
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Hi Mark. I have found that the best way to migrate that much data with minimal downtime is to make a local copy of the Domains folder and then FTP/transfer the local copy to the new server. You can take as long as you want to do that. Then on the day of the migration, put a backup MX in place to store all incoming email while your server is down, stop your SmarterMail services and do a differential transfer of only new mail since the first transfer. You can use FileZilla to do a proper differential. Once you are up and running on the new server, the Backup MX will deliver all held mail to your new server. Doing it this way causes no email loss and it's quite quick since you are only grabbing the differential. Please let me know if you have any further questions. My company has done dozens of SmarterMail migrations so I'm sure I can answer any questions you have. Thanks!
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com
Office: 703.988.3606

Authorized Reseller of SmarterTools Products
Authorized Reseller of Message Sniffer
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Mark Thornton Replied
That is a darn good plan. Thank you. That is exactly what I am looking for, and as you suggest I suspect the downtime will be minimal for the differential transfer. I have a couple of exchange mail servers I can set up for the backup MX, though I will need to make sure I understand how they will find the new server IP once it becomes active. 
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I completed the migration last night after several failed attempts. Some notes from my experience... I never found a way to do a differential transfer using ftp. I headed in the direction of an rsync solution and found Syncrify. It is inexpensive and very fast. Even with the drive access issues on the original server I was able to get the last 24 hours of data moved in under 5 minutes across a VPN to the remote server. I did have to work on getting the directory structure correct for the installation on the remote server, but it is working. 
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I'm glad to hear that you were able to migrate over to your new server. I have used Filezilla FTP several times for the differential, so I'm not sure why that didn't work for you. I have also used XCOPY and ROBOCopy to do a differential. I'm going to take a look at Syncrify today to see how it works and I may buy a copy. I'm always looking for more efficient ways to do migrations. Thanks for your notes!
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com
Office: 703.988.3606

Authorized Reseller of SmarterTools Products
Authorized Reseller of Message Sniffer
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I never could figure out how to get Filezilla to do a differential copy. I also tried DirSynch Pro across the VPN to the shared drive and it was very slow in the comparison function even before it got to the point of copying.
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Thanks for the additional info. I'm really glad that Syncrify worked to help you with what you needed.
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com
Office: 703.988.3606

Authorized Reseller of SmarterTools Products
Authorized Reseller of Message Sniffer

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