Information for New Customers

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Article Information

This article applies to the following ZCS versions.
  ZCS 8.0 Article  ZCS 8.0
  ZCS 7.0 Article  ZCS 7.0
  ZCS 6.0 Article  ZCS 6.0


Contents

Information For New Support Customers

Details On Response Times and What's Supported

Please review the Support Overview and Support Program, specifically the "Exclusions" and "Reasonable Use Policy" sections. You can also find a link to the Support Plan document when you log in to your Zimbra Support Portal account (Network Edition Customers). As of 12 August 2008, it includes the following statement:

Requests that are excluded from support include but are not limited to: performing initial installs of customer systems, performing migrations, performing upgrades of customer systems, performing configuration changes to add or remove servers or services, and testing a customer’s system. Zimbra Professional Services may be available to assist with these projects.

New Network Edition Customers

Your sales contact should already have made a support record for your company and added one or more user accounts for our primary support tool, the Support Portal. Please Contact Sales if you are unsure whether you and/or your company have been set up for access to the Support Portal. Additional user accounts can be associated with your support record if necessary by submitting a case to support with the following information:

  • Full name of new contact
  • Title of new contact
  • Email address of new contact
  • Best phone number to reach new contact (this will potentially be used in the event of an email outage)

Understanding The Support Process For Urgent Issues

In order to receive the most efficient and timely response, please follow this procedure.

  1. Create a new case via the Support Portal
    • In the lower section of the navigation menu on the left, choose Case Menu > Submit A New Case
    • When you need urgent help, please open a case through the Support Portal instead of sending email to support@zimbra.com. Cases submitted through email will not be assigned the appropriate urgency for an outage or otherwise urgent situation, and they will appear lower in priority in our incoming case queue. When submitting a case through the Support Portal you may assign the appropriate urgency level according to scope, impact, and urgency of issue.
    • Please include as much detail as possible to allow us to effectively prepare prior to calling you. Having details of the situation allows us to reach out to any resources (people) we may feel are needed prior to calling you back.
    • Include contact information in the new case record. Desk phone, cell phone, alternate email address, and YahooIM handle are all useful. This allows us to contact you for clarification as needed.
  2. Call the Support Phone Line
    • If you get the voice mail - don't panic or hang up without leaving a voice mail.
      • Give your name and company first
      • Provide the number of the case that you created in the Support Portal
      • Summarize the outage situation
      • Mention your contact information
  3. Continue to work on the issue yourself.
    • Promptly update the case with all relevant information you discover
      • Left-hand lower section, Case Menu > Case Management
      • If you can't "email", use the Comments section with your case record to input the information.
  4. If you have not received a response from us, please try updating the case and calling into the Support Phone Line again
    • Note that depending on the day and hour of your outage, time might be needed for the information to route to the on-call staff and for them to get into a position to respond.

How To Communicate Support Need Clearly

Over the years, open source luminary Eric Raymond has assembled a guide to getting help with technical issues online. Bear in mind that the guide has been written for those seeking free help, so the overall guide taken at face value is most applicable for posting to the Zimbra Forums. There is, however, plenty of useful guidance for those submitting support cases. The complete guide is available online as How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. Here are a few examples:

  • Use meaningful, specific subject headers
  • Write in clear, grammatical, correctly-spelled language
  • Be precise and informative about your problem
  • Describe your problem's symptoms in chronological order

Simon Tatham, author of the PuTTY software, wrote a similar guide for How to Report Bugs Effectively.

Support Tools

Case Management

Subscribe To RSS Feeds

Recently we completed an internal RFE for our sites to have unrestricted (anonymous) access for RSS feeds. The new RSS feeds are:

Clicking on an article from the RSS feed will direct the user to the login page with an "Authorization Required" message.

Email Communication

When you send emails to support@zimbra.com, it will create a case for us and show in our new case tool. What is important to note though, is our tools first check to see if the subject line of the email has SF: Case ########: in it. If so, it redirects that email to update an existing case. If those values aren't in the subject line, it creates a new case. So, if you wanted to update an existing case - let's say case number 00000001 - you would have your subject line as "SF: Case 00000001: some text of the topic" .

New Cases Created By Email Are Always Sev-4

If you send your initial support request via email to support@zimbra.com it will automatically be set at a "Severity Level 4", which is the lowest priority. If you need your case set to a higher severity level, please create your case via the support portal page where you can set the severity level. At this time, you can not change a case severity level once it's made via the support portal case management tools.

Always Include support@zimbra.com In Case Email Threads

If emails for your case do not include the support@zimbra.com address, there's a good chance the support member your working with will not be updated about your response correctly.

Sales Force Case Comments

Sales Force [zimbra support portal case management tool] has the option to do "Case Comments". Please use this only when necessary - for example, your email isn't working. Currently, case comments from sales force don't work appropriately with our other tools because it doesn't create a email subject to match the "SF: Case ########:" pattern and it also doesn't change the status of the case to reflect "customer replied". The email subject line is important because most of us here at support use the Zimbra's email conversation view and also "tagging" of our case threads. The case comments from Sales Force doesn't work against this. And of course, the case not being updated as "customer replied" causes issues as it most likely leaves it in the state of "Awaiting Customer Response".

Bugzilla

Zimbra uses the Bugzilla bug database system. This is a critical tool for Zimbra development, and allows anyone with an account to interact directly with Zimbra developers and product managers. It has been suggested that customers who ignore Bugzilla do so at their own peril. That may sound a little over the top, but you will find that Bugzilla provides fascinating insight and connection to the development process. If you'd prefer not to work directly with Bugzilla, Zimbra Support will communicate relevant case information to the developers. On the other hand, if you'd like to get hands-on with the bug database, here are some basics to get you started.

Create a Bugzilla Account

This is open to anyone. It's not tied to your Network Edition support id.

Recommended Saved Searches

Once you've created your account and logged in, create a search to list any bugs whose progress you are following (i.e. you have added your email address to the CC: field).

  1. Go to http://bugzilla.zimbra.com/query.cgi
  2. Decide if you want to adjust the highlighted items under "Status:". You might choose to only display bugs that are still not fixed (UNCONFIRMED, NEW, ASSIGNED, REOPENED), or you might choose to display all of them, or you might choose to create two different saved searches to accommodate both cases.
  3. Under "Email Addresses, Bug Numbers, and Votes", make sure only the checkbox for "a CC list member" is selected. The "contains" field should then include your email address.
  4. Click on "Search" at the bottom.
  5. Scroll down to bottom of search results window, type a name of your choice (e.g. "My CC's") in the field for "Remember Search as", and click the "Remember search" button.

When you are logged in, your custom searches will show up in the "Saved Searches:" section at the bottom of Bugzilla pages. You can reconfigure or delete them under the "Saved Searches" tab of your Bugzilla Preferences.

When a support case is related to a given bug or RFE ("request for enhancement"), it will be cross linked internally between Bugzilla and our case management system. Once you know the bug number, you can add yourself to the CC: field and Bugzilla will notify you of changes via email. With the saved search that lists bugs you are following, it will be easy for you to manage those as well.

My Saved Bugs

There is also a default saved search, "My Bugs". This will list any bugs or RFE's that you have created.

Bugs And RFE's Related To Your Support Case

When you have a case that's related to a bug or RFE, the support staff will add the case number to the bug or RFE, which serves to increase its priority (not the Bugzilla "Priority" field). Note that case numbers are not visible publicly.

Here's what you can do in addition:

  • Login to bugzilla and navigate to the page of the bug or RFE in question.
  • Add your email address to the CC field and save.
    • You will be notified of updates by email.
  • Click on the Vote button.
    • This is another way to increase the priority.

At this point, the issue in question can be tracked through Bugzilla, and the support case will typically be closed.

Use The Advanced Search

  • Navigate to http://bugzilla.zimbra.com/query.cgi
  • Click on the "Advanced Search" link if you are not already on the Advanced Search page.
  • Shift-click all the items under "Status" if you'd like to include bugs that have already been fixed.
    • The default search function only queries against "UNCONFIRMED, NEW, ASSIGNED, REOPENED".
  • Add search terms
    • Use the "Summary:" field to search bug titles.
    • Use the "A Comment:" field to search through bug comments.
  • You can also narrow your search by choosing from the "Component:" field. This can be useful when you're using generic search terms, but it can be tricky to identify the appropriate component.

Privacy Option For Bug Postings

You must have a bugzilla account and be logged in to use the privacy option.

When creating a bug, you can select an option to only make that information available to you [the poster] and with Zimbra staff.

The page will have an option that states: Make bug visible only to reporter and Zimbra

If you need this privacy option but also identified an existing bug that is related, you could create your new bug with the privacy choice and just include in the comment the other bug number. Even though your bug might become a duplicate of the other, you'll still be able to post to your private bug - maintaining the privacy option.

Support Staff Can Make All Bugzilla Entries Private

The Zimbra Support staff has the option to make any existing comment, attachment, or bug private to the internal Zimbra staff. They can do this on behalf of a customer you needs a post they made switched from public to private.

Also, for some situations, it might be easier to just send the 'data' to the support team via your support case. The support team can then add to the bug the relevant data with the appropriate privacy options.

Also - data sent to our ftp site is private and secured. We generally purge data after 60 days.

Zimbra Product Portal Page - The Birdseye View Of Bugzilla

Zimbra's Product Portal Page is like the executive summary of the bugzilla activity and future release information.

The most useful part of this site is the ability to drill down on a ZCS version until you'll be able to see the various targeted release dates. For example, clicking on the 6.0 (GunsNRoses) listing under Releases will show the subversions of 6.x. This will show a target date for the release, if one has been made public yet. You then can click on a particular version, 6.0.4 for example. This will now show all bugs and rfe's tied to the 6.0.4 release.

Zimbra Forums

The forums provide a place where the greater Zimbra community (server administrators, users, developers, commentators, etc) can work together on solving problems. There is a wide range of experience among the community, and a long history of issues available for searching.

Create A Forums Account

This is open to anyone. It is not tied to your Network Edition support id.

Zimbra Wiki

The wiki also centers around the community, providing a site where anyone with an account can contribute documentation, especially how-to guides, non-standard configurations, and topics related to but external to ZCS.

Create A Wiki Account

This is open to anyone. It is not tied to your Network Edition support id.

Why is this important?

  • It allows you to participate in improving the wiki articles and content. Note that you need to be logged in to make edits.
    • Create your own articles if you find something missing that might prove useful to others.
    • Improve existing articles.
    • Add to the "discussion" page for an article. This is a good place to add comments for those less inclined to be bold and modify the main article.
      • You can propose questions and other things here as well.
  • You can add articles to your "watchlist" in order to monitor your favorite articles for changes.
    • In your wiki preferences you can specify whether to be notified by email when different events occur.
  • You can create your own personal section on the wiki.
    • Use the category of "community sandbox" at the bottom of them.
      • [[Category: Community Sandbox]]
    • If you decide to create sandbox articles, the wiki convention is to prefix the topic with your wiki username: Username-Topic
      • For example, the original staging page for this article was written by Ajcody, so the sandbox article was named Ajcody-New-Customers-Users
    • Use {{:Special:PrefixIndex/YourUsername}} to automatically generate a list of these articles in a wiki document, on your user profile page for example
      • This wiki tag on Ajcody's profile page causes a list of all of his notes articles to be displayed: {{:Special:PrefixIndex/Ajcody}}

Yahoo! IM

Most of the Zimbra support staff have Yahoo! Instant Messenger accounts, and this can prove useful even when on a telephone call since it speeds up the sharing of copy-and-pasted information. Communication over IM is available at the discretion of support staff.

Create A Yahoo! IM Account

This is open to anyone. It is not tied to your Network Edition support id.

Remote Server Access

Conditions For Remote Access

In some cases, a Zimbra TSE may request access to the system in question. Direct access is not generally the preferred method of investigation on cases, and we typically request that the customer please perform the hands-on administration of your system, with which you would be far more familiar than Zimbra; in some cases however, direct access may be considered an option for investigating the situation.

Zimbra TSE's will need some way to communicate with someone on your IT staff when they are going to log in to your servers. Zimbra Support helps and facilitates customers with their problems but we are not the "administrators" of customers servers and can't make independent decisions on what to do or not on their servers. We need to have access to immediate forms of communication [phone, IM, etc.] with someone at the company with the authority to make those decisions.

Remote Access Starts With Webex

Support agents can setup Webex sessions with customers when the situation calls for it. The standard policy is to use Webex for various legal & other policy justifications. Support staff will give guidance to the customer over the Webex session for the particular tasks in question. Customer participation is required throughout the Webex session. Other forms of access, ssh for example, should occur along side the Webex session. Ssh would use the screen utility mentioned below to accomplish this.

Your Webex meeting request will most likely also include a telephone conference number and instructions on how to file transfer log files as necessary.

Secondary Remote Access Options

Support SSH Keys
Note that it is not required that customers allow remote server access.
Updated: Switched to rsa rather than dsa. [2010/02/23]

In the Zimbra Support Portal, a public key for ssh is available for situations when Zimbra support will log in to a customer server using ssh. You can allow remote connections for a user (typically zimbra or root) by logging in to the server as that user and following these steps.

Running the script command within the ssh/shell session is a good idea for both the support staff and customer. See the following script man page

1. Save the key file on the server as /opt/zimbra/.ssh/zsupport_rsa.key.pub

2. Add the key to the user's authorized_keys file; command #1 outputs the current list of keys; command #2 appends the support key

1% cat ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
2% cat /opt/zimbra/.ssh/zsupport_rsa.key.pub >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
Note, the ~/ above will be setting up the ssh access for the same username that is running the commands. This is the "user" that you'll tell Zimbra is the login account for ssh to the server.

3. Verify that public key access is allowed by sshd

In the sshd config file (typically /etc/ssh/sshd_config), the value of the PubkeyAuthentication keyword should not be no. It's OK if it is not listed or if it is commented out; the default is yes.

4. Confirm, if appropriate, that the user you setup for ssh access will be able to su and/or sudo to gain zimbra and/or root access.

5. You'll then need to communicate to support that the key is setup and provide the necessary information:

  • username to login with
  • password if required for ssh access
  • the initial server [hostname/ipaddr] to ssh to and then how to access other servers inside if needed
  • way to gain zimbra or root access [su - [username] or via sudo]
It is up to you, how you would like to communicate the login information to support - email, IM, phone, etc..
Shared Sessions With the screen Utility

The screen command line utility allows multiple users to attach to the same terminal session. To start a new screen session, run screen -m or screen -R. To attach to an existing screen session, run screen -x. Additional documentation for screen is available online.

Sun Shared Shell Application

Sun Microsystems offers a java application to allow shared access to a terminal session. More information is available at their site.

DimDim

This might interest some customers as well DimDim Web Conferencing . They have an OSS edition - DimDim OSS Edition

Installation and Migration Planning

Expectations

Support doesn't do migration for customers, nor do we do migration planning. We can help if you run into issues during migration. Are there gray areas involved in this? Yes, of course. Some guidelines to follow:

  • Engage your sales contact about your needs.
    • Sales has access to pre-sales engineers and tools that can help plan your Zimbra deployment and migrations.
    • If your needs exceed the above, they can determine if our Professional Services group would be a good option for you.
  • When you start to engage the Support Team
    • Try to have specific questions or issues rather than large open-ended ones - those that imply support is doing the planning or migration for you.
    • It would be helpful if you documented your "plan" to the best of your ability and to share that with support as issues or questions come up.
      • This gives us more "concrete" information to work against.
    • Be prepared to know and investigate the technical requirements for the "other" mail server. Support will offer what we can but there is no obligation for us to know all the in's and out's of another mail server product. The exception to this would be when we are working with our tools that we developed for migration. And even then, there is a certain expectation of knowledge we require of the administrator in regards to the other mail system.
  • Remember, anyone can use the Zimbra Forums! Advise and help is free and open to everyone on the forums.

ZCS Upgrade And Install Specific Expectations

Zimbra support works on a break-fix model, we do not provide administrative services.

For upgrades and installs, we generally offer :

  1. Provide input on upgrade and install plans or the remaining questions that aren't addressed documentation resources listed below:
    • Latest Releases are at:
    • Documentation Resources are at:
    • Please see "System Requirements" under the "Documentation Resources" section for system requirements - server and client.
    • The "Installation Resources" section addresses:
      • Steps to install ZCS - see either the Single-Server Installation Guide or Multi-Server Installation Guide.
      • Checks, prerequisites, and other items you might need to address prior to installing.
    • The Release Notes & Upgrade Instructions addresses:
      • Steps to upgrade your server/s.
      • Checks, prerequisites, and other items you might need to address prior to upgrading.
      • List of notable bugs and RFE's addressed with this release. It will have a history going back through other older versions also.
    • After reviewing the above resources for your specific version, you should also login to the support portal for any other critical information that might not be listed in the Release Notes & Upgrade Instructions.
  2. We can add a customer's intentions about upgrading or installing ZCS on our team calendar. This allows our staff during our 'after hours' to be aware of customers that are intending to upgrade/install ZCS and that they might be submitting sev1 support cases if they run into issues.
  3. If the customer runs into a problem during an upgrade/install, they should submit a support case [setting the right severity level] for the specific issue at hand. The resolution of the support case is specific to the issue that was encountered. The support case is closed and the customer continues to do upgrade/install or other remaining steps they have independently.

First

Please take time to review the Administrators Guide. Noting what features you might want or need for the installation. It would be wise to make notes while your skimming the guide of features your wanting. Depending on the choices you have, it might drastically effect your installation steps. Do you want HSM, Archive & Discovery, Proxies - what type, and so forth.

The Basics

Starting Official Source Guides

Other Resources To Review

General Ways To Find More Specific Information:

Please Consider Your Backup Issues Before Deploying

Assuming you've consulted the other above resources as well.

More items to consider:

Be Aware Of DR Processes

Multi-Server Installations

Assuming you read or skimmed the above.

Starting Official Source Guides

Other Resources To Review

Migration Issues

This will pull all of them regardless of their "status".

Quick Tips

License issues (Dos/Unix New Lines)

Sometimes when customers get their license file on a Windows machine and then go about transferring it to the zimbra server they accidentally convert the license file to have windows new line characters that will not work when Zimbra goes to read the file. To see if this happen, to the following on the zimbra server:

vi file and then

:set list

Confirm you're not getting the ^M characters at the end. The ^M is the windows new line character, they'll need to be removed. There is a script or even rpm package you can get, usually called dos2unix, that will do this for you.

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