Information for New Customers

Revision as of 18:37, 18 November 2009 by Ajcody (talk | contribs) (→‎Bugzilla)

Information For New Support Customers

Details On Response Times and What's Supported

Please review the Support Overview and Support Plan, 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 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


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
  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
  • 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.

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.

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

Support SSH Keys

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.

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

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/ >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

3. Verify that pubic 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.

Note that it is not required that customers allow remote server access.

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.


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

Installation and Migration Planning


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.


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

Yahoo! Hosted Zimbra

Public documentation is at:

Customer Documentation is in the support portal. The url is, you'll need a support portal account to login with:

    • Has, as of today (Oct 15, 2008)
      • Hosted Customer Care Application Guide
      • Hosted Integration Guide
        • Branding Instructions are located here.
      • Hosted Zimbra Web Client Guide
      • Support Program Plan
      • Zimbra Hosted Packaging Options

Hosting Bugs And RFE's

Use this url to see the "public" bugs & rfe's that are tied to hosting.

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

Quick Tips

License issues (Dos/Unix New Lines)

vi file and then

:set list

Confirm your not getting the ^M characters at the end.

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