Troubleshooting Course Content Rough Drafts-ZCS Upgrades

Proposed Content

The following list of course topics was generated during a discussion with Adam Cody and subsequent research into performing Zimbra upgrades.

Single Server Upgrade

Planning an Upgrade

Read Release & Upgrade Notes and have them available for reference

Release & Upgrade Notes are available on the same webpage you'll be downloading the ZCS installer from.

Refer to wiki page of known issues for each release (example: recent IE issues)

Zimbra Support has started been maintaining wiki pages on the various ZCS releases and have been noting 'issues' they've discovered after the release. You can find the wiki pages at the following location for the various ZCS releases where they have done this:

Ensure that you have access to the Support Portal

You should be able to login to :

Validate your Zimbra license

On the left at the top, you'll see the following details:

  • license expiration
    • [date license expires]
  • Activations remaining
    • [number of activations remaining]

And then, to check the license details by clicking the panel on the left hand side :

Support Menu > ZCS License

Under "License ID", this is your most currently license id. It should be the one that is currently present on your ZCS servers. You can check this by doing:

su - zimbra
zmlicense -p
Ensure that you have a Support contract

On the left at the top, you'll see the following details:

  • support period
    • [start date] thru [end date]
Ensure that you have a Premium Support package if upgrading on a weekend

On the left at the top, you'll see the following details:

  • support level
    • [Will list Standard, Premier, Elite, or Elite+]

If Standard, please be aware you do not have support during the weekends. See [Support Offerings] for more details.

Notify Support in advance

Create a new support ticket when the time is right and you've locked down the date to share with the Zimbra Support team of your upgrade intentions. We'll add your upgrade schedule details to our internal support calendar so our team is aware of your pending upgrade. We do not reserve or allocate dedicated support staff for individual customers though, having this foreknowledge allows us to prepare appropriately. You should create this 'heads up' case as a severity 4 and we'll generally close the case after we've acknowledged adding it to our team calendar.

During your upgrade event, if you run into any issues you'll be creating a new support case and setting it as a severity 1 if appropriate. Following the steps listed at :

Giving Zimbra Support Access To Servers During The Scheduled Upgrade Time - Plan Ahead

Please see the following for details and our policy in regards to accessing your ZCS servers:

Often times, a company has dedicated staff for security and networking that differs from the group that manages the ZCS servers. It's advisable to work out a plan with your network/security prior to your schedule upgrade in case the Zimbra Support team needs access to resolve any issues during the upgrade.

Use 3rd party Snapshot software to easily rollback to a previous state

Have a Disaster Recovery plan! Zimbra does not support rollbacks from an Upgrade. You must do a disaster recovery.

Block mail flow to server(s) until successful upgrade is verified to prevent loss of email delivered during the upgrade

Confirm there is a current backup available

Determining Your Upgrade Plan - Multiple ZCS Version Upgrades and/or required OS Upgrades

Document Your Upgrade Plan

  • Increases repeated success
  • Helps when having to interact with Zimbra Support team

Testing an Upgrade

Determine duration

Determine point at which you will do disaster recovery if the upgrade will not be finished by working hour deadline

Ensure that Zimlets are supported in the Zimbra version you will be using (example: email templates Zimlet)

Ensure that any other 3rd party customizations function properly

Testing Backup and Archiving after an Upgrade

Restoring Zimbra customizations and branding post Upgrade

Using Upgrade log files

Multi Server Upgrade

Upgrading servers in the correct order

Upgrade the servers in this order:

  1. LDAP Master Servers, upgrade one server at a time.
    • During the upgrade of the LDAP master certain write functions will not work, including account provisioning, password changes, mail filter changes, or any other changes to the LDAP data.
    • IMPORTANT: When upgrading to ZCS 8.x, if self-signed certificates are used, after the LDAP master is upgraded, the self-signed certificates must be redeployed on all remaining nodes before they are upgraded, or the upgrade will fail.
  2. LDAP replica servers, upgrade one server at a time.
  3. MTA servers, upgrade one server at a time.
  4. Dedicated proxy servers, upgrade one server at a time.
  5. Mailbox servers, upgrade one server at a time.

Rolling Upgrades

Rolling upgrades is our phrase for when you'll be upgrading all your non-mailstore ZCS server to a newer version but will upgrade the mailstores at a later time. This is usually because there's a large environment where upgrading all the servers in one downtime window isn't ideal.

Please see the following for details on rolling upgrades:

Adding new servers during an upgrade

Adding a proxy server for Zimbra 8.6 and higher


If your version of ZCS has a patch available for it, it will be posted on the same webpage you downled the ZCS installer from under the section for your version. It will also have documentation on it, called Release Notes.

Verified Against: Zimbra Collaboration Suite 8.6 Date Created: 01/22/2015
Article ID: Date Modified: 2015-02-18

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