Zimbra Migration

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Server to Server Migration Using New Generation Backup



The new generation (NG) backup module facilitates a migration process to efficiently migrate from a 6.0.7 or higher to NE 8.8.x with the NG backup module enabled. This is possible because the NG backup is independent from version specific values.

(Note: Zimbra always recommends installing the latest release).

What Changed

Previously, in the standard Networked Edition backup, a full backup snapshot was taken by dumping data from the LDAP and mysql databases, then placing this data with blobs and other related data into a tar file. Incremental backups would tar up the daily redo logs. When the account was restored it would restore the data and schema of the version that was being used, then redo logs were played to update any changes that occurred after the last full backup. This allowed restoration to the exact time of when the system went down with all account related attributes. Because of this, in most cases external clients would continue syncing with no issues. The downside of this restore is that accounts are locked until the restore is 100% complete and based on the amount of data, restores could take significant amount of time.

In contrast to that, the NG backup module stores all the data in an independent repository and indexes all actions taken on all items (Read, move, delete, etc). This change removes the dependencies of having a weekly full and daily incremental backups, which saves significant space. The backup also takes a ldap.bak dump to allow a quick restore of an LDAP server.

When an account is restored, the user account will be restored within a new account and their data will be injected into the system as if it was a new message. The Mailboxd process will process the message then actions on the message will be replayed. This will insure that the messages will be restored to the correct folder with the correct attributes. Note that because a new account was created, the account’s ZimbraID and the metadata rows in the database will not match the data on the source server, although the user will see no difference.

The Advantage Of Using NG Backup

Backup is real time Backup can be restored on any supported version Can be used to consolidate mail server clusters. Restore can occur on live accounts. Ability to restore a single item. Backups are real time and use significantly less space

Limitations using NG Backups

Zimbra Desktop and ZCO clients will need to be recreated. External clients using IMAP and POP, Activesync profiles do not need to be recreated but users may need to re-enter their passwords and data be reloaded after the first login.

The following is the workflow of the import process:

Create Domain Created COS (Only COS’s that are being used by the imported accounts) Create DL (Empty) Create Accounts (Empty) Restore Account Attributes Restore Domain Attributes Restore DL’s attributes and Share Information Restore account items Restore Mounted Points and datasource

New System Setup:

In the process of restoring from a NG backup, there is no server dependencies from the legacy system. This means that when setting up a new system it can be set up to meet your current and future needs. You will need to ensure that there is enough memory, disk space, network configuration to allow a successful migration. The following are key items

  • All Customizations and branding must be recreated.
  • Signed Certificate needs to be installed on the new server
  • GAL-Sync Accounts will need to be recreated for each domain.
  • Message Deduplication must be run after migration to reclaim space

If you have questions about the setup and you have a valid support contract, please contact Zimbra support by opening a case within your support portal account with the questions you have and a Support engineer will assist you. For FOSS users, NG Modules are not a part of the FOSS release, but you can purchase them at Zimbra Suite Plus (https://www.zimbra.com/zimbra-suite-plus/).

Creating a Backup from Source Server:

The Zextras Suite provides a 30 day trial license. When you are ready to migrate to the new system, you will download and install the suite on your source server. Please be aware of the current version of the source server

  • Version Prior to 6.0.7 can not be upgraded using this method.
  • Network edition running 6.0.8 to 8.7.11 will need to use the 2.4.11 legacy installer (https://www.zextras.com/download-legacy/)
  • FOSS edition running 6.0.8 to 8.7.11 can use 2.4.11 legacy installer (https://www.zextras.com/download-legacy/)
  • FOSS edition running 8.0.0 and higher can use the newest release.
  • Note: ZeXtras Suite newer than 2.4.11 will not install on network addition.

Note: Once you enable the trial license, you have 30 days to complete the migration, please plan accordingly.


No other features should be enabled other than the Zextras Suite Backup. Enabling features (HSM, Admin UI, Mobile) will have a change in your system behavior and will not be supported on the source server.

Migration Methods

We now offer three different migration options

Side by Side / Backup Restore schedule downtime

Incremental Migration

The incremental migration backup method will create an original backup of all of the selected account data. This backup will be restored on the destination server while users and new messages are still directed to the source server. Once the full backup restore has completed, a new incremental backup, which will only contain the changes since the previous full backup, will be taken from the source and restored to the destination. At this time, traffic will be redirected to the new system and one more backup will be taken from the source and restored to the destination, covering the time period prior to switch over.

Recommended method for large organizations or customers who can not experience extended downtime or can not perform a restore on active accounts.

Active Server Migration

Zimbra NG Modules


Latest Version: 8.8

Zimbra NG Modules Resources

Here you can find useful resources for your Zimbra NG Modules

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