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Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Morning guys,
Just thought I'd copy the following Planned Maintenance post across to this forum for anybody that might not have spotted it yet.
Be on the lookout for any problems affecting outbound email once the work's completed tomorrow.
We'll be withdrawing four of our relay servers with the following IPs:
84.93.230.243
84.93.230.234
84.93.230.242
84.93.230.226
And replacing them with new boxes that will collectively be referred to as the 'OutMX' platform:
84.93.230.227
84.93.230.244
84.93.230.250
84.93.230.235
This is only half of the work (we've 8 relay servers in total), the second half should be completed later this week/early next.
The existing relays are running on pretty old hardware/software so and have long been due an upgrade. This work is also required before we can look at upgrading the outbound virus/spam filtering platform.
[quote author="Service Status"]Planned SMTP Email Server Maintenance - Tuesday 11th May 7.00am-Midday
When's this work happening?
Tomorrow morning, 11th May.
What does it affect?
The sending of customer email.
How long will it take?
About three hours.
What does the work involve?
As part of a larger piece of work to upgrade our outbound email platform, we will be retiring four of our outbound email servers and replacing them with newer hardware. Once the four new servers are in place, the older boxes will be left for 24 hours to allow for any queued messages to be sent.
Am I likely to notice this work?
Possibly, due to the nature of the work you might see the odd email delayed during the transition from the old servers to the new ones. The IP addresses of some of the mail servers in your sent email headers will also change. This shouldn't cause any problems and those using SPF records with their domains shouldn't need to make any changes to their domain records.
Is there anything else I need to know?
This work replaces the relay servers at one of our sites in Sheffield. Only half of the platform is located at this site so we will be aiming to upgrade the servers at the second site as well over the coming days.
Kind Regards,
Bob Pullen
Customer Support

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

17 REPLIES
nickhindley
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 16-02-2010

smtp sending broken? "Invalid Greeting"

have logged this as a support call - but is anyone else having this problem?  It sounds, from the response I've had so far, that something has been changed in the config for Exim which has broken my Thunderbird settings
After the usual 'can you retry?' its all gone a bit quiet
nickhindley
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 16-02-2010

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Bob,
I've had a problem with sending emails recently  have you changed anything in your Exim settings?  I'm getting "Invalid Greeting" when I try and send. 
I snoop'ed with wireshark earlier today  - BTW I'm using Thunderbird
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

The Exim config on the new OutMX servers does differ slightly but it shouldn't be causing anybody any problems?
The only issue I was aware of since we made the changes was this one and that was resolved as of this morning.
Are you trying to use a non-standard SMTP port and do you have any SSL, TLS or SMTP authentication options enabled in your Thunderbird settings? Presumably you're using relay.plus.net as the host name for your outbound server?
Looking at the Wireshark capture you did hit one of the new servers, in particular outmx01.plus.net that I have just managed to send an email through without any problems (using the same extended hello that your machine used when you captured that traffic).
220 relay.plus.net ESMTP Exim Tue, 18 May 2010 15:50:55 +0100
ehlo relay
250-outmx01.plus.net Hello relay [84.93.217.165]
250-SIZE 104857600
250-8BITMIME
250-PIPELINING
250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN
250 HELP
ehlo nickhsw197ha
250-outmx01.plus.net Hello nickhsw197ha [84.93.217.165]
mail from:<me@privacy.net>
250 OK
rcpt to:<me@privacy.net>
250 Accepted
data
354 Enter message, ending with "." on a line by itself
subject:test
this is a test
.
250 X-Plusnet-Relay: 6b1dcdfe3a8d66d54be7ab6aee7a7cc3
quit
221 outmx01.plus.net closing connection

For reasons unknown the server is returning a 421 error in the capture you attached. This doesn't tell us a great deal to be honest although it is the same error that's returned when the server closes the connection after a period of inactivity. Do you get the error the second you try sending or does it take a while before it's returned?
AFAIK we haven't changed anything over the last three or four days with the exception of disabling TLS and making some minor config changes yesterday morning. As your problem started before this then I don't think the two are related.
if there was a problem sending mail via this particular server then I'd have expected to have heard more noise about it by now.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

nickhindley
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 16-02-2010

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

have you actually tested this using a mail client?  I've used thunderbird and eudora and both fail with the same problem. 
I'm extremely unhappy about this situation
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

[quote author="nickhindley"]have you actually tested this using a mail client?
Yes, of course I have. In fact all of my corporate email is sent using our relay servers. I have this set-up configured on my work lappy (Thunderbird), my home box (Thunderbird) and my mobile phone (Modest) and all three work flawlessly without any errors.
Add to this the fact that there would be hundreds of similar complaints in the event of a service-wide issue and yours is the only one I've seen. I notice that you don't appear to have answered the questions I asked in my previous post?
[quote author="Bob Pullen"]Are you trying to use a non-standard SMTP port and do you have any SSL, TLS or SMTP authentication options enabled in your Thunderbird settings? Presumably you're using relay.plus.net as the host name for your outbound server?
I'd also be interested as to whether or not you receive these errors *every* time you try sending email?
If you look at your Wireshark capture you'll see that shortly after our server responds to your hello command, your computer is sending a TCP/IP FIN packet. This is what the client-side issues when there's no more data to be sent. Shortly after this our server closes the connection.
I understand that you might be less than happy, however I'm almost 100% sure this is a client-side problem and not something to do with the servers at our side.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

fasrind
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 30-07-2007

Can't send emails??

Hi all!!
Went to send an email today, and got this error
Quote
An error occurred sending mail: The mail server sent an incorrect greeting:
followed by this one
Quote
Sending of message failed.
The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server relay.plus.net was lost in the middle of the transaction. Try again or contact your network administrator.
  I'm using Thunderbird 3.0.4 Win7 64bit
Any ideas?
Spes Vitae Melioris
Jon
fasrind
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Can't send emails??

H'mm, just set up Thunderbird on OpenSuse, and its working fineHuh? Crazy  Maybe backing up my emails, and reinstalling Thunderbird may help, anyone know if this could ave been caused by a Thunderbird upgradeHuh
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Not sure what's causing it but I'm a little concerned now that two of you are reporting the same problem. I wonder if there's some commonality when comparing each of your set-ups?

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

fasrind
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

I set Thunderbird up in openSuse 11.2 64bit, and can send emails no problems, following advice from tech services I disabled  my av and firewall, email sends ok.  Right I use Avast antivirus, and Comodo firewall, is this the common link?
fasrind
Dabbler
Posts: 13
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

My problem was a setting in Avast anti virus, in real time shields mail shield untick the option to scan outbound messages!! 
Hope this of use to you
Jon
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Thanks for sharing your findings with us Jon.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

spoolos
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 10-05-2010

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Hi, I've been having the same problem (error: Sending of message failed. The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server relay.plus.net timed out. Try again or contact your network administrator.) I'm also running thunderbird and avast (free version).  I have unticked scan smtp on internet mail but didn't have a real time mail shields option (not sure if this is just the professional avast option?) but am still having the same problem.  Is there any other settings I can try and change?
Thanks,
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
Thanks: 1,111
Fixes: 90
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Quote from: Bob
This is only half of the work (we've 8 relay servers in total), the second half should be completed later this week/early next.

A little later than planned but we'll be swapping out the last four relay servers tomorrow morning:
[quote author="Service Status"]Planned SMTP Email Server Maintenance - Tuesday 25th May 10.00am-2.00pm
When's this work happening?
Tomorrow morning, 25th May.
What does it affect?
The sending of customer email.
How long will it take?
About three hours.
What does the work involve?
As part of a larger piece of work to upgrade our outbound email platform, we will be retiring four of our outbound email servers and replacing them with newer hardware.
Am I likely to notice this work?
Possibly, due to the nature of the work you might see the odd email delayed during the transition from the old servers to the new ones. The IP addresses of some of the mail servers in your sent email headers will also change. This shouldn't cause any problems and those using SPF records with their domains shouldn't need to make any changes to their domain records.
Is there anything else I need to know?
This work replaces the last four of our relay servers. We replaced the first four a couple of weeks ago.
Kind Regards,
Bob Pullen
Customer Support
This time round we'll be keeping the IP addresses of the servers the same.
212.159.14.17
212.159.14.18
212.159.14.19
212.159.14.20
@spoolos, have you tried temporarily disabling Avast to see if the problem persists?

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

spoolos
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 10-05-2010

Re: Relay Server Maintenance - 11th May

Hi bob,
I've just tried that and still no joy so maybe it is not Avast causing this after all?  Any ideas?