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Email database cleanup - 26th November (was 20th November)

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 12,810
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Email database cleanup - 26th November (was 20th November)

Evening all,
A bit more detail about this planned maintenance that we have scheduled for early tomorrow morning.
This is being done in conjunction with the email storage upgrade that I posted about here.
This week we've been busy tidying up the relationships between our email delivery database and the Manage My Mail database. We've been doing this primarily to mitigate the potential for problems when we start the migration to our new IronPort anti-spam platform.
As an example, we have a load of accounts with duplicate mailboxes where the local part (the bit before the '@' sign) is the same. Things like this need cleaning up because IronPort works using something called LDAP which is mailbox specific. Problems that might be transparent to customers now could easily manifest themselves after migration if we don't take these preventative measures. We removed a lot of the duplicate entries in hours the other day, however there's quite a few issues that we need to schedule a proper maintenance window for.
The bulk of the cleanup work will be done during the early hours of tomorrow morning. A lot of care has been taken to minimise any customer impact, however we do accept that there'll be a small number of customers who might notice a change to the flow of their email.
Here's an example (there are other scenarios but this is one of the most common) -
Imagine that a customer has two email addresses, one an alias and one a mailbox as follows:
alias@username.plus.com
|
-- > mailbox@username.plus.com

Imagine now that the underlying mailbox is broken (or completely missing). You'd be forgiven for thinking that no mail would be delivered to either the mailbox or the alias, in practice though this is *not* what happens. Our current mail platform treats the alias like a mailbox and physically writes email destined to it to our storage platform. What this means is...

  • emails to mailbox@username.plus.com *do not* get through.
  • emails to alias@username.plus.com *do* get through.

.
This is broken, and we can't leave things in this state for the migration to Ironport. This is because IronPort actually routes email for the alias how you would expect by actually pointing it to the same physical location as the mailbox. Move the above example to IronPort and email to alias@username.plus.com would all start to get rejected because the mailbox it points to doesn't exist.
This can be a bit of a tricky concept to grasp so here's a diagram that hopefully makes it a little easier to see what I'm talking about. The bit in the purple box is our current mail platform.

The solution to the above is to create the missing mailbox (and that's what we'll be doing tomorrow). This means that some customers, depending on their email setup, might start to notice mail coming through to the broken mailbox that they weren't receiving before. Whilst all we're doing is fixing what's broken, this could understandably cause a bit of confusion.
We don't expect any email to get lost and the instances where the flow of email will be changed are few and far between. Our support team all know what's happening and will be on hand anyway should anybody need any help reconfiguring their Manage My Mail settings.

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

12 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Bob I dont know if I am reading the above correctly, but it has been my practice to give new commercial contacts a unique prefix, so that I know if they are leaking my e-mail address.  I do not make a mailbox for each but use catchall to get them to my default inbox.
Are you saying that with IronPort we wont be able to do this?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

The problem Bob is explaining is when the underlying mailbox (the one all your aliases go into) no longer exists. If that situation was passed over to Ironport it would have a problem as it would not have any mailbox to put the email in.. In you case your underlying mailbox does exist so is not a problem.
Aliases will work exactly the same as they do now.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

but I am not using aliases, just catchall for most of my unique addresses however I do have a few for regular items all my actual aliases go to existing mailboxes
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Nothing is changing as far as how the default mailbox works on the new system. The problem PN have is the existing system works if you just have an alias but no underlying mailbox whereas this does not work on Ironport. It's a clean-up exorcise by PN to re-create the missing underlying mailboxes which may result in people getting email for those mailboxes after they are recreated.
Your set-up does not require any 'fixing' by PN and will port across as-is.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 12,810
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Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Like Peter says Pierre, you've nothing to worry about here. Your setup will work like it does now, both tomorrow and when we move to IronPort.

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

Community Gaffer
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Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Sorry to say that this didn't go ahead as planned Sad
We encountered about 70 rows of spurious data that we weren't expecting after running the clean-up queries. Rather than risk breaking email for this handful of customers, we halted the rollout so we could investigate further.
Chances are we'll give it another go next week.

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

pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

and I thought mine was ok - now still dont know
Community Gaffer
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Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Quote from: Bob
We encountered about 70 rows of spurious data that we weren't expecting after running the clean-up queries.

We didn't commit any of these changes to the live platform Pierre so all should still be well.

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

Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Email database cleanup - 20th November

Moderator's Note
Off topic post How well does IronPort work with domains? has been moved to its own thread.
David (spraxyt)
David
Community Gaffer
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Re: Email database cleanup - 26th November (was 20th November)

Heads up that we'll be attempting this piece of work again early tomorrow morning. The website and Member Centre will be down during this time. Service Status has been updated.

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

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 12,810
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Re: Email database cleanup - 26th November (was 20th November)

All went as planned this time and the changes have now been committed to the live platform Smiley

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

Superuser
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Re: Email database cleanup - 26th November (was 20th November)

Thanks Bob, good news Grin
David
David