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rleslie70

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We have had kerio mail server for about 3 years and i've had nothing but positive experiences with it...up until now.

Our mail server had a hardware and we had to replace it. For a long time i was doing the kms backups. The reason that i stopped is because the kms backups do not let you backup and restore individual mailboxes..it's all or nothing. i was thus using windows nt backups to back up the mail store. maybe not the best way to backup the email store.

We have about a thousand users. most are on pop3 while about 50 to 60 users were storing their stuff on the server using the connector. Well, when the email server died, i figured that the offline cache would still be available for koff users to access their email offline. Wrong. About half of the users who used the connector experienced their offline cache becoming corrupt.

When i did a restore from the backup, for about half of the users, i had to go in and reindex the index.fld by renaming it to index.bad. another user i was able to restore all her emails but her contacts didn't come over. it's been a bit of a nightmare, but not as bad as it could have been if i had the entire company on the connector.

I think kerio is a wonderful product for pop3. But the connector is not something you want to be on when your mail server dies. I'm also not sure that kerio is a product for a company of 1000 or more...but maybe better suited to 600 users or less.

I also think kerio should provide the ability to backup mailboxes individually instead of the entire mailstore. I'll fill out a feature request for this.

just my two cents
















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Pavel Dobry (Kerio)

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I think it is not much fair to blame the product since the recommended procedures for backup and recover were not used. It is a proof that windows NT backup is not good for disaster recovery of a running application and that it is good to follow procedures recommended by application vendor.
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rleslie70

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Well, granted we shouldn't have been using windows NT backup; however, Kerio doesn't provide a reasonable backup utility. I wouldn't want to do an entire restore of the mail store because many users use pop3 and may be storing a copy on the mail server. If i did an entire restore, many of them would get copies of emails they've already received into their outlook.

Also, for situations where a user deletes a folder off of the mail server, we would want the capability to restore that particular folder and not do an entire restore of the mail store.

In addition, the fact that the Kerio offline connector went caput for so many users once the connector lost contact with the mail server points to some serious flaws in the product design.

All in all i think kerio is a good product...but we definitely have experienced its limitations in recent weeks.
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p0ddie

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Hi,

sad to hear about the mess you have to clean up now.

However, backing up the entire mailstore the way Kerio does it makes a lot of sense, since you can recover - if you have to - the entire mail server structure in a matter of minutes.

There may be some misunderstanding on your end about restoring from a backup though - you don't need to restore the entire mailstore, you can decide to restore

|- mailstore
|-- domain
|--- user
|---- user folder

if you want to. I just did this a few days ago, under OS X the usage of kmsrecover looked like this:

mailserver root# ./kmsrecover -v -d domain.com -u username -f "Calendar" /Volumes/Backup_Volume/Kerio_Backup/

So what kmsrecover did is restore only the most recent version of the user's Calendar. Since I did not point kmsrecover to a specific backup file, only to the backup directory, it checks the last full backup + all available later incremental backups and restores the complete folder. Worked like a charm.

In the future, I would suggest you using the kms backup schedule, as it works flawlessly.
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rleslie70

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maybe this should be more publicized then? We bought kerio from a 3rd party reseller. I specifically asked about backups and restores and the instructions the reseller gave me were for restoring the entire database. i assumed that since you have to specify the backup zip file and after 2 gigs kerio creates a new zip file, that there was no way to restore an individual mailbox or folder. I'm a regular visitor to the kerio forums and have read other posts where users ask the same question....about how to backup/restore individual mailboxes versus the entire mail store. Maybe this information is in the pdf manual for kerio not sure...i will definitely test it on my mailbox.

One of the issues we've had is our mailstore got to 260 gigs and it was taking windows backup over 24 hours to backup. Well, our mailstore is now a little over 20 gigs and it took the kerio backup almost 3 hours to complete. is there a faster way of backing the mailstore up? i have a usb external drive attached and am backing up that way. of course it would be nice if kerio provided a gui interface for backups and restores, but as long as i know what to do, i guess it's not that big of deal.

It's still bothers me though that so many of our connectors crashed when they lost connectivity to the mail server...but i guess getting something to integrate with outlook can be a pain.....too bad kerio doesn't invent their own email client.

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My IT Indy

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If you buy Kerio from a certified reseller vs. a distribution company like CDW or PCMall we can definitely point you to things like this. Usually we can meet or beat the distribution channel's price so that's not an issue.

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My IT Indy
Kerio Certified Reseller and Hosted Provider
http://www.myitindy.com
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stewie

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This procedure is in the manual, "15.3 Data recovery from back-up" so we can't fault Kerio here. In fact, their backup is very good & flexible. But the main issue is the recovery time.

When any server goes down you want it back up NOW. So waiting for a restore is not fun. That's why we use rsync. It makes an exact copy so if our mail server fails, we just use the backup server. This is a common method & well documented in the forums & the 'net.

Your backups should not take 24 hours for a mere 260GB. We have over 260GB, & while I haven't timed it, it completes in an hour or so using the built-in Kerio backup feature. (Yes, we rsync AND backup.)

Something certainly isn't right at your location. Maybe others can assist here or maybe Kerio's support. But I'd recommend contacting aplawrence.com. Read through his site & you can immediately see this is very bright Kerio reseller who knows what he's doing.

Good luck!
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BudDurland

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Personally, if I had a 260GB mail store, I'd be looking into a replicated SAN.

Good is better than evil because it's nicer
--Mammy Yokum
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stewie

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One more thing, kerio does make it's own mail client, it's called web mail & it works incredibly well. While most of our users use Mail.app/iCal & Outlook, I use web mail everyday & have never had any issues whatsoever. In fact, I never struggle with any issues that our other users contend with using Mail.app & Outlook.

So give it try, it's awesome!

(BTW, props to HoosierMac. He's very active on the boards & I'm sure he can give you good support, too.)
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rleslie70

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I am aware of webmail but i don't consider it an email client...just in the way i wouldn't consider OWA from exchange a replacement for outlook. plus webmail can be slow if you have a lot of folders (i know if you do raid 10 that's suppose to speed up performance...however, i was under the gun when our server died to get a replacement as fast as possible and didn't want to waste half my hard drive space doing raid 10...i thus did raid 5 which may account for wemail's sluggishness).

Anyway, stewie...isn't rsync a linux application? currently our server is running on windows (would like to have put it on linux...but once again we were more familiar with windows and didn't have time to mess around with a new OS). rsync won't work on windows will it? also, what are you backing up to? an external drive? or the server itself? well, our mailstore isn't 260 gigs any more.......it's a little over 20 gigs.

I'm not trying to bash Kerio but i do think there should be something in gui about restores...even if it's just a note or reminder how to do them. Not all of us read the 'freakin manual' even if we're suppose to...Smile
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p0ddie

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Hey,

a mail server is not iTunes, so taking into account the importance of email today I'd say tinkering with backups and restores of your mailserver makes at least knowing where the manual is mandatory Wink

Aside from that, yes, one thing that is not well (not at all) documented is: The manual states you need to select a specific zip file to restore from. That is not true, you can point kmsrecover to the backup directory and it will find the newest and most complete data, as I mentioned earlier (last full backup + last incremental backups). That is not documented and I was given this hint from the Kerio support person on the phone when I needed it.

Considering the backups: I have a ~50GB mailstore here at a customer, it backs up from a SATA RAID 1 to an external Firewire drive, the full backup takes about 3-4 hours once in a week. That is quite slow, yes. The reason for that is (I assume) next to drive access performance is that the "backup" process runs only on one core of the cpu, so the process of zipping the files does not take advantage of multicore cpus.

Finally, you might look into "Sync Toy", that's M$ freeware and that's what I use to backup my iTunes library to, it is quite fast and reliable Smile

Rsync for Windows does exist btw. and is called DeltaCopy. As far as I heard it is fully rsync compatible (meaning if you make offsite backups and have an rsync daemon running on the other side it will further speed up things).
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rleslie70

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for the longest time i was using the kms backup utility but stopped when our mail store got quite large because i didn't think you could backup and restore individual mailboxes. also, i didn't realize that using windows backup would have caused problems. i had restored individual emails and folders in the past using windows backup and it seemed to work fine. Of course, i never had to restore as many mailboxes and folders as i've had to do now.

thanks for everyone's input.
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rleslie70

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hopefully, my situation can help others who didn't realize that you can backup and restore individual mailboxes.........
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stewie

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rleslie70 wrote on Wed, 12 August 2009 09:25
hopefully, my situation can help others who didn't realize that you can backup and restore individual mailboxes.........

Good point.

rsync is available on windows via Cygwin. But as others have pointed out, there is similar software available for Windows.

As for the web client--just to pic nits Wink --it absolutely is a client. It's not a traditional standalone client (unless you use Prism/Chrome/etc.), but a web-based client. Still, a client nonetheless. But I get your point, you want a standalone app.

Anyway, good luck getting back on track!
My IT Indy

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The mail is stored on the server. ANYTHING that accesses the mail for a user is a client. Webmail is a client, Apple Mail is a client, Thunderbird is a client, Outlook is as well.

I restore files all the time, either with SSHFS + MacFuse on my macbook pro or the Finder running in root.

Thank goodness KMS isn't like iTunes, I already dislike Apple telling people they can set up their own servers and make it easy to set up initially. The problem comes in when they need to modify settings and break EVERYTHING. Then they call me in to fix it.

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My IT Indy
Kerio Certified Reseller and Hosted Provider
http://www.myitindy.com
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