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Thread: "The server is going down for maintanance": how do YOU tell your users that?

  1. #1
    sth
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    Default "The server is going down for maintanance": how do YOU tell your users that?

    Hi there,

    I would normally do a ton of research on the forums and FAQs, but am doing this on the lunch hour of my day job, so hoped that the Hive Mind would have a quick answer:

    How do you, as the Zimbra administrator, communicate with your currently-logged-in users?

    I ask specifically because I want to warn my users a few minutes before the backup system coldly, heartlessly, and automatically shuts Zimbra (OS) down for cold backups. (Old-timey Unix admins: think 'echo "Log off now, please." | wall'; Samba admins: think 'smbclient -m ...')

    I'm sure there'd be other uses, too, but this is my most pressing case, right now.

    Have looked at the output of 'zmaccts', but that seems to function more like 'last' than 'who'.

    Can IM be forced on, with all users accepting admin@ as a buddy? I could certainly script the sending of XMPP messages...

    Again, I apologize if this has been covered a million times and I missed it in my brief searches, but my search terms were necessarily vague ("zimbra", "users", "messages", "administration", etc...).


    Many TIA,

    Sam Hooker

  2. #2
    rogle is offline Active Member
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    I've been wondering the same thing.

    The best answer I can come up with is send an email from the admin account to the GAL and put a time frame on the message, e.g. "It is currently XX:XXAM. the system will go offline in 10 minutes and be down for 10 minutes." or something like that.
    If the user is online, they should get the message. If not, by the time they log in, the outage will be over.

    (sorry...don't know how long the back up takes. I'm new to zimbra and implementing a backup script is my next task!)

  3. #3
    sth
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogle View Post
    The best answer I can come up with is send an email from the admin account to the GAL and put a time frame on the message, e.g. "It is currently XX:XXAM. the system will go offline in 10 minutes and be down for 10 minutes." or something like that.
    Right. The thing is, I'm trying to avoid spamming all my users nightly with this message. This would quickly cause them to mark all communications from "admin@" as "noise", and I fear they'd stop listening to me. (If they ever did, anyway...)

    I'd rather directly ping those who happen to be online at the time of the backup operation. Right now, this means "my wife, a few friends, and Mom", but my employer is also pondering a ~40K mailbox Zimbra deployment, and I'm trying to develop some scalable practices on the side before we launch into that. Sending an, "If you're online right now, please log off," message nightly to 40K users would make my team mightily unpopular very fast. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by rogle View Post
    (sorry...don't know how long the back up takes. I'm new to zimbra and implementing a backup script is my next task!)
    That's going to be modulated by a number of things, not least of all: 1) the speed of your storage I/O, 2) the size of your message stores, 3) how you're doing the backups, etc...

  4. #4
    pgienger is offline Active Member
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    If you're doing a 40K install wouldn't you be running a version that has online backups?

    It's been a while since I've seen the server that I last installed/admined (changed jobs) but wasn't there a method in the admin console that would list you all connected users? I may also be thinking of doing some sort of grep through processes or log files.

    My point is that I was pretty sure that at some point there was a fairly simple methodology that would tell you everyone that was logged on and by what method they were connected. I remember picking on certain IT users that didn't get their ZCO upgraded automatically and were lazy about doing it themselves and knowing who they were from an output on the console.

  5. #5
    sth
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgienger View Post
    If you're doing a 40K install wouldn't you be running a version that has online backups?
    Of course. But wouldn't I also like to be able to send all logged-in users a message in the event it were necessary to take all- or some of the cluster down?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgienger View Post
    It's been a while since I've seen the server that I last installed/admined (changed jobs) but wasn't there a method in the admin console that would list you all connected users?
    Well, the Accounts list basically gives you the same output as 'zmaccts'. (Which, for the record, is wrong for my account: it says I haven't logged in since Tuesday, which I certainly have.) My objection to using the 'zmaccts' output is that it's inconclusive: it only gives you last login time, no mention of session length or logout time, and would thus involve making assumptions like, "Anyone who has logged in within the last two hours gets the notification." What about junkies like me, who are logged in all day?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgienger View Post
    I may also be thinking of doing some sort of grep through processes or log files.
    A straight grep is, again, too inconclusive for my taste. (See above re: assumptions.) Probably OK for my personal rig, but not a good fit for the day job's. I could script up a little daemon to tail the logs and insert login/logout records into a DBM/DB (lord knows I've done that enough times), but I still have a feeling that ZCS should have that. Am I nuts? (Or is it available in Network Edition, and withheld from OS?)

    Quote Originally Posted by pgienger View Post
    My point is that I was pretty sure that at some point there was a fairly simple methodology that would tell you everyone that was logged on and by what method they were connected.
    If you can remember what that was, I'm all ears. :-D The manual is disappointingly quiet about this, AFAICT...

    Quote Originally Posted by pgienger View Post
    I remember picking on certain IT users that didn't get their ZCO upgraded automatically and were lazy about doing it themselves and knowing who they were from an output on the console.
    I'm not sure what ZCO is, but if the implication is that I need to update my installation, it's pretty fresh:

    Code:
    [root@malcolm ~]# su -c 'zmcontrol -v' zimbra
    
    Release 5.0.14_GA_2850.RHEL5_64_20090303145145 CentOS5_64 FOSS edition
    
    [root@malcolm ~]# uname -a
    Linux malcolm 2.6.18-128.1.6.el5xen #1 SMP Wed Apr 1 09:53:14 EDT 2009 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    Thanks for your time!

    -sth
    Last edited by sth; 04-24-2009 at 06:10 AM.

  6. #6
    Dirk's Avatar
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    All our users are staff members who's computers log into an openfire xmpp server by default, so I just use Spark client to send a message to everyone who's logged in with the impending offline message, and then another once maint is finished.

  7. #7
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    You can get a reasonable estimate of "users active right now" by checking who recently logged in or sent an email.

    But if you're doing regular shutdowns for backups, you're probably best off just setting the expectation that the system will be unavailable every Saturday at 5am, or something like that.

    Code:
    # who-sent-email.sh
    egrep 'Sent|SendMsg' ~zimbra/log/mailbox.log|egrep -v '^2008-11-30 0[012345]:'| perl -ne 'print if (s/.*\[name=(.*?\@example.edu)\;.*/$1/ and not $a{$_}++)'|tail -100|sort
    # who-logged-on.sh
    egrep -v '127.0.0.1|failed|protocol=imap|protocol=zsync|pop3|^2008-11-30 0[012345]:' ~zimbra/log/audit.log|grep 'cmd=Auth; account='|perl -ne 'print if (s/.*cmd=Auth\; account=(.+?\@example.edu);.*/$1/ and not $a{$_}++)'|tail -100|sort
    # downtime-notice.sh
    for i in `(who-sent-mail.sh; who-logged-on.sh ) | sort | uniq`; do
      sendmail -t <<EOF
    From: admin
    To: $i
    Subject: Zimbra maintenance this morning - please log out
    X-Priority: 1
    
    Blah blah
    EOF
    
    done

  8. #8
    sth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Graves View Post
    You can get a reasonable estimate of "users active right now" by checking who recently logged in or sent an email.
    In my haste to get the question out there, originally, I neglected to mention that I'm in the probably-envious position of only having webmail users, at least for my personal deployment. And I realize that there's no way for the application server to know, definitively, whether someone's using the webmail app. So, everything will be based upon an assumption. So, I think I'm taking the tack of "all users will auto-login to (Zimbra's Jabber) IM, and will accept admin@ as a buddy." And the backup prep script will just "log in" as admin@ and ping all online buddies via IM.

    Now, if I can suss how to script that, it'll feel like a scalable solution. :-)

  9. #9
    ArcaneMagus's Avatar
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    Since nobody seems to have mentioned it specifically yet, the "active session" screen that everybody half remembers is located under: Admin Web interface -> Monitoring -> Server Statistics -> (click on each server here) -> Session tab.

    This will tell you how many users are connected via each protocol, split between Web client, Admin sessions, and IMAP (And I think POP as well but I have that totally disabled). For web client sessions it tells you when they first connected, and when the server last saw activity from them.


    As for your original question as to a way to notify users that the system is going down for maintenance... when you figure something out I would love to know

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    Dirk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcaneMagus View Post
    As for your original question as to a way to notify users that the system is going down for maintenance... when you figure something out I would love to know
    I must confess that the users here find out that the server is down for maintainence when they try to access it and it no longer works. Sometimes I can get the server down, make the change and bring it back up before anyone notices

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