Calculating interdependencies between Zimbra Mail Hosts

a.k.a -- can someone tell me how to decode the 'metadata' attribute in the mail_items table of the zimbra mysql backend database, or point me to documentation on how to do that? I can see the zimbraId of the owner in that field, but there appears to be other information in there that might be useful to me in solving a problem I'm working on:

metadata: d3:aid36:566117c5-df8b-4564-a10c-8e3ebd1f687e1:ci4e2:idi300e1:vi10e2:vti5ee

I know it's not advisable to query the database directly. If anyone has a suggestion of a better way to do this, I'd like to hear that, too

Background:

We currently have a multi-host environment with 6 mailstore hosts and one of the hosts is experiencing random slowness/outages (galsync bug that's fixed in 6.0.12?). However, we've noticed that when that one host (host-a) becomes unresponsive, about 80% of the time another one of our hosts (host-b) becomes non-responsive as well, which makes me think that perhaps we have a large number of users on host-b with links to shared items (calendars, folders, address books, etc) on host-a, so I'm trying to calculate those dependencies.. And, maybe move those users so they are all on the same zimbraMailhost.

To that endeavor, I'm examining all of the mail_items on every mailstore with "type=13" and I'm extracting the zimrbaId of the owner of the shared item (36 bytes starting at column 10) out of the metadata attribute and thenn I'm searching another table (copied from an ldap dump) to determine the zimbraMailHost of the owner of the shared resource.

Everything is working fine. I now have a report with the number of users on each mail server and the number of shared items that they are linked to on each of our other mail servers. I also have a report broken down by each user as well as by department.

I was just wondering if there was any other useful information in that metadata attribute that I could be using.

Thanks...


Sample mail_item entry for a shared calendar:


mailbox_id: 3
id: 220760
type: 13
parent_id: 1
folder_id: 1
index_id: NULL
imap_id: NULL
date: 1221767420
size: 0
volume_id: NULL
blob_digest: NULL
unread: 0
flags: 0
tags: 0
sender: NULL
subject: News
name: News
metadata: d3:aid36:566117c5-df8b-4564-a10c-8e3ebd1f687e1:ci4e2:idi300e1:vi10e2:vti5ee
mod_metadata: 742315
change_date: 1285412003
mod_content: 217004