Wednesday May 22, 2013

Oracle Communications Messaging Server: Dealing with Password Expiration

Alerting Messaging Server Users that Their Password Is Expiring

Looking at the support forums today, I was reminded of the new password aging support feature in Messaging Server 7 Update 5:

Messaging Server now honors LDAP password policies. It sends an IMAP ALERT when a user's LDAP password is about to expire. Refer to Directory Server documentation for setting this up (see Oracle Identity Management documentation). You can use MeterMaid to limit the frequency of warnings.

A forum user also supplied a cheat sheet on how to update the necessary LDAP, here.

Update: More info here in this Does Messaging Server Or Convergence Support Password Aging Policy ? [ID 1474404.1] article.

Sunday May 19, 2013

Oracle Communications: Cheat Sheet Documentation

Please welcome another of my Infodev blogging comrades, Brenda, to the Oracle blogosphere. Check out her typewriter-girl-turned-into-technical-support post.

Friday May 17, 2013

Oracle Communications Messaging Server: To Compile or Not to Compile

Compiled Versus Non-Compiled MTA Configurations: Which Strategy Is Best?

Recently, we had a discussion around the pros and cons of using a compiled MTA configuration for Messaging Server. What follows is a summary of this discussion, and also how this relates to the new Unified Configuration.

  • Pros of using a compiled configuration:
    • "The main reason for compiling configuration information is performance."
      In the past, say back in Messaging Server 5 days, this used to be important but with current releases is no longer a factor.
    • "Configuration changes can be tested more conveniently because the configuration files themselves are not 'live' when a compiled configuration is in use."
      This is the main reason now for using a compiled MTA configuration.
  • Cons of using a compiled configuration:
    • Introduces some complexity in management.
    • Non-MTA components do not share the same options with MTA components, so changing a compiled configuration could cause some components to be "live" (non-MTA) before others (MTA). This behavior is independent of the configuration type (legacy or Unified).
    • On non-production systems, compiled configuration is probably not worth the additional overhead.
  • Compiled configuration was the default prior to the Messaging Server 7 Update 4 release. So it is important for new installations (Messaging Server 7 Update 5) to understand whether to use a compiled configuration. Still, it seems likely that most sites would and should use a compiled configuration.
  • The command imsimta cnbuild -remove causes a system to stop using a compiled configuration.
  • To test configuration changes before committing them and going live, use the following command structure:
imsimta test -rewrite -noimage_file you@example.com

You can use the following flags to set the path to the configuration file:

-configuration_file=
-mapping_file=
-option_file=

These enable you to carefully clone then customize the configuration files before testing.

About Unified Configuration

Unified Configuration has the ability to save a history of changes and roll back to previous configurations. (See the msconfig history command). Thus, if an undesired configuration behavior takes place, even though a configuration may have passed its validity checks, you can still return easily to a previous configuration.

  • Does Unified Configuration obsolete a compiled configuration?
    • Not yet.
    • Does not address the more complex issues of MTA configuration change coordination.
    • You still need to coordinate multiple configuration changes and test them thoroughly prior to going live.

Reference

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Oracle Communications Messaging Server: Tips to Get Started with Unified Configuration

Introduced in the latest Messaging Server release (7 Update 5 Patch 28), Unified Configuration offers up a more "unified" approach to administering your messaging configuration:

  • You don't have to manage multiple configuration files with differing formats, and that you have to edit by hand (and so risk potentially causing an error): instead, you use one administrative tool, msconfig, and all legacy configuration files (with some small exceptions) are consolidated into three configuration files (config.xml being where most configuration data is stored). In addition, Unified Configuration performs validation checking to prevent introducing some configuration errors.
  • You no longer have to deal with configuration settings that themselves are not that straight-forward, and in Unified Configuration, you can use the same settings for many options among the MMP, MTA, and message store configurations.

Getting started with Unified Configuration, I found the following tips and information very useful:

  • Use the configutil -H command to translate the legacy configutil option names to Unified Configuration names. For example:
    # configutil -H -o logfile.imap.expirytime
    Configuration option: logfile.imap.expirytime
    Unified Config Name: imap.logfile.expirytime
  • Upgrading to Messaging Server 7 Update 5 (patch 28) does not mean that you HAVE to run Unified Configuration. You can upgrade and continue to run just as you are in legacy configuration. When/if you want to start using Unified Configuration, then you would use the configtoxml Command to update the configuration.
  • You can run msconfig in either interactive or non-interactive mode. As I have been getting used to Unified Configuration, I find that using interactive mode is very helpful, as the parser lets you know if you have entered an incorrect syntax. Also, you don't have to accept the configuration change until you write it to the configuration.
  • Getting more help: run the msconfig help command to get a list of online help topics.
  • When you deal with editing blobs like channels, invoke the editor like this: msconfig edit channels, or for a specific channel, msconfig edit tcp_local. The msconfig edit command invokes the editor specified by the EDITOR shell variable. This is a much easier way to edit things than by trying to use an msconfig set command.

Thursday May 09, 2013

Oracle Communications Customers: What Kind of Documentation Do You Need?

Oracle Communications Customer Advisory Board (CAB) Provides Some Answers

In reading Scott Miller's Road Trip! InfoDev Goes to CAB post, I was struck by one of the answers he got to the age-old question from techwriterdom, "Just what exactly does a customer want in documentation?" Answer: More info on "operations."

In my mind, when customers talk about "operations," they mostly mean this in the context of the operations end of the business: having a document that contains common administrative tasks for their operators on the corporate help desk, who need to quickly triage and resolve "operations" issues that come up. Indeed, the idea of creating a Communications Suite "operations" guide has long been in the back of my mind.

So, let me put Scott's question out to Unified Communications Suite customers: "Just what exactly do you want in documentation?" If your answer concurs with what Scott found out at CAB, that you do want something more along the lines of "operations," perhaps we should start a dialog.

Wednesday May 08, 2013

Unified Communications Suite 7 Update 4: Rolling Out a New Release

Source*

We shipped the latest version (7 Update 4) of Unified Communications Suite. The following information should get you started:

Specifically, if you are interested in the Messaging Server 7 Update 5 (Patch 28) component of this release, the following new documentation will be useful:

The big change for Messaging Server in this release is the ability to have a Unified Configuration. Note that it is not required to use Unified Configuration when installing or upgrading to Messaging Server 7 Update 5. I recommend starting with Overview of Messaging Server Unified Configuration to get up to speed on what this change represents. I will be posting more about Unified Configuration going forward.

Additionally, we have published the following comprehensive security summary for Messaging Server:

* (I can't get enough of these photos of artist Al Weiwei's Forever Bicycles exhibit.)

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Reporting about Unified Communications Suite Documentation, including news, Comms 101, documentation updates, and tips and tricks.

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