Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

Comms Suite 5 Single Host Deployment: Not Just for Solaris Anymore

A while back, one of the Messaging Server gurus allowed me to post his doc on deploying all of Communications Suite 5 on a single host running Linux. We were hoping to get some feedback on this doc before making it into an official member of the Comms product doc set. Well, now it looks like we at least got one confirmation that it all works. See for details.

So, I guess this means I have to find time to make good on my promise to produce another Sun approved manual. I just live for these moments.

Tuesday Jul 17, 2007

Communications Suite 5 & Browser Requirements

Homer Simpson Using a Tabbed Browser

The question about Comms Suite and which browsers are supported comes up quite regularly. Recently, we updated the Communications Suite 5 Release Notes to indicate the current status of browser support. Here's the relevant table you'll want to refer to:

Table 6–2 Supported Browser Versions for Communications Express 6.3


Windows XP

Windows 2000




NetscapeTM Communicator






Microsoft Internet Explorer


6.0 SP1 or later






















Tuesday Jul 03, 2007

Sun Java Communications Suite 5: New Doc to Help You Take a Closer Look

Thanks to one of our excellent Comms experts, we've just published the Sun Java Communications Suite 5 Evaluation Guide, to help you to use, learn about, and evaluate the latest version of Sun Java Communications Suite software. To get the most out of this guide, you should use it in conjunction with the Deployment Example: Communications Suite on a Single Host manual, to create a full-fledged evaluation system.

The Evalution Guide provides a tutorial-type walk through of the key features of the Sun Java Communications Suite. You experience working with the messaging, calendaring, and address book components of the Communications Express UI, as well as use Connector for Microsoft Outlook and Instant Messaging. In addition, the Evaluation Guide describes some of the advanced features of Communications Suite.

Get the guide here:

Friday Jun 15, 2007

Comms Suite 5: New Zipped Docs File

Heads up: Both the Sun Java System Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Guide and Sun Java Communications Suite 5 Release Notes were recently updated. Accordingly, I've updated the zip file that contains all the Comms 5 docs (PDF format), located here.

Wednesday Jun 06, 2007

Communications Suite: Confirming That Upgrade Procedure from 5.2

re: upgrading directly from iPlanet Messaging Server 5.2 to Communications Suite 5 (that is, Messaging Server 6.3), the Sun Java Communications Suite Upgrade Guide is clear on the upgrade path:

To quote:

While it is possible to upgrade all previous releases of Communications Suite software to Communications Suite 5, the only certified upgrades are from Java Enterprise System 2005Q4, Java Enterprise System 2005Q1, and Java Enterprise System 2004Q2. Upgrades from earlier releases are not documented in this Upgrade Guide.

Thus, upgrading directly from iPlanet Messaging Server 5.2 is not a certified way to go. From 5.2, you're supposed to go to 2005Q1 and then from 2005Q1 you can upgrade to 6.3. It's a two-step process. Headache, yes. But that's the certified route to take.

Monday May 14, 2007

Comms Suite: Pull or Push, It's Up to You

Doctor Doolittle's pushmi-pullyu (pronounced "push-me-pull-you")

Traditional email access (dial-up) was and still is "pull" based. You log in to your mail server, your mail client polls the server to see if there is new mail, and if so downloads it to a mailbox in your home directory. The same process happens at regular intervals afterwards as well.

The IMAP protocol, in effect, introduced clients to "push" email. Through support for polling and monitoring of the server, the IMAP protocol enables clients to become aware of new messages, fetch message data, and choose to dowload the message. Wireless devices were next to become 'instant-on' email clients, but used proprietary protocols to achieve that state of bliss.

Now the IETF, in the form of the 'Lemonade Profile,' has provided a standard way to use the existing IMAP IDLE command along with SMTP modficiations for push email.

Communications Suite 5 (released March 2007) supports IMAP IDLE (aka push email). Support for the IMAP and SMTP extensions described in the Lemonade Profile, RFC 4550, is planned for the next major Communications Suite release.

The advantages of IMAP IDLE are:

  • Mail clients do not have to poll the IMAP server for incoming messages.
  • Eliminating client polling reduces the workload on the IMAP server and enhances the server's performance. Client polling is most wasteful when a user receives few or no messages; the client continues to poll at the configured interval, typically every 5 or 10 minutes.
  • A mail client displays a new message to the user much closer to the actual time it arrives in the user's mailbox. A change in message status is also displayed in near-real time.
  • The IMAP server does not have to wait for the next IMAP polling message before it can notify the client of a new or updated mail message. Instead, the IMAP server receives a notification as soon as a new message arrives or a message changes status. The server then notifies the client through the IMAP protocol.

To configure IMAP IDLE in Messaging Server 6.3, see To Configure IMAP IDLE.

Friday Apr 27, 2007

Support for Windows Mobile in Communications Suite 5

The Communications Suite 5 release includes support for Windows Mobile 5, to keep email and and calendar information in-synch. (Note: Even I found it a bit hard to find this in our docs; you have to go to the Communications Sync 3.0 Release Notes to find out that, yes, we do indeed support Windows Mobile 5.0.) When you install the new release, the Comms installer takes care of presence of only one data sync path between Connector for Outlook and Calendar Server, enabling your PDA with Windows Mobile and Communications Sync to sync email/calendar/contact info with Microsoft Outlook.

If necessary, you can download just the updated Communications Sync tool from the following download page:

On this page:

  1. Click Download.
  2. Log in with your SunSolve user ID/password.
  3. Download the file.

New and Improved: Communications Suite 5 Release Notes

One of my fellow writers informed me that the Communications Suite 5 Release Notes have undergone small but worthy changes, and have been re-released today, with the following enhancements:

  • Calendar Server: Added more information to the What's New topic about the changes to the csstored process.
  • Communications Express: Added more description about problem number 6546795.
Get the Communications Suite 5 Release Notes here.

Tuesday Apr 24, 2007

Communications Suite 5: All the Docs Fit to Print

One doc complaint often heard at a Comms Suite voice of the customer gripe/feedback session is that doesn't provide the ability to download all docs from a particular collection or product set at one time in the form of a zip file. Thankfully, at least in the Comms area, we have other means of helping out customers with this item.

You can now get the entire Comms Suite 5 doc set (PDF versions)--including guides, reference manuals, and technical notes--at the following URL:

If you want to know the full list of titles, here's the README:

Sun Java Communications Suite 5 Documentation, Alphabetical Order

819-4654.pdf Calendar Server 6.3 Administration Guide
819-4655.pdf Calendar Server 6.3 WCAP Developer's Guide
819-4440.pdf Communications Express 6.3 Administration Guide
819-4441.pdf Communications Express 6.3 Customization Guide
819-2656.pdf Communications Services 6 2005Q4 Migration Guide
819-4432.pdf Communications Suite 5 Release Notes
819-4434.pdf Communications Suite 5 Documentation Center
819-4435.pdf Communications Suite 5 Event Notification Service Guide
819-4437.pdf Communications Suite 5 Schema Reference
819-4439.pdf Communications Suite 5 Deployment Planning Guide
819-7560.pdf Communications Suite 5 Installation Guide
819-7561.pdf Communications Suite 5 Upgrade Guide
820-0430.pdf Communications Suite 5 What's New
820-0639.pdf Comparison of Sun Java System LDAP Schema Modes for Communications Suite Products
819-5195.pdf Configuring Brightmail with Sun Java System Messaging Server
819-4409.pdf Connector for Microsoft Outlook 7.2 Installation Guide
819-4410.pdf Connector for Microsoft Outlook 7.2 Administration Guide
819-4411.pdf Connector for Microsoft Outlook 7.2 User's Guide
819-4438.pdf Delegated Administrator 6.4 Administration Guide
819-6839.pdf Deleting Messaging Server, Calendar Server, and Communications Express Users
820-0086.pdf Deployment Example: Sun Java Communications Suite 5 on a Single Host
819-5104.pdf Escaping Vendor Lock-in: Life After Microsoft Exchange
819-4412.pdf Instant Messaging 7.2 Administration Guide
819-6991.pdf Message Archiving Using the Sun Compliance and Content Management Solution
819-2652.pdf Messaging Server 6 2005Q4 MTA Developer's Reference
819-4428.pdf Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Guide
819-4429.pdf Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Reference
819-2653.pdf Messenger Express 6 2005Q4 Customization Guide
819-5355.pdf Sun Gathering Debug Data for Sun Java System Messaging Server
820-0374.pdf Sun Gathering Debug Data for Sun Java System Calendar Server
819-7603.pdf Transferring Messaging Server Configuration Data to a New Directory
 Server Host Without Reinstalling Messaging Server
819-6504.pdf Using NetApp Filers with Sun Java System Messaging Server Message Store
820-1040.pdf Using Sun StorageTek 53xx NAS with Messaging Server Message Store

Monday Apr 23, 2007

Patches?!? - We Don't Need No Stinkin' Patches!!

Cool development on the Communications Suite BigAdmin Hub: I'm readying the Downloads > Updates tab to include actual patch numbers. (Which means, of course, I'll have to keep this up-to-date going forward.) I'm starting with the upgrade patches for Communications Suite 5, for each component. As base patches become available for Comms 5, I'll start listing those as well. Note that for Messaging Server:

Upgrade patches will be available in May, 2007. If you need to upgrade sooner, please contact Support. Support will contact Engineering and work with your schedule to see if early access to the upgrade patch is feasible.
I just this morning requested to have this hub tab updated by the BigAdmin gatekeeper, so it should be visible to the external world in a day or so.

Sidebar, per Wikipedia:

"Badges? We ain't got no... stinking badges!" is one of the most frequently quoted, misquoted and parodied movie quotations in history. In 2005, it was chosen as #36 on the American Film Institute list, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.

Thursday Apr 19, 2007

Communications Suite and Emergency Notifications - Using SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) Support in Messaging Server
The topic of Short Message Service (SMS) has come up within the Comms community as a means to quickly notify users with a more real-time, "push" style of communications, for example, to let users know of emergency conditions that require their prompt action.

I'm no expert on the topic by any means, but I did some digging around and came up with the following bits of information that may help you decide if SMS is something your site should look into.

Quick SMS Overview
From Wikipedia:

Short Message Service (SMS) is a telecommunications protocol that allows the sending of "short" (160 characters or less) text messages. It is available on most digital mobile phones and some personal digital assistants with onboard wireless telecommunications. The individual messages which are sent are called text messages, and more colloquially SMSes,texts, or even txts (in "text speak").

SMS gateways exist to connect mobile SMS services with instant message (IM) services, the world wide web, desktop computers, and even landline telephones (through speech synthesis). Devices which can connect to mobile phones and PDAs through protocols such as Bluetooth can also sometimes use that link to send SMS messages over the wireless network. SMS arose as part of the widely deployed GSM protocol, but is now also available with non-GSM systems.

The most common application of the service is person-to-person messaging, but text messages are also often used to interact with automated systems, such as ordering products and services for mobile phones, or participating in contests. There are some services available on the Internet that allow users to send text messages free of direct charge to the sender, although users of North American networks will often have to pay to receive any SMS text message.

SMS Support in Messaging Server
The short of it is that yes, Messaging Server does support SMS as a channel.

Messaging Server implements email-to-mobile and mobile-to-email messaging using SMS. You can configure SMS as either one-way (email-to-mobile only) or two-way (both email-to-mobile and mobile-to-email). To enable one-way service only, you must add and configure the SMS channel. To enable two-way service, you must add and configure the SMS channel, and in addition, configure the SMS Gateway Server.

For both one- and two-way SMS, the generated SMS messages are submitted to a Short Message Service Center (SMSC) using the Short Message Peer to Peer (SMPP) protocol. Specifically, the SMSC must provide a V3.4 or later SMPP server that supports TCP/IP.

The following figure shows these configurations:

Graphic shows logical data flow of one- and two-way SMS.

One-way SMS: To enable one-way service, the Messaging Server implements an SMPP client (the MTA SMS channel) that communicates with remote SMSCs. The SMS channel converts enqueued email messages to SMS messages as described in C.2.2 The Email to SMS Conversion Process of multipart MIME messages as well as character set translation issues. Operating in this capacity, the SMS channel functions as an (SMPP) External Short Message Entity (ESME).

Two-way SMS: Two-way SMS enables the mail server not only to send email to remote devices, but allows for receiving replies from the remote devices and for remote device email origination. Enabling two-way SMS service requires both the MTA SMS channel (SMPP client), as explained in the previous topic, and the SMS Gateway Server. Sun Java System Messaging Server installs an SMS Gateway Server as part of its general installation process, which you must then configure.

For more information, see Appendix C, Short Message Service (SMS) in the Messaging Server 6.3 Administration Guide.

SMS Mailbox Access and Calendar Gateway
In addition to the SMS functionality built-in to Messaging Server, a couple of Sun Professional Services folks independently developed an SMS Gateway solution for use with Messaging Server and Calendar Server. Dubbed SMS Mailbox Access and Calendar Gateway, this solution is primarily targetted at service providers to add value for their subcriber base, though other types of organizations could certainly also use the gateway.

The SMS Gateway provides the following functionality:
  1. SMS Notification. Receiving SMS information about each email delivered to the subscriber's mailbox. Depending on user-configured settings, the following information can be sent in the SMS body: sender, email subject, date and time, size attachment information, and more. Furthermore, the subscribers can read emails using their mobile phones. It is just a matter of responding to the SMS notification and the first part of the email body will be received as another SMS on the mobile device shortly thereafter. To receive another part the subscriber has to respond with SMS to the first one, to receive third - respond to the second, and so on, until the whole body has been transferred.
  2. Mailbox management via SMS. This enables support for basic email services. Subscribers can use SMS messages to reply to, forward, or delete the mail stored in their mailbox to receive mailbox status information (for example, the number of messages, how many have been read, and so on), as well as detailed attachment data (filename, type, and size). Mailbox management features also include the ability to send emails using SMS messages and to change notification parameters.
  3. Calendar Event Information. SMS Gateway sends SMS messages containing information on events in the subscriber's calendar (Calendar Server) to the subscriber's mobile phone (depending on user-configured settings). These can include reminders for pending appointments, invitations to meetings, and so on.
The SMS Gateway requires Messaging Server, Calendar Server, Directory Server, and custom components developed by Sun.

Comparison of Messaging Server SMS Channel and SMS Mailbox Access and Calendar Gateway
It's interesting to note that the built-in SMS functionality to Messaging Server and the SMS Gateway do not compete, but are in fact complimentary. Here is a summary of features in both:

SMS Channel
  • General-purpose email/SMS and SMS/email gateway
  • SMS notification sent as email passes via the channel, mailboxes are not involved
  • Provides historical record of the messages sent, so mobile users can respond to notifications to reply to email messages
  • Supports DSNs

SMS Gateway
  • SMS Gateway sends notifications when emails are delivered to mailboxes, so they can contain backward references to messages
  • Mailboxes must be involved if you want to interact with mailbox but you can think of  the Gateway as a general purpose tool for changing some user parameters in LDAP by means of SMS messages sent
  • SMPP connectivity is through the Messaging Server SMS Channel but also SEMA-OIS, UCP, and CIMD2 connectivity independently if needed as not all SMSC devices use SMPP
Very briefly: Use SMS Channel if you want to configure your Messaging Server to be an SMTP to SMS converter, so mail messages transferred through are converted to SMS messages and sent to mobile users, regardless of whether they have mailboxes on your server. Use SMS Gateway if you want your Messaging Server users to be notified with SMS about messages that arrive in their mailboxes and to be able to manipulate them with the means of SMS messages.

Another Alternative: Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) Support in Messaging Server
MMS, like Short Messaging Service (SMS), is a way to send a message from one mobile device to another. The difference is that MMS can include not just text, but also sound, images and video. It is also possible to send MMS messages from a mobile phone to an email address.

While Messaging Server has supported SMS for some time, it does not provide built-in support for MMS. Instead, Sun has partnered with companies such as Logica CMG to provide the additional functionality required.

For More Information
For more information on this SMS Mailbox Access and Calendar Gateway, contact Andrzej Zagrodzinski or Wojciech.Chemijewski.

Wednesday Apr 18, 2007

Comms Suite 5 MEM - It's a Front End...No, It's a Back End...No, It's Gone Completely...No, It's Still There

Sometimes we're are own worst enemy, creating confusion rather than developing understanding that makes deploying Communications Suite easier. Case in point: In the Messaging Server 6.3 docs, we've communicated that the Messaging Express Multiplexor (MEM) is "no longer used." We could have done a better job describing what this means. For example, in the Release Notes we wrote:

The webmail server, also known as mshttpd (Messaging Server HTTP Daemon), provides email services to the Messenger Express and Communications Express clients. Now, the webmail server accesses the message store through the IMAP server. This provides several advantages:
  • Messenger Express and Communications Express clients are now able to access shared folders that are located on different back-end message stores.
  • The webmail server no longer must be installed on each back-end server.
  • The webmail server can serve as a front-end server performing the multiplexing capabilities previously performed by Messenger Express Multiplexor (MEM).
  • MEM is no longer used. See Deprecated and Removed Features for Messaging Server.

Also, in the Communications Suite 5 Deployment Planning Guide:

Webmail Server or mshttpd daemon. Provides email services to the Messenger Express and Communications Express clients by using HTTP. In previous versions of Messaging Server, the Webmail Server accessed the Message Store directly. Now, the Webmail Server accesses the Message Store through the IMAP server. Such an architecture enables Messenger Express and Communications Express clients to access shared folders that are located in different back-end Message Stores. Additionally, there is no longer a requirement to install the Webmail Server on each back-end server. The Webmail Server can act as a front-end server performing the multiplexing capabilities previously performed by Messenger Express Multiplexor (MEM).

So, what's really going on?

Let's see if we can put this together more clearly. Prior to the Messaging Server 6.3 release, the MEM served as the HTTP proxy for Communications Express and Messenger Express. That HTTP proxy is the part that has been removed in Messaging Server 6.3. As a result of reengineering mshttpd as an IMAP client (instead of accessing the store locally), you no longer need to install mshttpd on the back end. Thus, you don't need need MEM. However, other than that, the Webmail Server is still the same. One could then say that the MEM functionality is now part of the main server. But it's really the MEM that's gone.

In retrospect, then, if MEM had been separate from the mshttpd daemon, like the mmp and httpd daemons are, this would have all been clearer that it's the proxy function that has been removed.

Deployment implications:

  1. You run Webmail Server on your front-end machines (rather than back end).
  2. Communications Express can now communicate to mshttpd on other systems.
  3. You should typically (recommended from an operational deployment standpoint, rather a functional standpoint) combine Webmail Server with Comms Express on the same machine on the access layer.

Monday Apr 16, 2007

Comms Suite 5 - Docs to Go (Installing on Linux)

Unfortunately, our internal pubs processes are very weighty. That's not always a bad thing, we need to ensure quality, technical accuracy, and so on. But for some docs, it doesn't make sense to make you wait while the wheels of Sun Pubdom grind slowly on.

But I'm starting to look at this blog as the ultimate cheepo publishing system, for some information at least: a docs-to-go kind of place.

Bottom line: Customers want information quickly. So I'll experiment a bit with a doc that a support expert has readied: Deployment Example: Sun Java Communications Suite 5 on a Single Host (Linux). I know some of you have requested this already, (the doc is really an updated version of the same example on Solaris) and so I'm making a decision: rather than pipe this through the normal (slowww) pubs channels and wrap the info in near-Nirvanic Sun formatting, I'm redirecting it as is to this blog.

Doc Summary: This deployment example describes how to install Sun Java Communications Suite 5 software on one Linux computer for a functioning deployment. This document is intended for any evaluator, system administrator, or installation technician who wants to install and evaluate the services delivered by these components.

Get the Deployment Example

As an experiment, I'll leave it up to this community to let me know if you find any corrections and I'll take the responsibility to keep the doc up-to-date if you find something that needs fixing. Who knows, perhaps this could become a new and faster way to get certain kinds of information into your hands.

Delegated Administrator Console User's Guide

If you use the Delegated Administrator Console, you're in luck. One of our writers just put out the following doc:

Delegated Administrator Console: Administrative Tasks

This document describes the tasks you can perform in the Communications Suite Delegated Administrator console. (It contains the same information as the Delegated Administrator console online help.)

Wednesday Apr 04, 2007

Heads Up: Communications Suite New Info on the Way

Just a quick update to describe some of the new information coming your way regarding Communications Suite:

  • Tuning the Messaging Server MMP - I'm working with one of our support engineers on this tech tip type doc, which describes tuning recommendations for Sun Java System Messaging Server 2005Q4 Messaging Multiplexor (MMP). The tuning information applies to the Sun Java System Messaging Multi-Plexor (MMP) software provided with the Java ES 4 (2005Q4) release (118207-56/118208-56 patch release or above).
  • Comms Single Host Deployment Example for Linux - Yes indeed, one of our more successful docs (by all reports) will now be available for the Linux platform as well, to help with what one reader described as the "opaque incantations" of the Comms install process. (And thanks go again to the same support engineer mentioned above for putting this together.)
  • Patch Information - I'll be using the Downloads > Updates tab on the Comms Suite BigAdmin Hub to post patch information for both Comms 5 and Comms 2005Q4.
I'll be sure to alert the Comms blogosphere when these items make their way live.

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


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