Friday Mar 23, 2007

Comms Suite 5: Get the New Software (Correct Link)

Okay, we messed up a bit. I didn't get that there was a NEW download site in the works for the Comms Suite 5 bits. Here it is:

Thanks to those letting me know in the comments section that I was still pointing to the 2005Q4 download site on the Comms Hub. That's being fixed right now too. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday Mar 16, 2007

Communications Suite 5 and Java ES: The Parting of the Ways

Just a heads-up about the forthcoming Communications Suite 5 release, in case you've missed it: Comms in no longer part of Java ES. So, all the Comms Suite 5 products--Messaging Server 6.3, Calendar Server 6.3, Instant Messaging 7.2--aren't part of the Java ES 5 bundle, and they won't be part of a Java ES bundle going forward. You'll download a separate Comms software bundle now, once we make it available. In addition, there will be separate Comms Install and Upgrade Guides. In the past, this information was included in the Java ES docs.

Here's the official statement that will appear in the docs:

Change in Availability of Communications Suite Products

Beginning with this release of Communications Suite 5, communications products are being removed from the Sun Java Enterprise System entitlement. Communications products are available as part of the Communications Suite or as individual products. Communications products will no longer be installed through the Java Enterprise System installer. Communications product components continue to interoperate with Java Enterprise System components.

This change in entitlement does not affect the communications products in Java Enterprise System 2005Q4. If you have communication products installed, no change will occur to your entitlement.

Thursday Mar 15, 2007

Communications Suite 5 Q&A: Access Manager, Delegated Admin, and Schema

There continues to be a fair amount of confusion (or miscommunication on our part) around Access Manager, Delegated Administrator, and schema choice. And the same confusion potentially could exist when it comes to deploying Comms Suite 5. So, here in a nutshell, are what I think are the basic questions and answers surrounding these products. I'll try and keep track of these issues going forward and continue to post them.

  1. In Communications Suite 5, does Delegated Administrator 6.4 still require you to deploy Access Manager?
    Yes, Delegated Administrator 6.4 still requires you to deploy Access Manager.
  2. In Communications Suite 5, does Communications Express 6.3 require you to deploy Access Manager?
    Starting with the Communications Suite 5 release, this dependency on Access Manager for Schema 2 has been removed.

    In previous releases, Communications Express used the following APIs and libraries to establish connections and fetch information from an LDAP store:

    • Domain MAP API (which a part of Communications Express) if Communications Express was deployed using Schema 1 mode.
    • Access Manager SDK if Communications Express was deployed using Schema 2

    This made Communications Express dependent on Access Manager in Schema 2 mode even though Access Manager is not mandatory for it to work apart from just connecting and fetching information from the LDAP store.

  3. When do I need to deploy Schema 2? Do I only need Schema 2 in an Access Manager/Delegated Administrator situation?
    Delegated Administrator currently supports only Schema 2. Other situations requiring Schema 2 include integration with Portal Server, and with Access Manager (for SSO).
For more information on these topics, see my previous entry.

Wednesday Mar 14, 2007

Communications Suite 5 Doc Leak: Installing on a Single Host

I know we're not shipping Communications Suite 5 until March 23, but you can go ahead and grab a copy of single host deployment example now:

This deployment example describes how to install Sun Java Communications Suite 5 software on one 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.

Now all you have to do is wait for the bits.

Update In the past, this example has documented how to install the Communications Channels (portlets) provided by our Portal Server product. That's a thing of the past. Looks like Portal is no longer providing these specific Comms Channels anymore, though the 'capability' to deploy these channels still exists. Heads-up to those of you who have used this out-of-the-box functionality in previous releases.

Friday Mar 09, 2007

Comms Suite 5: The Long Wait Is Over

Good news for those of you who have been waiting, ahem, a bit longer than you initially thought: Communications Suite 5 will be available March 23, 2007.

If you haven't seen my previous posts on what's new in this upcoming release, here they are:

Friday Mar 02, 2007

Communications Suite: Drat that winmail.dat

Q. My Communications Express users are getting winmail.dat attachments to email received from sender's on Microsoft Exchange. Is this a Communications Express issue?

A. No, the Microsoft Exchange server needs to be properly configured. For more information, see:

How to Prevent the Winmail.dat File from Being Sent to Internet Users

(It's always nicer when the problem is another vendor's.)

Wednesday Feb 28, 2007

Communications Suite Users - Check out Jhawk's Blog

Heads up: Jonathon Hawkins, Sun Unified Communications Architect, has some great new posts up on his blog, including:

  • Directory Scalability at Telcoms
  • Communication Express: Authentications Between Components
  • Communications Express Deployments in 6.3

Friday Feb 16, 2007

Communications Suite - Suggestion Box

My email server was down from around 6pm last night until noon today (sendmail, not Messaging Server), and once back up, I decided to do some cleanup on my--ahem!--out of control inbox. (Afterall, a smaller inbox WILL help in times of system recovery.)

In the process of my cleanup, I came across an email thread that I thought I'd post, to see if the Comms Community cares to discuss. The topic: What information pertaining to Comms could we (Sun) provide more in-depth training/knowledge coverage on? Here are the responses. Granted, I'm only one tech writer on Comms, but the more feedback I can gather on issues such as this, the better off I can come to my SMEs and try and argue for what the customer needs. (Note: I believe this was initially a "training" request, but from where I sit, waiting for training courses to come out (no offense to our training coordinators and developers) takes too long to address the info/knowledge gaps.)

Messaging Server:

  • Practice with channel rewriting, including:
    • Special channel for outbound mail to a problematic host
    • Secure submission channels
  • How to use aliasdetourhost
General Comms Topics
  • Migrating events out of Microsoft Exchange and into Comms
  • Co-existence with Microsoft Exchange
  • Supporting large deployments of Connector for Outlook
  • Synchronizing with PDAs
  • Use of Non-Comms Express clients with Comms
  • Sizing Workshop
  • Sieve Topics
    • Vacation filters
    • System wide filters
    • Channel filters
    • Options/commands available in the Sieve scripts

Just for grins, I took a look at what some of us have been discussing about general Comms topics we "think" we should be working on in terms of Comms training/knowledge enhancement:

  • Deployment Architecture and Planning
  • Installation & Deployment Strategies
  • Planning Single Sign-On (Access Manager, Messaging SSO, Hybrid SSO)
  • Securing your Internet MTA
  • Customizing UWC
  • Migrations from Messaging Express to Comms Express
  • Deployments in Solaris 10 Zones
  • Automating Installations / Configurations for Production Deployments
  • Tuning UWC (incl. Solaris 10 DTrace and JVM Tuning)
  • Troubleshooting UWC (incl. Outlook, Calendar, Access Mgr, Directory & Messaging)
  • Transitioning Deployment Architectures to Comms Suite v5 (next release)

Now, for more data points. I did an internal survey of our field/engagement forces a few months back, with the same question, and got these responses:

  • Messaging Server Best Practices Guide
  • Configuring Communications Suite for SSL
  • Sizing a Communications Suite 25K User Deployment, including Communications Express
  • Initial Patch Levels for all Communications Suite Products (by release)
  • Gathering Debug Data for Messaging Server (data a customer needs to collect before calling Support)
  • Calendar Coexistence Using SyncML/Synchronica
  • Messaging Server Benchmark Data
  • Best Practices for Backup Up Lots of Data
  • Deployment Example: Comms Suite on T1000/T2000 and Solaris Zones
  • Deployment Example: Comms Suite in a Two-tiered Architecture

In an ideal world, we'd be working on all these topics, but unfortunately, we have to prioritize them and assign what resources we have accordingly. The good news is, some of these topics have already been addressed, or are in the process of getting addressed by documentation. Now that I have this list assembled and am looking at it in its entirety, I see that another post is in order to recap where we're at, and where we hope to go. Stay tuned for details.

And as always, drop a line if you have any suggestions on what docs/information you'd like to see us work on.

Monday Feb 12, 2007

Communications Express Browser Support

With the proliferation of browsers and versions of specific browsers, it's only natural that we get the question, and quite often, which browsers does Communications Express support? As always, start with the Release Notes to find out. For the current version, that is, Communications Express 6 2005Q4, the "supported" browsers are Netscape 7.2, IE 6.0 SP2 or later 6.x version, and Mozilla 1.4.

Though this is the "officially supported" browser list, we are always working to certify the most commonly used browsers over time.

Thursday Feb 01, 2007

Communications Suite Products and DST: Daylight Saving Time Changes (2007)

I'm sure most of you are following this:

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that US DST will start on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. In 2007, the start and stop dates will be March 11 and November 4, respectively. These dates are different from previous DST start and stop dates. In 2006, the dates were the first Sunday in April (April 2, 2006) and the last Sunday in October (October 29, 2006).

In case you want to know how this affects the Communications Suite products, here's the link:

Communications Suite Documentation: Coming Attractions

Never a dull moment here in Comms Suite docs. That is, there is never any downtime, I'm always getting new requests for information deliverables. So, here's a quick update on what's in the pipeline:

  • Tech Note: Using Sun StorageTek 53xx NAS with Messaging Server Message Store
    This technical note describes how to configure the Sun StorageTek 53xx NAS for use with Sun Java System Messaging Server. (Basically, you now have two options for NAS: NetApp and Sun StorageTek.)
  • Tech Note: Using ZFS with Messaging Server Message Store
    I'm told this is a hot item right now, so we're going to try and get this out ASAP.
  • Case Study: Migrating From Critical Path to Sun Java Communications Suite
    This case study describes a real-world migration from the Critical Path email system to Sun Java Communications Suite, which includes Sun Java System Messaging Server and Sun Java System Directory Server. This case study highlights the use of the Sun Groupware Migration Toolkit and Sun Groupware Migration Methodology in migrating 1.5 million Critical Path mailboxes to the Sun platform in a project that took just four months to complete.
  • BigAdmin Tech Tip: Receiving a Daily Summary of Sun Java System Calendar Server Events and Tasks by Email
    This tech tip describes how to provide your Sun Java System Calendar Server users with a daily summary of their Sun Java System Calendar Server events and tasks, emailed to their inbox or mobile device each weekday morning. You do this by creating a Bourne shell script,, which uses Web Calendar Access Protocol (WCAP) commands. On a daily basis, this script finds all events and tasks from your users' calendars then emails them to the individual users. (Note: This is ready to be published, we're just fine tuning the script.)
  • Technical Note: Troubleshooting Sun Java System Messaging Server Message Queues
    This technical note describes how to troubleshoot the Sun Java System Messaging Server MTA, specifically message build-up in channels, including the TCP channels (tcp_local and tcp_intranet) and ims-ms channel. (I'm waiting for my SME to sign off on this one.)

As usual, I hope the Comms Suite community finds this kind of information useful and pertinent, and if you have any suggestions or doc needs, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.

Tuesday Jan 30, 2007

Wanted: A Few Good Communications Suite Examples

We in documentation hear what customers want: more examples. Communications Suite examples, especially for deployment, are unfortunately far and few between. Good news is that I'm updating the single-host deployment example for the upcoming Communications Suite 5 release.

And more good news: the document itself is shrinking by a number of pages. Does this mean that the Comms Suite stack (along with the Java ES components it requires) is getting easier to install? Well, maybe. Some changes in the Communications Suite 5 release that are reflected in this doc include:

  • Portal Server is no longer installed. (That alone probably accounts for the page reduction I mentioned above.)
  • Solaris Operating System (OS) 10 is used.
  • Hosted domains are now configured.
  • Proxy auth is now the way that Single Sign-On is accomplished. As a result, Access Manager is no longer required for Communications Express and there are fewer configuration settings that you have to enter. (Sigh of relief there.)

I should have this document ready at release time, unlike in the past, where we had some lag time between getting the release bits installed to be able to test the doc and get it out.

BTW, if you are looking for current Communications Suite (aka Communications Services) examples, check them out here:

Monday Jan 22, 2007

Documentation Funhouse - Finding Communications Suite Docs on d.s.c.

Okay, over the weekend the site underwent some changes. If you're having problems finding the Communications Suite (Messaging Server, Calendar Server, Instant Messaging) doc collections, you are not alone. They have been relocated. Here are your choices to get the docs in this new taxonomy:

  1. Use the Communications Suite Hub Library tab. The way I've set up the doc links is to use the underlying IDs that should not change, regardless of what structure gets set up on d.s.c.
  2. Navigate the new d.s.c. tree as follows:

    - Click the Sun Java Enterprise System link on the front page.

    - Click the Collaboration and Communication link.

    - Click the appropriate product collection.

  3. Use the following new links to go directly to the appropriate product collections:

    - Messaging Server:

    - Calendar Server:

    - Instant Messaging:

Communications Suite - Overlooking the Obvious?

I get lots of email concerning all kinds of aspects of our Communications Suite products. As a writer, part of my job is to sift and dig through this constant heaping of information, and ultimately help determine what to do with it.

Here's a quick grab bag of facts that seemed perhaps obvious and then again, perhaps not. If we had a Frequently Asked Questions document, this is where I would locate such information. (Note: I am investigating a means to do this on a Sun external site, such that the FAQ would be editable by anyone. Stay tuned for details.)

PDA Access to Communications Express?

You need Sun Java System Communications Sync, which syncs PalmOS and Windows Mobile 5.0 PDAs to Sun calendar and contacts.

Communications Express Without Access Manager?

It's a current requirement, when running Communications Express 6 2005Q4 to have to use Schema 2 and Access Manager. The Access Manager requirement is evidentally removed in the upcoming release (Communications Suite 5, Communications Express 6.3). The Communications Express 6.3 Administration Guide will have the details.

Will a New Messaging Server 6.x MTA Function with a 5.2 Message Store?

It depends on your setup. You cannot mix Messaging Store 5.2 store executables with 6.x MTA executables. However, you may deploy a 6.x MTA running on one host delivering mail to a 5.2 Message Store running on another host. In such a deployment, you'll also need a 5.2 MTA on the store machine because LMTP isn't supported in Messaging Server 5.2, but such a setup will function.

ACLs Missing from Messaging Server 5.2 imsbackup?

The imsbackup utility in Messaging Server 5.2 does not back up the ACLs. This is a known issue. Unfortunately, this could impact maibox migrations. As a workaround, you can get the ACL list from the old store with the following command:

mboxutil -l -p pattern -x

then set it with readership -s after the migration.

Adding New Spelling Dictionaries to Communications Express?

The dictionaries in Communications Express are from ispell, which can be downloaded here:

See the Communications Express Customization Guide for details on installing the new dictionaries.

Calendar Server: Linux or x86 Front-end with a Solaris SPARC Back-end?

Beginning with Calendar Server 6.3, mixing different architectures for front-end and back-end machines is now supported. The hardware platforms no longer must be the same on each end. The big-endian vs.small-endian incompatibility no longer applies and you can now use both an x86 platform machine and a SPARC platform machine in the same Calendar Server deployment containing front-end and back-end machines. You can also mix Linux and Solaris x86 systems for front-end and back-end machines.

2007 Predictions in the Mobility Market

Interesting predictions for 2007 on mobile email and backup/restore from Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte:


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


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