Friday Jul 12, 2013

Saving Time: Flip the Switch to Handle iMIP

Messaging Server 7 Update 5 and Calendar Server 7 Update 3 Combine to Process Calendar Invites

Dalí Clockface by Philippe Halsman, 1953

As with any new release of software, there may be new features that don't immediately jump out at you or that fly under the radar. So here's one that might fall into that case for the Communications Suite 7 Update 4 release: you can configure Messaging Server and Calendar Server to automatically process calendar invitations from "external" users. By "external," we mean users who reside either on a different Calendar Server deployment administered by a separate group, or on an outside calendaring system, such as Exchange, Google Calendar, and so on.

Technically, what we are talking about here is configuring Messaging Server to post a calendar event received in an iMIP (iCalendar Message-Based Interoperability Protocol) message to Calendar Server by using the iSchedule protocol. That way, users don't have to do any manual processing on the external calendar invite. The Calendar Server deployment automatically processes these invitations coming from external calendar systems, and to users, handling an external calendar invite then appears just like an calendar internal invite. Time saved, users more happy, what could be better than that?

See the following documentation for more of the techie details and procedures to set up your Messaging Server 7 Update 5 deployment:

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

Yo, Mule: That Stubborn and Strong Email

More evidence that email is in fact not dead. Key graph for me:

In one year, workers spend on average, the equivalent of 111 workdays dealing with email.  Most would like better search capabilities and document management features. There's a good business case for this: Just 10% increase in efficiency would buy back more than two workweeks per year per employee.

All the more reason to look at our Indexing and Search Service.

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.

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 can use the following flags to set the path to the configuration 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.


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.

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Email Phishing Casting Ever Longer Lines

Think Spam Has Gone Away? Guess Again.

Osterman has another well-written post up, this time about the enhanced phishing technique referred to as "longline phishing." The term comes from commercial longline fishing, in which "...a main line of up to several miles in length contains hundreds or thousands of short lines with hooks, each loaded with their own bait." Email longline phishing tries to accomplish something similar by using high volumes, highly customized messages, and  zero-day exploits that bypass existing anti-virus methodologies. As Osterman says:

"The genius behind the longline phishing attack is that a) volumes of any one message are extremely low, which makes recognition of these attacks difficult; b) overall volumes of messages received per potential victim are also low, often not triggering conventional anti-spam or anti-malware defenses; c) the attacks exploit vulnerabilities for which no defense is yet available; and d) botnets are used to distribute the attack across a wide range of sending IP addresses – one such attack, designed “Letter.htm” by Proofpoint, found in excess of 25,000 unique senders IPs in use."

Longline phishing is also particularly effective because "the perpetrators will compromise legitimate Web sites to distribute malware in order to gain higher clickthrough rates from potential victims."

Now, for you long-time savvy Unified Communications Suite administrators, this comes as no news. (Indeed, see my post from 2009: Email Phishing: Still a Big Problem.) But perhaps it has been a while since you have looked at your anti-spam setup and techniques, so as a reminder, I'll point you to the document, Protecting Against Spammers who Compromise Messaging Server User Accounts, for best practices on combating this issue.

And go read Osterman's entire article, it's worth it.

Bonus: I updated the Unified Communications Suite wiki tag cloud so that if you look under either antispam or spam, you can see at a glance all the related documentation on this topic.

Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Unified Communications Suite: Creating Custom Applications Using ENS

Choosing the Correct Event Notification Service Documentation

Recently we received an inquiry through the software forums about creating custom applications for Messaging Server dealing with message notifications. This started a conversation about the ENS documentation that I would like to clarify.

Sidebar: Event Notification Services, ENS, is the underlying publish-and-subscribe service available in Messaging Server. ENS provides a server and APIs for publishers and subscribers. A publisher makes an event available to the notification service. A subscriber tells the notification service that it wants to receive notifications of a specific event.

Going forward with Messaging Server 7 Update 4, you should be using the ENS C API as the simplest and most stable way to interact with events provided by Messaging Server. The ENS C API is documented in the Current Event Notification Service C API Reference page.

And so we come to a source of confusion. The documentation for the older style API is still available on the Communications Suite wiki, and so if you search for say, "ENS API," you are likely to find it. I would link to it, but I really don't want to send anyone there. Indeed, that page will be removed shortly so as to not cause confusion anymore. Just to reiterate, use the ENS C API as documented in Current Event Notification Service C API Reference.

I hope this helps move beyond the "clear as mud" situation that we sometimes find ourselves in.

Friday Feb 15, 2013

Oracle Communications Messaging Server: Managing Storage Requirements

Oracle Communications Messaging Server and Tiered Storage

For those of you who missed this great information that we published over a year ago, I highly recommend that you have a look: Messaging Server and Tiered Storage Overview. Even if you were aware of this content, it's worth reviewing again, not only for a recap of how the Messaging Server message store operates, but to understand store performance characteristics, and how to plan for and allocate store partitions across your storage devices. Whether you are an ISP or enterprise, this content is a must read.

Wednesday Feb 03, 2010

Communications Suite: Messaging Server Administration Guide Now All In on WSC

In the midst of all the recent news about Oracle and Sun, I'd like to mention that the Messaging Server Administration Guide is now completely converted and ported to We've created three ways to access this information:

  1. Alphabetically, by page name.
  2. Traditional book view, with the same chapter ordering that you are used to from
  3. Printable version, enabling you to generate a PDF version. (See below for instructions on generating a PDF version.)

Going forward, please use this wiki version. The original document on will no longer be updated. Note that these wiki versions also contain new product information since the introduction of Messaging Server 7, which the version does not contain.

 To print a wiki guide in PDF format:

  1. Log in to the Communications Suite wiki and navigate to Printable Docs.
    If you have never logged in before, see How to Contribute to the Communications Suite Wiki.
  2. Select one of the printable guides in the list.
  3. Click Tools in the upper right corner of the page.
  4. Click Export to PDF.
  5. Choose to display or save the file.

Friday Jan 08, 2010

Messaging Server: Updated dbhang script Available

Looks like the Sun GDD program has posted a new version of the useful dbhang script (version 3.8). Download it here.

If you aren't aware, dbhang collects all parts of the Sun Java System Messaging Server environment that are useful for debugging, such as log files, database, information platform information, and others.

Hat tip BigAdmin

Wednesday Oct 28, 2009

Messaging Server Does Lemonade

Lemonade refers to an IETF working group formed to address the requirements of supporting standards-based email in a mobile or other resource-constrained environment. A "resource-constrained" environment is one where any or all of the following might be encountered:

  • Low bandwidth, high latency networks
  • Intermittent network connectivity
  • Scarce power and compute cycles
  • Minimizing data usage is a goal

The Lemonade Profile (RFC 5550, defines a set of IMAP and SMTP extensions that address these constraints. Sun Java System Messaging Server implements the extensions defined in RFC 5550.

For more information on how Messaging Server supports Lemonade, see Messaging Server Lemonade Profile 1 Support.

Tuesday Oct 06, 2009

Email Phishing: Still a Big Problem

Hacked Email

The Messaging Server community certainly knows how to deal with this:

Friday Aug 21, 2009

Messaging Server 64-Bit Edition: Deserves Another Look

Last week, I drew attention to a new page of information available on the Communications Suite wiki, recommending that all Messaging Server installations go to the 64-Bit Edition. Today, I updated this page with some more data points that you might want to keep in mind. These points in no way detract from the recommendation, but they do round out the issue. Once more, here's the page: Why Using Messaging Server 64-bit Edition is Better

Peer Pressure

Yet another Messaging Server expert "caves" to the peer pressure of having a blog. Welcome aboard, Kelly!

Friday Aug 14, 2009

Messaging Server 64-Bit Edition: The Better Choice

Using Messaging Server 64-bit Edition

Beginning with the release of Messaging Server 6.3, on Solaris OS, you have had the choice to install the 64-bit version of Messaging Server. The Communications Suite Product team now recommends that you install 64-bit Edition for new installations on Solaris OS, and upgrade your existing Solaris OS 32-bit Messaging Server deployments to the 64-bit version as time permits. You should no longer be installing the 32-bit version of Messaging Server on Solaris OS.

Reasons to use or switch to Messaging Server 64-bit Edition include:


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


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