Major Server Upgrade

My hosting company Open Hosting Inc. or OHI said the server I’ve been running on for about eight years is SO old that they would really rather not support it, and they gave me monetary incentives to upgrade. OHI has these new-fangled cloud hosting server farms that appear to be much more efficient and configurable than the old Virtual Private Server (VPS) technology I’ve been using. So, after about eight years of relative hands-off bliss, I started moving to about a month ago. Most packages ported easily except for my life’s blood: email. That was a bitch.

The reasons for upgrading to Cloud Servers are fairly obvious. An administrator can do the following.

  • Install a variety of distributions as the guest OS. I chose Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which is what I run at home for development and testing. The “old” server ran a pre-built version of CentOS 5.6, which is getting very old.
  • Configure RAM, CPU and Disk capacities. Disk is cheap. RAM and CPU are more expensive but make an appreciable difference in performance.
  • Create better firewall and overall security support.
  • Achieve higher performance by using the hardware virtual support more efficiently
  • Upgrade packages, even an entire guest OS, more easily.

So…. I’m in the process of switching. Which isn’t that easy to do after eight years. All my packages are really old. WordPress – old, Plone CMS – old, Issue Tracking – old, Apache – really old. These were all mildly difficult to upgrade and run, but not overwhelming. In fact, after converting these on the new server I was fairly positive about the upgrade experience. This will be easy. That was a couple weeks ago.

And then I started looking at email, which I need daily – almost hourly. I was using sendmail/dovecot with authentication and a public certificate for TLS encryption. But when I started looking at installing a more recent version of sendmail and dovecot, the configuration has changed dramatically. Furthermore, sendmail is really old and not the mail package of choice anymore. Ubuntu prefers postfix/dovecot and even has a mail-stack-delivery package to start configuring it. And, while I’m doing this, I might as well convert from POP3 to IMAP2. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

IMAP is very nice but a lot different than POP3. I spent a good bit of time reviewing the various IMAP RFC’s and using telnet to test IMAP commands.

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