Another day, another problem



  •  I am "blessed" with one of those bosses that keeps making "improvements" to our systems, after which I have to go pick up the pieces. The latest improvement was the installation of Zimbra to a couple of our servers.

    Zimbra is a crm of sorts whose ultimate goal is to rule the world. It comes with its own LDAP server, mail transfer agent, etc, etc. All it needs is a kernel and you'll have a new OS. Now this might not be a bad thing if you're looking for that sort of thing, but as it stands we already have exotic things like an MTA (postfix) which poses a problem.

    Apparently my boss discovered Zimbra and was all too happy to install it on live servers. Of course you can't have two MTAs listening on the same port, so my boss did the only reasonable thing. He disabled the original postfix. So now any bash scripts using sendmail don't work. Our PHP printer management program can't notify anyone about their account balance. And anything else on the server that doesn't specifically use the smtp port to send email is screwed.

     So I have a word with my boss about this and things take their usual course which goes as such: the boss says he'll fix it. Weeks go by and nothing happens. I ask again and get the same answer. Nothing happens. I pester him for weeks until he gives up and.... tells me to do it. Gee, thanks the fuck a lot.

    I stop my work and pretend to be an administrator by mucking about in postfix's config files, until I get it to work on a different port and redirect everything to Zimbra's postfix. All's well that ends well, you're thinking. Oh, no, that was just the prologue.

    I report to the boss that everything works which makes him very happy. "But we didn't solve the problem" he says.

    "Huh?"

    "Well, our programs should be able to work whether our MTA works or not. What if we had to send email directly to the smtp server on another system" 

    "You realise that I'd have to change the settings on each and every program/script we have that sends email, right?" 

    "Well, you just need to have a central location where all the programs get the smtp information." 

    "So you want me to modify all our bash, php, java and god knows what else programs to all look at a central file to find out how to send email?" 

    "Yes" 

    How about we just configure the fucking MTA instead so everyone's default settings will work? 

     

     



  • Classic.  Let's eliminate the single point of failure by chaining it to a second point of failure.



  • You shouldn't have to do much of anything to make this work, just modify the postfix config so that the sendmail binary sends to a remote SMTP server instead of a local one.  Easy. 



  • @DOA said:

    I have a word with my boss about this and things take their usual course which goes as such: the boss says he'll fix it. Weeks go by and nothing happens. I ask again and get the same answer. Nothing happens. I pester him for weeks until he gives up and.... tells me to do it. Gee, thanks the fuck a lot.
    Shortcut the process next time, and ask him for permission to fix it right off the bat.

    "Hey, boss, you fucked up.  Mind if I fix it?"

    Probably coulda saved yourself a month of downtime.



  • @merreborn said:

    @DOA said:

    I have a word with my boss about this and things take their usual course which goes as such: the boss says he'll fix it. Weeks go by and nothing happens. I ask again and get the same answer. Nothing happens. I pester him for weeks until he gives up and.... tells me to do it. Gee, thanks the fuck a lot.
    Shortcut the process next time, and ask him for permission to fix it right off the bat.

    "Hey, boss, you fucked up.  Mind if I fix it?"

    "No, don't worry about it. I'll have it fixed in a day."



  • What about whipping up a vserver (xen, ...) container and sandboxing that Zimbra crap inside?

    You can then toss it incoming connections on whatever IPs/ports you want.



  •  @KiloByte said:

    What about whipping up a vserver (xen, ...) container and sandboxing that Zimbra crap inside?

    You can then toss it incoming connections on whatever IPs/ports you want.

    I suppose there's a range of solutions, but what I'm trying to avoid here is having to do admin work to fix other people's screwups. I'd much rather do my own job which is software development instead of going through man pages and config files.


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