8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2010 1:07 AM by haykong
Brian Guam Engineer Level 1 (25 points)
I've had a pretty unstable Snow Leopard server install since it was upgraded from Leopard a few months ago. Some of the problems were said to be hardware related, but I've been unable to migrate it to a different computer (Mac Mini).

The current installation is running, albeit poorly.

We had a Mac consultant involved in these issues, but he has proven to be unstable and unreliable as well - so we're on a search for a new consultant to give us some paid assistance in straightening this thing out.

We're not on the US mainland, but can make the server accessible by ARD and/or SSH to someone.

Someone with Apple certification would be preferred.

Intel iMacs, Mac Mini's, Macbook Pro, iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Strontium90 Level 4 (3,770 points)
    You might want to look here and reach out to a consultant that matches your needs: http://consultants.apple.com/

    As a (overly) certified consultant, I am sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience and truly apologize for a member of the fold not performing to your expectations.

    I will state that the only way to truly "fix" your problems may be to re-install the server from scratch. I generally frown of upgrades and there are a lot of reasons to fear a Leopard to Snow in place upgrade. While Apple works hard to make server "just work," the reality is that everything needs to be tweaked to "actually work." That being said, there is no way for Apple to predict and plan for all the possible customizations made outside the UI tools. Mail, AFP, DHCP, ssh, OD, and many more services often get "adjustments" outside of the UI tools and these adjustments may not translate well between version upgrades. Sadly, while nuke and pave may seem painful, in the end it saves time and ensures a clean OS base to function from.

    What is the summary of your issues and which services are you running? Based on your post, I doubt the forums will be able to completely solve your issues, but you never know.
  • Brian Guam Engineer Level 1 (25 points)
    Thanks for your concern.

    The only thing we're really running is IMAP and VPN. I had decided that install from scratch might be a better option - I did a new install on a new Mac Mini, and then running the migration tool attempted to start the new server from the old. All the settings looked to have come in, but the migration stalls on what I think is probably importation of old email archives (hard to tell, the screen gives little information).

    It's important to get the mail running again (the old server is accepting new mail, but all the old mail is unavailable but is obviously still there).

    Given our location, not on the mainland, the "consultants" list has been unhelpful.
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (13,985 points)
    I'd probably clean-install (again), would not migrate over the settings (given there's a corruption or three here), and would try to use one of the imap migration tools, and a manual configuration and reconfiguration and migration of key assets. One of these tools that's around is [imapsync|http://freshmeat.net/projects/imapsync>. (Bad hardware or failing disks means bad files, and bad files make for a flaky server, and the longer a flakey server runs, the weirder things get.)
  • haykong Level 1 (115 points)
    Hi Brian,

    I'm an IT consultant dealing with Mac OS Servers and Windows Servers as well as Linux. I can offer a few helpful suggestions since just recently I transferred data from a Mac OS 10.5.8 Server to a 10.6.2 Server.

    My first question to you is what data are you immigrating from? example 10.5.8 Server Data to 10.6.2 server?

    The reason why I ask this since IMAP data in 10.5.8 and before was using Cyrus and starting in 10.6 apple switched to Dovecot.

    Initially, I did not realized that apple made the switch and had stalling problems using the apple migration tool. (Personally I don't think the tool works well since a lot of others are running into this problem when researching this issue).

    In the end I decided it was best to important everything manually, mail and not use the apple immigration tool since I think it has some issues.

    The first thing I would do is make sure the DNS is configure right so that the server can resolve it's name which is very important.

    Hopefully you're been running Open Directory . Export the users from the old server and import it to the new 10.6.2 server.

    Next transfer the IMAP mail from 10.5.8 server to the 10.6 server to the same locations.

    Example in 10.5.8 server default location is


    note this is where cyrus stored imap data in 10.5.x and maybe before. I have to look at my old 10.4 server since I'll be upgrade my own server soon.

    My clients Servers have been upgrade fine by doing the manual method.


    keep those two locations in mind of where you mail is stored.

    next I would copy your old cyrus mail to the new server. Don't use the migration tool at all. Just setup the new server and get the DNS running so it can resolve itself before you do this.

    also make sure mail server is not running and it's off.

    open up a terminal window

    copy and paste this but change the name of the volume/hard drive name (HD_name)

    sudo /usr/libexec/dovecot/migratemaildata.pl --cyrusBin "/Volumes/HD_name/usr/bin/cyrus/bin" --database "/Volumes/HD_name/var/imap" --sourceSpool "/Volumes/HD_name/var/spool/imap" --targetSpool "/var/spool/imap/dovecot/mail"

    ok do this will convert all of your cyrus mail to dovecot. Make sure you've already imported the users from Open Directory before doing this script.

    after all of this

    there's still one more step

    for some reason the postfix "main.cf" file is configured to use cyrus in 10.6.2 update.


    you can use the pico editor if you like.


    type in at terminal window

    sudo pico /etc/postfix/main.cf

    it should be near the end of the file

    don't bother with anything that's in # which is ignored.

    look for

    mailbox_transport = cyrus

    then change it to

    mailbox_transport = dovecot

    save the changes

    edit settings in the mail server with server admin to what you had... I recommend don't importing the mail settings from the old server admin since some people reported that its better just to manually configure it.

    however for other server admin settings you might try to export and import to the new server.

    If you have any questions just let me know and I'm glad to help the mac community.
  • haykong Level 1 (115 points)
    oh brian one more question

    what problems were you having with your old server? was it crashing? freezing? what were the issues?
  • pterobyte Level 6 (10,910 points)
    The current installation is running, albeit poorly.

    Could you maybe elaborate on the actual issues you are experiencing?

    Also, if I understood correctly, you have already migrated from 10.5 and are looking into transferring a "limping" 10.6 installation to a new 10.6 setup? If yes, and since you only need mail and VPN, the simplest way is to do a clean installation on 10.6 then setup VPN and Mail services from scratch and finally copy over the mail stores. Before starting mail on the new server, you should delete the dovecot index files.

  • Brian Guam Engineer Level 1 (25 points)
    Open directory error messages (corrupted database) etc are the main issues. Also the mail database has account names both of the users names, as well as long number & letter names. I don't know what these are, however they show to be very large so they must be something. . .perhaps they need to be merged?

    The person who originally migrated our working-fine Leopard Server to Snow Leopard I don't think did the proper things, and we've been having problems ever since.

    I've done a clean install on a new computer of 10.6, and done the minimum of setup just to get it to the accessible stage. It isn't currently online of course. I don't want to attempt to import ANY settings, just the old email which is sitting on a firewire drive that is a Superduper clone of the server. So the mail is in there somewhere.

    There are only a handful of accounts that need to be recreated, so I'm not fussed about that.

    The server is sitting behind a DSL modem, with all the accesses pointing to it. I DO need to have DNS and DHCP running on the server as well.

    I've read the manual migration instructions but cannot, from these, figure out the procedure to import the old mail database files into the newly-created server. Any assistance on this particular task would be appreciated.
  • haykong Level 1 (115 points)
    question is was there any new email generated with the 10.6 server that was unstable? If so have you considered at least going back to the 10.5 server and do an archive the users in Open Directory?

    Basically start from scratch 10.6.2 server and import the OD archive manually from the 10.5 server and see if if there are any OD errors..

    as for the long numbers and letters... that's normal for dovecot mail database since it's suppose to corresponds to UID numbers.

    Ok so what mail do you actually have? the 10.5 cyrus mail or the 10.6 dovecot mail? or both at this point?

    was there any new email generated when you used the unstable 10.6? if not... why not go back to the 10.5 mail...

    as I have explained cyrus in 10.5 stored it in


    if you can't find it then I guess you need to download tinkertool and have it show hidden files.

    Personally I would go back to the files in 10.5 server since I don't know what the other person did.

    Anyway, first thing which you need to get running fine is the DNS so the server can resolve itself or other services won't run fine. If you have questions on that ask me.

    2) by any change you have access to the 10.5 server ? can you do an export of the OD database and archive it?
    anyway you need to have OD running with all users the same UID as before because this will effect dovecot mail.
    make sure you have OD running fine before attempting mail imports
    3) once OD is running fine then yeah you can manual import the mail .. hopefully pull it from the 10.5 server....
    ok if you don't have access to the data back in 10.5.. then ok use 10.6...
    mail database in dovecot
    is /var/spool/imap/dovecot

    hope this helps.. but first step DNS correct...then get hold of OD archive and make sure that is running fine.. before dealing with mail...