Important Update on OpenSRS Mail Migration

- Monday, January 24, 2011

Update: Blog Post was edited at 3pm Monday Pacific Time with details on how 'Email Only' users can update their passwords

With the ongoing intermittent IMAP service issues, our engineers have been working over the weekend to speed up completion of all the work necessary for a migration from MailEnable to OpenSRS. We're hoping this will happen towards the end of this week. Here's an update on what's happened so far:

  • Completed implementation of our DNS migration tool. This tool will be responsible for making the correct MX record and A record modifications only for sites which use Business Catalyst mail hosting. Code review and testing is currently in progress.
  • Because OpenSRS uses a different password tokenization algorithm we've also had to make some modifications to our authentication layer so we're able to pass the correct password token to them when you login to the Admin Console. Code review is in progress, we will begin testing this tonight
  • As a consequence of the changes to the BC authentication layer, we also need to add a few UI changes to notify users of said changes when they login. This notice will also provide them with steps they should take to update their password. I have covered this point in more detail in below in my 'Customer Action Required' section
These modifications are not insignificant and it means we also need to prepare a medium sized release to push all of them out onto production servers so we can get the mail migration going. I would've liked to make all of this happen quicker but please remember we're dealing with critical infrastructure level components. Our team needs enough time to make sure everything is reviewed and tested thoroughly, to ensure the disruption is kept to a minimum for you and your clients.

Customer Action Required

So what do all these changes mean from a customers standpoint? After the release with the above-mentioned changes has been completed, the next time you or your clients' sign in to Business Catalyst you will be provided with a notice including instructions which will tell you to update your password.

This is because we need to generate a new password token for the OpenSRS mail service based on the new password you provide for us. We never stored raw passwords for security compliance so we were unable to generate a new token automatically. This will affect ALL users, not just users with BC hosted email as the authentication changes we made are system-wide. For sites with BC hosted email there's several extra points to take note of: (edited 3pm Monday Pacific Time)

  • If you are an 'Email Only' user, you will need to go to a special URL that we will provide where you can reset or change your password. You will need to enter your current email address, current password, new password and then confirm the new password before you can login to your new Webmail interface. The URL you need to go to will be provided on the new Webmail login interface that will continue to be accessed from 'mail.clientdomain.com'.
  • If you are a Site Administrator with 'Email Only' user accounts on your site you should pro-actively notify your users that they will need to go to a special URL to reset/change their passwords so they can login to their new new OpenSRS email account.
Even though we are providing system-wide 'Please Update Your Password' notices on login it's best if partners take steps to pre-warn their clients that they will need to change their passwords in the coming days using the information provided in this blog post.

Latest Migration Schedule

To be completely transparent about what is happening at BC, below is the latest tentative schedule for mail migration (all times are US Pacific):
  • Thursday (early AM) 27 January: Release DNS and Security related changes onto Production servers
  • Thursday (afternoon) 27 January: Provision all mail existing accounts with a new OpenSRS mailbox
  • Friday (early AM) 28 January: Switch DNS MX records for all sites from MailEnable to OpenSRS - at this point your mail will be redirected to your new mailbox. By 7:00AM, the DNS migration will be complete, you will be able to login to the new mail account after you have updated your password inside the Admin Console.
  • Friday (afternoon) 28 January: Start migrating existing mail across servers. Because we've had to accelerate this process we haven't had enough time to test and verify how long this will take. This will continue into the weekend and we y estimate it will take around 24 hours to move the mail across but could take anything up to 72 hours in the worst case

Throughout the week I'll be posting regular updates as we get closer to the Migration date especially if there are any changes, please watch out for these on the BC Blog. For on-going status updates, please also make sure you follow the bc_obnw Twitter account.

Thanks for reading,
Eddy Chan
Business Catalyst Product Manager
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