University of Vermont

Information Technology

UVM mail server upgrade to Dovecot underway

After a great deal of testing throughout this semester, SAA has begun conversion of the central IMAP server (imap.uvm.edu/pop.uvm.edu/webmail.uvm.edu) to Dovecot. This should be a mostly transparent conversion process. Indeed, some 16,000 accounts, or 31.1% of existing accounts have already been converted over the last few days. Users should not have to take any action upon conversion. At this time, there are two things that users may notice post-conversion. One is that accessing mail folders will be significantly faster; the server will index and cache the contents of folders, so that subsequent openings of a large mail folder becomes a less expensive operation. Two is that some old "lost" folders may reappear; they may appear as "Sent Mail.1", "Trash.1", or similar. These may have been "lost" due to some of a user's IMAP clients not specifying the "mail/" IMAP prefix, and saving folders in a different location not visible to clients that specified the proper folder prefix. Dovecot has been configured to ignore the "mail/" IMAP prefix, so that both settings act in the same way. In other words, after conversion, it is no longer necessary to specify the mail/ prefix. If a user does discover "extra" folders that appear post-conversion, simply open the folder and determine if any messages need to be saved; if not, delete the folder. One other item which is less apparent is that after conversion, all folders become multiaccess, meaning that no special steps need to be taken to allow simultaneous access to mail folders from multiple devices. This should also reduce the dreaded "hung imap" problem that users with multiple devices sometimes experience. The conversion will continue over the next couple of weeks; we expect to have the majority of accounts converted before the start of the summer session. If you have specific technical questions about this conversion, please write to saa@uvm.edu. If a user is experiencing problems with their UVM mail, be it through webmail.uvm.edu or using an IMAP client, please have them contact the UVM Computing Helpline at 656-2604.
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