[Dovecot] Dovecot index, NFS, and multiple architectures

David Halik dhalik at jla.rutgers.edu
Wed Jun 18 21:12:19 EEST 2008

Hi all,

I crawled through the archives for a bit but didn't see anything 
helpful, so I apologize if this has already been addressed. We've been 
dying to move from Courier to Dovecot across our whole infrastructure 
for quite some time, but until recently our setup wasn't possible until 
this happened:

"Dovecot allows mailboxes and their indexes to be modified by multiple 
computers at the same time, while still performing well. This means that 
Dovecot works with NFS and clustered filesystems."

Now that NFS is officially supported, we figured why not make the 
switch. All of our mail touches NFS in some way, so we need to check on 
the stability before completely migrating. In test trials we're having 
issues with the NFS'd index becoming corrupted. Here's the setup:

* Linux workstations running Fedora 8/9 i386 and a locally called 
Dovecot 1.0.14
* NFS'd homedir with Maildir setup
* NFS is on Solaris 9 sparcv9 (64bit) running Dovecot 1.0.14

Now this setup is just a test example and not exactly what we'll be 
running in production, but it tipped up the problem either way. Since 
the index is shared by both the Linux i386 machine and the sparc64 
Solaris machine, if mail is accessed from both, lets say with Pine for 
example, the index becomes corrupted and breaks. As long as only one 
architecture only ever touches it there are no issues.

I'm assuming this is an endian issue, which would make the most sense. 
Is there a way around this with flags or server options? Is this 
something that has maybe been addressed in 1.1.0?

Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to move to Dovecot across all 
of our systems until this is no longer an issue. We run a lot of mixed 
environments that have everything from Linux i386/x86_64 to Solaris 9 64 
to Windows. If a user accesses IMAP from a Windows box, then logs into 
the front end which is a Linux x86_64 box and runs Pine,  and all of 
this is on a Solaris sparc NFS system, we're going to have serious 
issues with the index. ;)

Any help would be appreciated.

David Halik
System Administrator
OIT-CSS Rutgers University
dhalik at jla.rutgers.edu

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