Shared-nothing synchronous storage replication with DRBD… for Zarafa!

Last Friday and Saturday I had the pleasure of presenting DRBD-based high availability at the 2008 Zarafa Summer Camp. What’s this Zarafa thing, you ask? Here’s a quick introduction.

Zarafa is a fully LAMP-based, drop-in replacement for Microsoft Exchange developed by a Delft, Netherlands-based company. Yes, that means that all those Windows desktop users out there can use their beloved Microsoft Outlook to connect to a full-fledged collaboration solution, including email, calendaring, contact management, a global address book, and task sharing. Using native MAPI. And the server components are 100% built on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. They even use an Embedded MySQL database for off-line storage and synchronization.

What’s particularly nice about the solution is that it has a pretty clean-cut modular architecture. The developers are really making a point of implementing just what they need — a central SOAP-based server instance, an MDA, a spooler, a POP3/IMAP gateway, a mobile synchronization agent — and using existing software for non-essential components: Postfix as the MTA, Apache and PHP for the central application components, OpenLDAP for centralized directory storage, MySQL with InnoDB as the back end database.

Myself with Steve Hardy (Zarafa), Jens Bollmann (Sun Microsystems) and Quinten Laureijs (Red Hat) during the panel discussion

Myself with Steve Hardy (Zarafa), Jens Bollmann (Sun Microsystems) and Quinten Laureijs (Red Hat) during the panel discussion.
Photo credit: Michel de Ron

Needless to say, DRBD/Heartbeat is a perfect addition to that stack. Full High Availability plus shared-nothing storage replication for any component — MySQL, Postfix, Apache, the Zarafa services proper, everything.

The Zarafa guys were nice enough to invite me for a 45-minute presentation, panel discussion covering various “multi-server” deployment options, and a 2 1/2 hour hands-on session with interested partners and customers. I had a blast. Dank u wel — graag tot volgende jaar!

I ought to state that Microsoft, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. Zarafa is a trademark of Zarafa (who would’ve guessed!). MySQL is a trademark of Sun Microsystems.

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