DH Admins: Mail Server Monitoring Redux


#1

Admins:

It’d be great if you guys would notify us of specific changes in software before you make them.

That would keep my phone from going nuts due to a change in the response string seen by my server monitoring software.

You apparently changed the POP software you were using, and although I’m smart enough not to have my monitor look for a specific version number, I do have it look for specific phrases like, e.g. “+OK Cubic Circle”.or just “Cubic Circle”

Unfortunately, the words “+OK QPOP” are now there instead.

I’m only asking for a specific warning saying which server will be affected, and when, so I can turn off monitoring until I can determine what the new string is.

And BTW-- The announcement you sent out the other day is following in your grand tradition of vagueness. You said, “We will be working on your mailserver.”

Thanks for the note, but… Which one? I have accounts on at least two DH mail servers.

Once again, kids, please intone with me the mantra:

“Clarity, clarity, clarity.”

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…I think you get the picture.

…Bob


#2

Sorry about following up my own post, but, as old Uncle Ronny would say…

“Well, there you go again.”

It seems that without notice, you’ve changed those machines back from QPOP to CuciPop.

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I’ve narrowed the required response string down to “+OK” now, although I suppose that’ll change, too…

And I take it this was done today, in the middle of the afternoon. Have you ever considered taking servers down for maintenence at night, the way other hosts do it? That would be ever so nice!

I appreciate the fact that you’re actively trying to keep things working well, but a little warning (and a little timing) goes a long way.

Thanks.

…Bob


#3

And I take it this was done today, in the middle of the afternoon. Have you ever considered taking servers down for maintenence at night, the way other hosts do it? That would be ever so nice!

We usually do that, as the lines under the eyes of our system admins would attest to. I’m not sure why they decided to switch things around right now.

I’ll pass your comments back to our admin team, though.

  • Jeff @ DreamHost
  • DH Discussion Forum Admin

#4

Thanks, Jeff!

…Bob


#5

I believe that switching to qpopper (briefly) was not intentional. Looking for stuff that’s specific to the POP3 protocol would be a good idea since that’s definitely not likely to change. In fact, you might wish to send a POP command such as ‘USER’ and vertify the response to this. We don’t make any guarantees that we won’t change the POP daemon (or any other daemon) without notification - especially since this isn’t the sort of thing that affects the actual operation of POP itself.

We usually use Cubic Circle now since it’s faster and keeps the load a lot lower on our mail machines.


#6

will wrote:

[quote]I believe that switching to qpopper (briefly) was not intentional.

[/quote]

“Not intentional”? In other words, a hacker did it?

[quote]Looking
for stuff that’s specific to the POP3 protocol would be a good idea since
that’s definitely not likely to change.

[/quote]

Yeah, we’ve already discussed that here. I now only listen for “+OK” to keep unannounced software changes from making my phone beep for a half hour at a time.

[quote]In fact, you might wish to send a
POP command such as ‘USER’ and vertify the response to this.

[/quote]

Can’t. The monitoring software only listens.

[quote]We don’t make
any guarantees that we won’t change the POP daemon (or any other daemon)
without notification - especially since this isn’t the sort of thing that
affects the actual operation of POP itself.

[/quote]

Thanks for the warning about giving no warnings…

But as I’ve said before, I’d like to see the level of communication rise here. Silence doesn’t help anyone, and it only takes a few seconds to send an email that says what’s going on.

Not to rub your nose in it, but that’s what I’m used to with (at least some) other companies: anytime a change is to be made or there’s a problem with the system, a notification is sent out with specifics. Time, date, what’s to be done, what specific servers/routers/IP blocks/POPs are to affected, for how long, etc.

When I know what’s going on, I can tell my clients what’s going on… That’s how I get to keep them as clients.

[quote]We usually use Cubic Circle now since it’s faster and keeps the load a lot
lower on our mail machines.

[/quote]

Sounds good to me!

Thanks…

…Bob


#7

No - unintentional as in accidental. No “hackers” (ie crackers) were responsible. We try to announce changes that are planned and that affect the performance of our services. In this case, changing the POP server has no effect on anyone trying to retrieve mail, so it’s pretty much irrelevant. If your mail had stopped working suddenly as a result, I’d consider that a cause for concern.

We monitor all of our services 24/7 with our own automated monitoring system, so we’re generally aware when services go down or are not functioning properly.


#8

will wrote:

[quote]No - unintentional as in accidental. No “hackers” (ie crackers) were
responsible.

[/quote]

Will-- That was a joke. It had a “” after it.

Has anyone ever told you that you’re very literal?

[quote]We try to announce changes that are planned and that affect
the performance of our services. In this case, changing the POP server has
no effect on anyone trying to retrieve mail, so it’s pretty much
irrelevant.

[/quote]

“Irrelevant”? Try telling that to the people I’m having ameeting with when my phone starts beeping non-stop for a half hour.

[quote]If your mail had stopped working suddenly as a result, I’d
consider that a cause for concern.

[/quote]

Will, I have come to understand that the response I get from you will generally be different from the one I get from anyone else at Dreamhost.

Whereas everyone else I’ve dealt with at DH offers a stympathetic ear and promises to look into things and take varying situations into consideration, you tend to pooh-pooh the user’s comments, maintaining that DH, and only DH is qualified to know what is best for the user.

I have seen you do this repeatedly with other users. And a quick comparison of your posts to someone like Jeff’s will bear this out.

I suggest you re-evaluate your personal approach to customer service.

[quote]We monitor all of our services 24/7 with our own automated monitoring
system, so we’re generally aware when services go down or are not
functioning properly.

[/quote]

Again, see above.

You seem to feel that you’re the only person who knows what “properly” is.

I hate to say this, but since I came to DH, I’ve been forced to gripe more than I ever had to at previous hosts. The biggest problem is communication, which directly relates to other problems as they occur.

You seem to think that DH should communicate with its users only when DH is in the mood. Unfortunately, that ain’t good enough.

When things are running smoothly at a host, I am the lowest of low-maintenance clients. Never a sound is heard from my keyboard.

But when there’s something that’s easy to be fixed, and should be fixed – like the severe lack of communication – then I’m going to mention it.

But, knowing you, you’ll probably just write me off as some sort of malcontent, and insist that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

…Bob