IMAP Server Issue with Domino 8.5 Hotfixed

For those who don’t know, I upgraded all of my company’s servers to Domino 8.5 the week following Lotusphere. We had it in testing since it’s release (actually since betas) and didn’t really find any bugs, so we made the change. Everything went smoothly, until about three weeks later. At that point, our main mail server here in Chicago started crashing. The IMAP task was bombing while someone was connecting to it via an iPhone and/or MacMail. It didn’t just hose IMAP, it crashed the whole Domino server. So, I snagged the NSDs and opened an ticket with Lotus. They admitted it was a bug and started working on it.

Two other servers exhibited similar behavior with iPhones hitting mail via IMAP. One cleaned up immediately by upgrading the mail template to the 8.5 template. The other one however was interesting. It started crashing at about 9PM one night, and crashed the server 70 times in a row. Yes, SEVENTY times.

Now, I’m a moron here. First, I should make sure I’m notified of these things on my cell phone. I get alerts on almost all servers but this one. This one is in a city with a network admin who gets the alerts. I figured that if his mail server kept crashing and restarting itself that he might, oh, I dunno, CALL ME. But alas, he did not. The bright side of things is this. Domino is really resilient! It will keep coming back after you knock it down. So I found that kind of reassuring in a weird way. Basically it would crash and restart Domino twice and then the third time it would reboot the box, bring Domino back up, and then start the process again.

So anyway, I turned off IMAP and found the crashes were tied to one database, and that person had turned on IMAP via their iPhone. That’s when the fun began. So I had about 50 crash reports (20 more were truncated so I didn’t bother) and I zipped them all up and sent them in. But at that point, IBM contacted me to tell me they had finished a hotfix the night before and it was available. WOO HOO!

So I put it in, and since then no issues. This bug was really bizarre. It seemed to happen when a MIME corruption occurred in the mail file being hit via IMAP. Now I have tons of users hitting via IMAP, and only a handful of user mail files caused the crashes, so it made it really hard to re-create. Big kudos to the Lotus Support team for jumping on this and getting me a hotfix so quickly. I can now breathe a little easier, and my four day weekend went off without a hitch.

So I still heartily recommend Domino 8.5, but be aware that the current version does have the IMAP bug. If you have IMAP and iPhone users, you’ll want to wait for 8.5.1 or get ahold of Lotus support and see if you can get the hotfix. And this makes me want the ActiveSync version of Traveler all the more!