Point and Click ‘experts’

I’ve been resisting blogging this piece for about two months, but it bugs me so I’ve given in.

I’ve been working with somebody who hasn’t upgraded their mail server for a while now and they have been using a well known local company (which I will not be naming or identifying in any way). Sadly I am only involved on the domain side of things and not the implementation. Thankfully for the end users I know enough about their setup to save them from the ‘experts’ doing the work.

The first thing to do was install a new ADSL line ready for the shiny new Exchange server. The first I was aware of this was a request to point the MX record at the IP of the new ADSL connection. I almost did this on the assumption of some degree of technical competence, and more significantly the assumption that they had installed the new server they were talking about. I wasn’t completely convinced though, so double checked. The new server was not installed, and they knew little if anything about the existing setup. They were unaware of the following information:

  • The local server did not handle all the domains mail accounts, so would have bounced the mail for those accounts not held locally
  • About half the accounts were not held on the local server but an external one, those users with this setup would have been cut off from their email completely – actually due to the above item it would have been bounced
  • The outbound server relaying mail from the local server (as in next hop out) would have rejected mail heading out due to the change in internet connection, so all outbound email would have been bounced back.

So we have a change request that would have completely broken the email setup. Having pointed this out I was unfortunately involved in a bit of an awkward exchange of emails having been blamed for the delay in implementing the changes! It is also worth noting that the date they gave me for the change was a Friday and based on the installation of the ADSL line on the Monday with the view that “not too much mail should be lost”. Maybe none would be lost, but this is a pretty unprofessional attitude!!

OK, bringing things up to date (well, a couple of months ago, and roughly nine months after the original MX change was requested) the new mail server was installed. Following the change I received the following email text from the IT support company:

Hi Paul,

Please go ahead and remove the POP3/IMAP mx records.

The new server is up and working correctly. Can you please go ahead and
add a more formal backup mail service.

This is from someone who I have always been directed to when I need technical information because he knows what he is talking about.

  • So what are these POP3 and IMAP MX records he wants removed then?
  • If I have removed the MX records how can I implement a backup mail service?

Somebody save me from the Windows “point and click” experts!

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