When GFI MailEssentials is installed on multiple servers, it is important to keep configuration data synchronized between servers. The Anti-Spam Synchronization service automates the process of keeping settings synchronized between separate installations using the Microsoft® BITS service.
The following is a high-level summary of how the Anti-Spam Synchronization Agent works:
- A server hosting GFI MailEssentials is configured as the master server.
- The other servers, where GFI MailEssentials is installed, are configured as slave servers.
- The slave servers upload an archive file, containing settings, to an IIS virtual folder hosted on the master server via the Microsoft BITS service.
- When the master server collects all slave servers data, the data is extracted from the individual archives and merged into a central archive file.
- The slave servers download this central archive file and take care of extracting it and updating the local GFI MailEssentials installation to make use of the new settings.
- The servers that collaborate in the synchronization of settings must all have the same version of GFI MailEssentials.
- The files uploaded and downloaded by the synchronization agent are compressed to limit the traffic on the network.
- Only one server can be configured as the master server at any one time.
- An IIS virtual directory should be created on the master server only.
To configure a server as a master server, it must meet one of the following system specifications:
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with SP1 or later, and IIS 7.0 with BITS server extensions installed.
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or later, and IIS 6.0 with BITS server extension installed.
Configure the Synchronization Agent Virtual Directory
In Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, configure a shared virtual directory on the default website of the Master Server as described below (the steps are provided for IIS 6 and 7):
- Load the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console, right-click on the default website and select Add Virtual Directory.
- In the Add Virtual Directory dialog, type in
MESynchAgentas an alias for the virtual directory.
- Specify a path where to store the contents for this virtual directory and click OK to add the virtual directory. (Keep note of the configured path for reference.)
- Select MESynchAgent virtual directory and from the Features View and double-click SSL Settings.
- Disable the Require SSL checkbox and click Apply.
- Return to the Features View of the newly added virtual directory and double-click Authentication.
- Ensure that only Basic Authentication is enabled, while the other options are disabled.
- Right-click Basic Authentication and click Edit… to specify the Default Domain and Realm of the username and password used for authentication by the slave machines. Click OK and Apply.
- Return to the Features View of MESynchAgent virtual directory and double-click BITS Uploads.
- Select Allow clients to upload files and select Use default settings from the parent.
- Click Apply.
- From Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console, right-click on the default website and select New > Virtual Directory. In the Virtual Directory Creation Wizard type in
MESynchAgentas an alias for the virtual directory and click Next.
- Specify a path where to store the contents for this virtual directory and click Next.
- Click OK.
- Select the BITS Server Extension tab and select Allow clients to transfer data to this virtual directory.
- Click OK to close the virtual directory dialog properties.
Configure the GFI MailEssentials Master Server
- From the master server, go to the GFI MailEssentials installation path: \GFI\MailEssentials\AntiSpam\ and open mesentcfg.msc.
- Right-click Anti-Spam Synchronization Agent > Configuration and select Properties.
- From the Master tab, select This GFI MailEssentials Configuration server is also a master server and type in the full path of the folder configured to hold the contents of the MESynchAgent virtual directory.
- Click Add and enter the hostname of the slave server. Click OK to add it to the list. Repeat this step and add all other slave servers.
- If required, select a slave server from the list and click Edit or Delete to edit or delete it.
- Click OK.
- Ensure that you configure all the machines in this list as slave servers to ensure that the synchronization agent on the master server merges the data.
- A master server can also be a slave server at the same time. In this case, the server merges its own data to the ones uploaded by the other slave servers. For this to work, it is required to add the master server hostname to the list of slave servers as well.
Configure the GFI MailEssentials Slave Server
- From the slave server, go to the GFI MailEssentials installation path: \GFI\MailEssentials\AntiSpam\ and open mesentcfg.msc.
- Right-click Anti-Spam Synchronization Agent > Configuration node and select Properties.
- From the Slave tab, select This.
- In the URL field, specify the full URL to the virtual directory hosted on the master server in the following format: http://mydomain.com/MESynchAgent
- The Port field specifies the port used by the master server to accept HTTP communications. NOTE: By default, the port value is set to 80, which is the standard port used for HTTP.
- Select Credentials required and type in the credentials used to authenticate with the master server.
- Select one of the following options:
Automatic: Synchronization occurs automatically at a set interval. In the Upload, every field specifies the upload interval in hours that determines how often the slave server uploads its settings to the master server. In the Download, every field specifies the download interval in hours which determines how often the slave server checks for updates on the master server and downloads them. Important notes about setting the interval:
- The hourly interval for upload and download cannot be set to the same value.
- The hourly interval can be set to any value between 1 and 240 hours.
- It is recommended that the download interval is configured to a smaller value than the upload interval.
- It is also recommended to use the same interval for all slave servers.
- Example: Set the download interval to 3 hours and upload interval to 4 hours. This way downloads are more frequent than uploads.
- Manual: Upload and download the settings archive file manually. To upload the settings of the slave server to the master server click Upload now. To download the updated merged settings from the master server, click Download now.
- Automatic: Synchronization occurs automatically at a set interval. In the Upload, every field specifies the upload interval in hours that determines how often the slave server uploads its settings to the master server. In the Download, every field specifies the download interval in hours which determines how often the slave server checks for updates on the master server and downloads them. Important notes about setting the interval:
- Click OK.
Slave servers automatically upload an archive file containing settings to the IIS virtual directory on the master server, so no virtual directory should be created on slave servers.
The Anti-Spam feature is synchronized on all servers. All the slave servers are updated whenever there are changes implemented on the Master.