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IMF Tune - Bringing Back the Exchange Connection Filter
IMF Tune - Bringing Back the Exchange Connection Filter

Installing IMF Tune v5.5 Moderator/Reporting

The new IMF Tune v5.5 release introduces the Moderator/Reporting ASP.NET web interface. This component introduces new installation scenarios that are explored in this document.

The IMF Tune web interface is shipped in an installation package separate from the main IMF Tune server installation. This decoupling gives great deployment flexibility. Indeed it is possible to run the IMF Tune v5.5 server without the web interface. However, we would be missing all the great reporting and email moderation functionality the web component delivers.

Index

  1. System Setup
  2. Requirements
  3. Installation Walkthrough
  4. IMF Tune Server Installation
  5. IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting Web Interface Installation
  6. IIS ASP.NET Web Interface
  7. Registering IMF Tune Servers with the Database Server
  8. Complete Setup

1. System Setup

The complete system setup is illustrated in the diagram that follows.

System Setup

Here we have 3 Exchange servers each running IMF Tune. These publish information on processed emails to the database server. In this manner, spam emails rejected or deleted at the server are available for reviewing.

Depending on the configuration, IMF Tune may also publish accepted emails for reporting purposes. However here we won't get into any configuration details.

From their browser, users logon to the IMF Tune Web interface. Users and Administrators granted the necessary login rights are thus able to review blocked emails, and monitor filtering performance.

Sharing the same database, multiple IMF Tune servers are able to publish the information for all emails in a central location. Thus users have access to all emails from a single interface.

For clarity here we illustrated the system setup on multiple servers. Nevertheless it is also possible to install all components on the same server. This will normally depend on the Organization email load. In general we do recommend putting the database server on a separate machine in order to limit the load on the Exchange server machine.

 

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2. Requirements

2.1 IMF Tune v5.5 Server

The IMF Tune V5.5 Server installation introduces no new requirements over version 5. New requirements only concern the Moderator/Reporting web component (discussed next).

  1. Platform Support - The IMF Tune server is installed on the Exchange server machine. Exchange versions 2003, 2007 and 2010 are supported. The following is the list of supported platform/Exchange server combinations:
    Exchange 2003 - Windows 2003 (x86), SBS 2003 (x86)
    Exchange 2007 - Widows 2003 (x64), Windows 2008 (x64), SBS 2008 (x64)
    Exchange 2010 - Windows 2008 (x64), Windows 2008 R2 (x64)

    In case of Exchange 2007/2010, IMF Tune is installed on the Edge or Hub transport server roles.

  2. .NET 2.0 Framework SP2

 

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2.2 IMF Tune v5.5 Moderator/Reporting Web Interface

The IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting is an IIS ASP.NET web application. It supports all Windows server platforms from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008 R2 (both 32-bit and 64-bit).

  1. Server Platforms: Windows 2003 (x86/x64), SBS 2003 (x86), Windows 2008 (x86/x64), SBS 2008 (x64), Windows 2008 R2 (x64)

  2. .NET 2.0 Framework SP2

  3. Internet Information Server - Depending on the Server Platform run one of the following: IIS6, IIS7, IIS7.5

  4. ASP.NET

  5. Microsoft SQL Server (see Database Server requirements)

  6. Minimum Browser Versions - Internet Explorer 6, Mozilla FireFox 3, Opera 10, Apple Safari 4, Google Chrome 4.

 

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2.3 Database Server

  1. MS SQL 2005 Express, MS SQL 2008 Express
    MS SQL 2000, MS SQL 2005, MS SQL 2008, MS SQL 2008 R2

    Note how the free MS SQL Express editions are also supported.

  2. Must be installed on the same Windows Domain as the IMF Tune Web interface.

  3. Must be installed in Mixed Authentication Mode supporting both Windows Integrated Authentication and SQL Authentication.

 

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3. Installation Walkthrough

IMF Tune v5.5 is made up of two installations available for download from the WinDeveloper website:

  1. IMF Tune Server - Includes the core filtering engine and the logic to publish emails to a database server.

  2. IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting - Includes an IIS ASP.NET web application and database initialization wizard.

Most often these are installed in the order shown above. However it is possible to perform the installations in any order since the two are completely independent at installation time. Of course both components have to be in place for us to activate the new Quarantine and Reporting features.

 

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4. IMF Tune Server Installation

Installing the IMF Tune server cannot be any simpler. Given that the necessary requirements discussed above are satisfied, it is just a matter of clicking Next, Next, Next to complete the installation Wizard.

The IMF Tune server configuration allows us to configure all the usual filtering options. In addition it also includes new options specific to SQL Quarantining and Reporting.

New/Updated Configuration Categories

However the new features aren't fully configurable until the IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting component is also installed.

 

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5. IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting Web Interface Installation

The IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting installation performs two tasks:

  1. Installs the ASP.NET IIS Web Moderator/Reporting interface.

  2. Initializes the database server.

The installation will create the new Web application with little need for user input. The second operation, the database initialization, requires us to walk through a wizard that is launched at the end of the installation. The wizard is also included in the Moderator/Reporting application program group. In this manner if anything goes wrong at installation time we can rerun it later.

Before proceeding with this installation it is worth deciding how we want to setup the IMF Tune database. When performing a fresh installation we have two options:

  1. Manually create a new database instance. The installation Wizard will then create the database schema and setup the necessary database access rights.

  2. Let the wizard do everything including the creation of the database instance.

Creating the database instance manually gives more control on the database creation process.

IMPORTANT: If creating the database instance manually it is important to set the database collation using case insensitive collation. The installation uses the following collation type:
SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS

With this point cleared we can proceed with the installation. As discussed the interesting part here concerns the Database Connection Wizard. So we move fast forward to the point when the installation launches the Wizard.

Quarantine Database Connection

In the first Wizard Step we need to identify the database server. At the server list we can select one of the detected servers. Or else we can type directly the server name.

Next specify the Database Instance name.

Lastly we select whether the Wizard is to use Integrated Windows Authentication or SQL Authentication for it to initialize the database. In the latter case we supply the necessary login credentials.

Notes

  1. Server - The database server detection is not 100% accurate. It is possible for this list to miss some servers that are actually available. In this case we type the database server name manually.

  2. Server - Keep in mind the list of supported database servers and the requirement for the server to support both Windows Authentication and SQL Authentication.

  3. Database - If the database instance was created manually, change the name to the one specified on creating the database. Otherwise we can keep the default and let the Wizard create it for us.

  4. Login Credentials - Any database login credentials supplied at the wizard are only used for setting up the system. These are not stored anywhere.

  5. Login Credentials - In a fresh installation the Wizard will need to perform a number of operations against the database server that necessitate a high level of access rights. Amongst others it will:

    • Optionally create the database instance from scratch.
    • Create the IMF Tune database schema including tables, indexes, stored procedures etc.
    • Grant login rights to the Windows Network Service account over the IMF Tune database. This is the account used by the Web interface to access the database.

Following the database connection step click Next. The Wizard will now connect to the database server and provides a selection of possible operations:

Connection Type

Here we are performing a fresh installation and we will let the Wizard create the database for us from scratch. The Wizard has detected that there is no database instance named 'IMFTuneQuar' at the server. Thus it only provides the option to 'Create a new Quarantine Database'. The three possible operations here are:

Attach to already existing Quarantine Database - This option becomes active if the wizard detects that the IMF Tune database is already in place and correctly initialized. This happens when upgrading the Web interface. In this case the wizard limits itself to making sure that the Web application has the necessary access rights over the database.

Recreate existing Quarantine Database - This option becomes active if the wizard detects that the database instance name already exists at the database server. This happens if we create the database manually and when performing upgrades. Choosing this option the Wizard would wipe any already existing data, recreate the IMF Tune database schema, and grant the necessary access rights.

Create a new Quarantine Database - This option becomes active if the wizard does not find any database instance matching the supplied name at the server. It instructs the Wizard to perform a complete database initialization.

On selecting the operation type click Next. The Wizard is now ready to start.

Ready to Start

Clicking Next again the Wizard performs the selected operation and reports on the outcome.

Connection Completed

In case any errors are reported hit the back button to move to step 1 again. Most errors will be resolvable by correcting the database connection settings. If necessary you can close this wizard and rerun it from the Program Group created at installation time.

Running the wizard successfully is required for the Moderator/Reporting functionality to work.

 

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6. IIS ASP.NET Web Interface

The installation just discussed will create a new IIS ASP.NET application. Under IIS the following new objects are created:

  1. An application pool named IMFTunePool

  2. An application under the Default Web Site named IMFTune

Here is how the Windows 2008 R2 IIS7.5 looks like in our case. The image highlights the 2 newly added items.

IMF Tune IIS Objects

IMF Tune supports all versions from IIS6, IIS7, and IIS7.5. The user interface in IIS6 is quite different from that in IIS7.x. However the same components are installed in all cases.

To confirm that the Web interface was successfully installed, from the browser enter the application URL:
http://<server name>/imftune

This will present the application login screen:

Login

This login screen is a good indication that the Moderator/Reporting installation was successful. At this stage we cannot move further since no user logins have been created. This can be done once we register the IMF Tune servers with the database.

 

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7. Registering IMF Tune Servers with the Database Server

Referring back to our system setup diagram, this is how far we got:

Incomplete Setup

We installed one or more IMF Tune servers and the IMF Tune Moderator/Reporting. Only the Web interface is connected to the database server.

To complete the setup we need to establish a connection between each of the IMF Tune servers and the database. This is done from the IMF Tune server configuration under:
Quarantine | Quarantine Database

Database Configuration

From here, clicking on Register opens the database registration dialog:

Database Registration

Here we supply the database type, database server, database instance name and the login credentials. We then click the Register button at the bottom. This may pop a warning alerting us that all configuration changes will have to be committed. Select Yes, and the registration is performed.

Notes

  1. The database type gives a choice between MS SQL 2000, MS SQL 2005 and MS SQL 2008. For both MS SQL 2005 and MS SQL Express 2005 we set the selection to MS SQL 2005. Likewise for MS SQL 2008, MS SQL 2008 R2 and MS SQL 2008 Express, we set the selection to MS SQL 2008.

  2. Any credentials supplied at the registration dialog are only used for completing the registration operation. These credentials are not stored anywhere.

  3. The IMF Tune server registration process needs to have the IMF Tune database already in place and initialized. This means that this registration can only take place after the Web component is installed and its connection wizard is successfully completed.

  4. In case of multiple IMF Tune servers the registration procedure has to be repeated on each of the servers.

 

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8. Complete Setup

With the registration of IMF Tune servers the system setup is ready. It is now just a matter of configuring the system. Configuration will include:

  1. Granting user login rights over the Web interface

  2. Specifying which emails are to be published.

  3. Specifying a maintenance schedule for IMF Tune to control the age of published data.

All of these points will be discussed in another article. For the latest articles please check the IMF Tune News section.

 

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