Speeding up WebDAV on Windows 7

Windows 7 has a built in WebDAV client that allows you to access your Fastmail file storage area as just another drive on your computer.

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click on “Computer” in the sidebar list at the left
  • Click “Map network drive” on the button list at the top of the window
  • Select a Drive letter to map to (Z: is the default)
  • Enter https://dav.messagingengine.com/ as the Folder to connect to
  • You’ll be prompted for your username (use your full username including the @domain part) and password, and whether you want to automatically remember those login credentials in the future

Unfortunately by default, you’ll probably find that accessing files and directories is very slow, with a multi-second pause between any action. You can speed this up by doing the following:

  • Open Internet Explorer
  • Go to Tools –> Internet Options –> Connections (tab) –> LAN Settings (Button) and then uncheck the “Automatically detect settings” checkbox.
  • Click Ok (button) and Ok (button) again to close the dialogs, then quit Internet Explorer

You should find WebDAV access performance is considerably improved

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New employees

Opera have employed 4 new people to work on email related services. They’ll be working closely with the existing team, and this should help us significantly speed up development of new features.

  • Neil Jenkins
  • Andrew Wansink
  • Max Matveev
  • Greg Banks

I’d like to welcome them all to Opera, and I’m looking forward to working together on new projects.

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cyrus 2.4 released

Over the last 6-12 months, one of our employees Bron Gondwana has put a lot of effort into improving our IMAP/POP server, which is the open source cyrus IMAP server. Most of the improvements were rolled out to Fastmail customers a few months ago and documented in this blog post.

Today however marks the official release of cyrus 2.4, which includes all of Bron’s changes and numerous other improvements from other contributors. Congratulations everyone involved with the cyrus project!

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Increased bandwidth quotas for all users

We’ve just increased the monthly bandwidth quota for all users. All monthly email bandwidth quotas have been doubled and all monthly file storage bandwidth quotas have been quadrupled. The new quotas are:

Monthly Email BW Monthly File BW
Guest 160M 80M
Member (legacy) 160M 80M
Ad Free 640M 160M
Full 1.2G 4G
Enhanced 4G 16G
Lite 800M 160M
Everyday 1.6G 4G
Superior 4G 40G
Basic 1.6G 320M
Standard 4G 4G
Professional 16G 8G

These new values should appear in your account “Resource usage” section soon.

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New public pingdom uptime URL

In 2008, we setup an account at pingdom to continuously monitor the uptime of our site. As part of that, we made the results of the checks that pingdom does public so that people could see the current state of our servers, and a history.

We’ve now moved those checks into the Opera pingdom account to make it easier to internally monitor our uptime along with other Opera websites. As part of that, the URL for the public data has changed, so the new URL is:


(2012-09-07: Updated with new URL above, the previous URL was http://www.pingdom.com/reports/x8mbe1jgimkn/)

All the help documentation has been updated to reflect this new URL.

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Improvements after outage last week

This is a technical post. Regular Fastmail users subscribed to receive email updates from the Fastmail blog can just ignore this post.

Last week we had an outage that affected all users that lasted for about 1 hour. This is one of the worst outages we’ve had in the last 4 years. Our overall reliability over the last 4 years can be put down to our redundant slots & stores architecture and using a very reliable hosting provider (NYI).

The outage last week was a sequence of events caused by a recent internal change. We changed over our internal DNS server to slave off Opera’s servers to allow better internal DNS integration. Unfortunately we were only part way through that process, and we had only setup one internal server. It’s our general policy that everything we setup these days must be replicated between at least two servers which we had intended to do, but hadn’t got around to.

That internal DNS server was also running on the server that’s our primary database server. Unfortunately that server crashed with a kernel panic. Normally we’d just fail everything over to our replica database server, but because the internal DNS server was also down, all our tools which expected to be able to resolve internal domain names also failed, and we weren’t able to fail over easily. Also because the internal DNS was down, we weren’t easily able to access the remote management module (RMM) of the server to reboot it, and had to go through the NYI ticket system, which always takes a bit longer.

The net result is something that we should have detected within a few minutes, and easily failed over with our failover tools, took almost an hour to do in the end.

We’ve now setup the internal DNS servers to be part of our standard redundant setup. We’ve also setup consistent naming and IP addresses for all our RMM modules so that they’ll be easier to access, and even if there are DNS problems, we’ll be able to access them via IP.

We can’t stop servers crashing, but we aim to have every service redundant so that if any server fails, we can fail over to a replica within a short amount of time, either automatically where possible, or manually where we think it’s better to have some human intervention first.

Overall, I believe that our continuous attempts to improve reliability have been working very well, and we always aim to learn from any problems and do better.

Update 6/Oct: I’ve posted some additional information to this forum thread.

Posted in Technical. Comments Off on Improvements after outage last week

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