So to kick off this wonderful series of posts about IT shit that I see pretty much daily during the course of my working week. We begin with the tale of the on-premises CPanel server.

Strap in.

The story begins like all other tales, a normal day, a million bounced emails, and pot of coffee that's too shallow.

Lets take a look at those emails shall we?
Every single one appears to be a bounce back from a mail server complaining of storage/quota issues.

Now this is not uncommon in my experience with the various clients we deal with or indeed any company who for some inexplicable reason still sees a need for an on-site mail sever (WHY!?)
Still these email bounces warranted a closer look as they where not from our mail server but rather our fax-to-email gateway. (One of the many many Asterisk boxes we maintain. Why is fax still a thing?!)

Essentially we sent a fax (Oh god why...) as an email and then it bounced, and so we tried again and again and again and again. Now this particular client (Medical industry anyone?) gets lots and lots of "faxes" and so was seeing lots and lots of bounces.

Usually I see the following when I get bounce backs from an on-premises mail sever:

452 4.3.1 Insufficient system resources

Which indicates an Exchange server of some variety and probably running on some variety of Microsoft Small Business Server (yuck)...

But not this time!

No this time it was a message bounce back indicating something like Sendmail, Postfix, or Courier. So unsure as to this unusual response I checked to see if it was in fact a bounce from our own email server running Sendmail. It wasn't.

Next I checked to see if it was some remote mail server that was unhappy about a flood of faxes heading it's way (who could blame it?) but a quick run of DIG with MX switch showed it was in fact on-site at the location of our client.

How odd, a non-Windows mail server on site at a client's location.

I just tend to ignore this sort of thing but my inbox was filling up with useless crap and I needed to get work done so I took it upon myself to be the proactive architect that I am and call the IT company that manages the mail server.

The company was nice enough to talk to and they seemed very willing to fix up the issue and get the client back up and on their feet. However I just had to ask what kind of server was doing mail if not an Exchange based one, could it be an IT company for small businesses had embraced Open Source?
Actually yes they had, but in the absolute worts way possible...

A full blow commercial CPanel server with all the trimmings doing little more than one simple task: email.


CPanel, for those not in the know, is a solution for web hosting providers to allow end users to manage all aspects of their shared hosting instance. Everything from web resources to versioning to software managment. Email is quite literally 1/100th of the functionality of CPanel.

Why were they using CPanel then?

It's easy to manage

Shitty IT strikes again...