Careful where queue directories are placed

Q G Campbell Q.G.Campbell at NEWCASTLE.AC.UK
Mon Oct 22 18:01:15 IST 2001

We have been running various releases of Mailscanner perfectly happily
on a test Mail Hub which uses sendmail on a Sun ULTRA5 box.

Today was the big day when we went live on the three production Mail
Hubs; these also use sendmail on ULTRA5 boxes and the production
installations were, software wise, a clone of the test installation.

Immediately after we rebooted the first production server the console
was flooded with messages of the form: 

 SYSERR(root): readqf cannot open ./df.........: No such file or

It became clear that mail was being moved from the directory
to the mqueue directory often without their corresponding "df" file.
Users were receiving messages without bodies as a consequence.

The cause of our problem was that /var/spool/mqueue was on a separate
filesystem to /var/spool/ and /var/spool/MailScanner. Vital
locking information was being lost when message files were being moved
between filesystems rather than _within the same_ filesystem as was

The Installation Guide "advises" putting all these directories in the
same filesystem. The Guide should be amended to make this advice
mandatory and warn users of the consequences of not doing so!

Our configuration was probably a bit unusual in having /var/spool/mqueue
mounted on its own disk, separate from the rest of /var/spool. The whole
of /var/spool is now mounted on this separate disk and Mailscanner works

Quentin Campbell (Postmaster)
PHONE: +44 191 222 8209    Computing Service, University of Newcastle
FAX:   +44 191 222 8765    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU.
"Any opinion expressed above is mine. The University can get its own."  

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