specs & platform for new server

Martin Hepworth martinh at SOLID-STATE-LOGIC.COM
Fri Nov 19 09:12:15 GMT 2004


A few off the top og my head thoughts....

the less number of physical boxes the better (keep it simple!), but
don't forget scalability.

If you load balance via DNS then both hosts will need to same MX value,
otherwise the one with the lowest value will *always* get the traffic.

As to LHA vs a simple pair, it depends on what the requirements for
archiving/releasing/bayes are. if you want a shared bayes you're prob
better looking at a mysql rather than Berkley DB implementation, and
then you need to decide where to put the mysql server (another system,
maybe two small clustered machines??)....then what do you do with
archiving email. the S-OX act may have implications here..

Before deciding on the architecure look at all the requirements, then
you cam biuld the system around the requirements. Don't forget legal
stuff like S-OX, disaster recovery, maintenance (patching, hardware
fixes), and uptime requirements. Don't forget, power, air con and
weight/space required/contraints of the new system.

Also if possible allow for double the amount of actual traffic now and
have a growth plan, so you don't have to rebuild the whole thing in 12

Maybe look at some of the nice blade systems you can get today, esp
where they have auto-updating of boot images etc. It's not just the nice
hardware look at the management software as well.

Martin Hepworth
Snr Systems Administrator
Solid State Logic
Tel: +44 (0)1865 842300

J. Bishop wrote:
> Since reading this and other related threads of late, I have to revisit my
> server design guidelines.  I administrate 5 production MailScanner based
> email servers processing a total of 80-100k messages per day.  I was
> recently asked to design and possibly build a spam/virus filtering solution
> to easily support up to 2 million messages per day.
> I remember seeing guidelines (from Julian himself I believe) on this list
> and in the FAQ mentioning to design MailScanner running on decent hardware
> for approximately 50,000 messages per day.  Now that I read the suggestions
> and the FAQ again, I see that people are saying a well tuned solution
> should be capable of 1 million...
> Most of my email servers (2-3 year old P3 and P4's typically) have periods
> of increased load even when processing a measley 20-30k messages per day, I
> doubt that the effective throughput difference makes the system scale to a
> million (thats why I am asking you folks).  I have seen less load with
> recent versions of MS and SA but not to that degree.
> For the first time ever I have a nearly unlimited design budget for this
> project (but I might not get to build it for other reasons) and am
> wondering a few things.  I was initially thinking of using a quad Opteron
> system with 4 gigs of ram and 8 disks in raid 10 based on the benchmarks I
> am seeing.  Since the solution has to be completely redundant I would need
> at least 2 of these boxes...  I assume from the new comments that 2 of
> these should have no problems handling more than 2 million messages per day.
> Alternately I would use 4 or 6 smaller dual Xeon Nocona or 2xx series
> Opteron servers with 2 GB ram and 4 disks in raid 10 each.  I assume this
> would give greater CPU and I/O per email request at a lower cost.  Would 6
> of these handle the expected peak loads?
> Also, should I use the Linux High Availability project to direct SMTP
> requests evenly across all or should I simply load balance using (even or
> odd) weighted MX records in DNS?  I guess the LHA solution would require an
> extra 2 small servers acting as external facing TCP port 25 directors and 2
> high I/O systems acting as internal central mailbox repository servers
> which drives up the cost/complexity.
> The solution I have proposed is the standard Sendmail, Procmail,
> MailScanner, Spamassassin, a list of RBLs, DCC, Vipuls Razor, Pyzor, ClamAV
> with at least 2 other commercial virus scanners running on RHEL.
> Thanks again for a fine product Julian...
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