maillscanner/postfix saturates bandwidth :-(

Harondel J. Sibble mailscanner at
Mon Sep 24 18:15:26 IST 2012

Had an odd situation that started Friday night at one of my clients running a 
mailscanner/mailwatch mail relay for their internal Exchange 2007 server.

Basically the dsl connection they share with another office was saturated 
when the office admin did a mailout on friday to about 2000 of their 
subscribers, each email was about 3.5mb total with conversion overhead.  When 
I say saturated, I mean in both the upstream and downstream directions.  
According the admin who runs the multitenant network in this office, he was 
seeing a sustained 1.6mb/s INBOUND connection to my client's firewall while 
this was happening.

I intially though that someone had hacked in and was injecting spam, but 
after upstream throttling of the connection and disabling all smtp traffic, I 
was able to review the messages in the postfix deferred queue and determine 
they were part of the mailout.

At this point mailq was showing 14 messages with approx 100 recipients total, 
I could then re-enable smtp traffic (in/out) at the firewall level and emails 
would be fine sending and receiving, but if I did a postqueue -f, the 
connection would saturate again until I blocked the smtp traffic, then waited 
a couple minutes before re-enabling it and the messages went back to being 

I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal witih this moving forward, is 
there additional throttling I need to do at the postifx level or the 
mailscanner level or something else.  I was also surprised as my understand 
of postfix is that it does connection throttling by default.
Harondel J. Sibble 
Sibble Computer Consulting
Creating Solutions for the small and medium business computer user.
help at (use pgp keyid 0x3AD5C11D)
(604) 739-3709 (voice)

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