Scalable Mail Server

Paul Civati paul at
Thu Apr 14 16:39:16 BST 2005

Sevan / Venture37 <venture37 at> wrote:

> Im in the process of planning a mail server setup for a large firm who 
> need a smtp feed, I was planning on setting up a cluster made up of VIA 
> eden mobo's, the master node would either have a RAID 1+0 or RAID 5 disk 
> setup.

I like RAID1 (or 10) is for mail servers - especially for content that
is constantly changing and where a daily backup won't really help
for a disk failure.

> I know the VIA rhine network cards are crap, I was going to add a 3com 
> or intel network card in each node.

For production stuff I always tend to stick to Intel NICs if I want
things to work properly.  I have one (admittedly aging, so..) VIA
board and neither the onboard NIC or Intel PCI card seem to give
reasonable network throughput without errors.

Not sure if this is dodgy hardware (someone told me there were apparently 
problems with some 8000 boards) or driver issues, and maybe I should 
upgrade it from 4.8.

> Also should I really be looking at clustering, the reason I chose the 
> cluster cause it would give me the flexability in expanding as the load 
> increases & as the edens are so cheap several spare nodes can be 
> purchaed in advance ?

How are you going to implement the clustering?

> Sorry, one other bit of crucial info is, the setup will also be doing 
> antispam & a/v checking, I dont have exact figures on how many mailboxes 
> but have been told as a rough estimate of 2000.

Beware..  a/v checking *can* use quite some resources, certainly RAM and
probably SMP may help.. as I've often heard stories of mail servers that
die under large deluges of mail, with all the extra a/v processing.


Paul Civati <paul(at)> 0870 321 2855
Rack Sense Ltd - Managed/Business hosting -   
RackRed - Value SSL certificates and servers -

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