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SmarterMail server performance

Discussion in 'SmarterMail' started by mindaugas, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. mindaugas

    mindaugas Member

    I just wanted to get some info out there on how many domains SmarterMail can handle on a single server and what are good specs for a decent mail server. Here is what I had in mind.

    For the sake of performance vs price vs space I want to use SATA (SATA II of course) instead of SCSI. So,

    1 78GB Western Digital Raptor for Windows, spool, declude, and AV filter.
    2 mirror 500GB SATAII for the actual mail storage.
    Duel 3GHz Xeons
    2GB's RAM (DDR2, ECC and registered)

    Would putting the swap file on the mirror array improve performance? I'd like to host somewhere around 4,000 domains on this server. I am not worried about CPU performance, more about disk IO. I know SCSI disks will be better but the price is astronimcal, like $600 for a 300GB drive, whereas it's $350 for a 500GB SATA right now. Pretty big difference. Plus SATA has a lot of the same features SCSI has. But even considering that is it worth it to sacrifice the disk space and go with a SCSI system instead? Disk IO is a concern because of the travel back and forth to the spool, declude, and AV processing. I will be using SmarterMail Enterprise Edition 3. Thansk for any suggestions. And if you have an example of a good setup please provide the specs, thanks!!
  2. slalomdrew

    slalomdrew Active Member

    What about a RAID 5 array?? That can speed things up, give you an
    easy way to expand on space, and is reliable. If you are worried
    that more than 1 drive could fail at once you can always opt for a RAID
    6. Of course these RAID setups would require you to use more
    drives than a mirror setup would, but you would be better off for
    future expansion.
  3. brianlewis

    brianlewis Product Expert

    Stick with SATA ][ technology, RAID 1, not that much speed increase using RAID5 anyways. Place the swap on the 78gig raptor but you probably won't ever hit it with Smartermail, it doesn't have that large of a memory footprint.
  4. ST-GWerner

    ST-GWerner SmarterTools Staff

    Lately, we've been recommending RAID 1+0 (also called RAID 10 - not the same as 0+1) because not only is it more resistant to faults, but it performs much faster than most other options when looking at reads and writes together (like in a mail server). Of course, it requires 4 drives to do, and has pretty low storage space efficiency (50%), and only servers with very heavy loads would need to go to this extreme. For a fun research project, search google for "Raid 10 vs raid 5"

    For most people, the setup below (RAID or NON-RAID) works fine (even in high-load situations)

    Drive 1 - OS / SmarterMail Installation / other program files

    Drive 2 - Spool - drive with good seek time - Doesn't need to be that big

    Drive 3 - Domain mailboxes - Space is king here. More is better, especially if you have a lot of accounts. Having a drive with good seek and random read/write performance helps.

    Separating the spool from the domain data makes things easier to manage, and helps to avoid too much fragmentation on the domain mailbox drive.

    I also recommend using a product like Diskeeper to keep your drives defragged, though you should have it skip the spool drive. Files are always in and out on that drive, so any fragmentation there will disappear once the mail gets delivered. It would be a waste.

    If you are using a real-time virus scanner, Set your anti-virus to scan your spool drive and your OS drive, but ignore the domain mailbox drive so it won't corrupt files or rescan .grp files unnecessarily.
  5. ST-GWerner

    ST-GWerner SmarterTools Staff

    In response to this directly:

    Lots of people go with SATA instead of SCSI. The ROI just isn't there for SCSI anymore (in most cases).

    This setup will work just fine for what you want. How many users will you be hosting per domain (avg), how much mail are you going to let them keep on the server, and how many messages do you see going in and out per day?