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Thread: Another Hardware Requirement Question

  1. #1
    Moif Murphy is offline New Member
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    Default Another Hardware Requirement Question

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a rough estimate for hardware requirements.

    We're thinking we'll possibly have 400 x 200MB max mail accounts on the server being accessed most of the working week (Mon - Fri 8am - 9pm).

    Our staff are spread across the UK over 30ish Offices.

    We're thinking OSS Zimbra on CentOS or a Redhat Variant (Even possibly Redhat itself).

    Does anyone have this kind of setup installed locally? I'm considering a dedicated server solution.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    400 x 200MB is a small installation. Spend your money on network bandwidth for your 30 offices, not on the central server. Make sure your webmail clients are running the latest Firefox 2.0 -- IE and Safari are noticeably slower.

    I just migrated 2500 users with maximum 4 gigabyte mailboxes, 450 gigabytes total. It is quieter over the summer, but yesterday, I had 204 distinct IMAP users, 1301 distinct webmail users, and 2 distinct Outlook users (we are waiting for Outlook 2007 support) log on.

    My server is a single dual-core xeon 5130 @ 2GHz with 8GB RAM. Storage is on a Compellent.com SAN using mostly writeback-cached FC 10K RPM RAID 10 for writes (Compellent has some very cool block-level HSM features). The SAN is new, replacing an aging Xiotech, but otherwise, Zimbra is running on less powerful hardware than the Cyrus 2.3 and GroupWise 7 systems it replaces. When Cyrus and GroupWise are retired, I will perform a cluster transition to move Zimbra to dual 5160's @ 3.2GHz, but that's just because I have the hardware available, not because I expect to need it.

    CPU is hardly ever the bottleneck for any email server -- it's all disk I/O. Get the lowest-end server-class head you can find, with the highest-end disk you can find for it. Shoot for at least SCSI RAID 1. Linux software RAID is fine -- you are not going to be CPU-bound, and software RAID 1 (but not RAID 5) is arguably a lot more reliable than an inexpensive hardware RAID setup. (If you're spending *less* than $10,000 on hardware RAID, you're probably wasting your money.) If possible, get 4 spindles, 2 separate pairs for /opt/zimbra and /opt/zimbra/backup. If you had a larger number of more demanding users, you'd want to put /opt/zimbra/redolog and /opt/zimbra/mysql on separate spindles, but you don't need that at all.

    Zimbra does like RAM. RAM is cheap, so don't give it less than 4GB, even for your small installation.
    Last edited by Rich Graves; 08-07-2007 at 07:01 AM.

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    Moif Murphy is offline New Member
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    Hi Rich,

    Thanks for the extensive reply. What kind of bandwidth are you using?

    Our offices have between 1MB - 2MB ADSL (256 up) and the number of Internet able PCs are between 3 and 6. Currently they use OWA to retrieve their emails. Incidentally they aren't on a company wide domain but this is something we'll be looking at in the future (ideally I'd prefer regional domain servers rather than 1 overall domain).

    We also have 30 mobile staff who use Outlook cached mode and they hook up to the wireless connection to an office when they're in.

    Head Office, where the server would be kept is on a 2MB SDSL connection and we have approx 30 staff here.

  4. #4
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    We're a college campus with a 40Mbps Internet connection. For the summer, almost all of our users are remote, typically with residential cable modem or DSL service, which tends to be slower and more expensive in the USA than in Europe. A few remote users are complaining that the new webmail is slower than the previous Horde/IMP webmail, which I attribute mostly to browser issues and GAL (passthrough to a not-so-well-optimized external LDAP server), but most users seem happy.

    You can get a sense for how Zimbra will perform in branch offices by visiting www.zimbra.com/demo/

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    Moif Murphy is offline New Member
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    Lovely, thanks again Rich. Definitley food for thought.

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    LMStone is offline Moderator
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    Default Don't Forget About Amavis

    I would also reiterate that mail servers are indeed very disk intensive. Putting the amavis temp folder (/opt/zimbra/amavisd/tmp) on a separate set of fast RAID1 spindles and mounted with the noatime parameter will also help performance.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

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