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Thread: Deploy zimbra for a large number of users (16.000+)

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    valentinmitoiu is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Deploy zimbra for a large number of users (16.000+)

    Hi guys,

    I'm the network administrator of a relatively large University and we are thinking of implementing Zimbra on a large scale ( 16.000+) accounts, we already have zimbra for around 4.000 users but we want to get rid of the current setup and start new.

    Do you have any ideas on how would Zimbra would work with this kind of numbers?

    Have you done anything like this ?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    phoenix is online now Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by valentinmitoiu View Post
    Do you have any ideas on how would Zimbra would work with this kind of numbers?
    It works fine with that number of users but you're not giving much information on the intended hardware, the type of usage (POP, IMAP, Web UI), whether it's bare metal or a virtualized environment nor whether it's the Open Source or NNetwork Edition you intend to use - those details would be a good staring point. You should also search the forums as there's several threads on the subject of 'sizing'.

    Quote Originally Posted by valentinmitoiu View Post
    Have you done anything like this ?
    Yes, plenty of people have done this for example the ISP Comcast has 10 million plus users for its' ZCS mail platform.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    valentinmitoiu is offline Junior Member
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    The hardware is not a problem, it will be ordered based on the needs of the setup, the usage will be POP, IMAP, Web UI and there will be no virtualization, we will use the Open Source edition.

    Thats about it

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    julien.marchal is offline Starter Member
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    We use zimbra with 26000+ users (student and staff) with no problem.
    We have plain to use with 60000+ users after fusion of Lorraine's university.
    Only difference we use Network Edition.

    Thanks,

  5. #5
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    Klug is offline Moderator
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    As I always says, storage is cheap.

    However, buying NE offers you HSM.
    And HSM is cheaper than storage (really, especially for academic, NE licences are cheaper than the storage you'll have to pay without HSM).

    So...
    Considering that you want to offer no-quota (or quota > several GB) to your student (because you can seriously offer less than Google for free).
    Considering "hardware is not a problem".

    Get NE, get Virtualization and get a SAN/NAS (even a "cheap" one, such as NexentaStor, Open-E, etc).

    This was post last night in the "Zimbra HiEd mailing list" :
    University-Name has been running with virtualized mailbox servers since last April.

    After our upgrade to version 6, our account density (approximately 13,000 per mailbox server) and usage pattern created a bottleneck in the MySQL DB.

    We had being using servers with 16 cores and 32GB of ram, configured entirely as boot from SAN (we have a [Dell]Compellent SAN). We transitioned each of those physical machines to three virtual machines, each configured to respect a NUMA boundary. After increasing the memory in each server to 48GB, we had NUMA nodes that were 4 core and 16GB.

    We put a 4 Core and 12GB VM in each node, initially starting with three, but having the capacity to add the fourth when growth warrants it. Nodes with those resources were sized for approximately 6,000 users at our usage level, and it seems that number is fairly accurate, the initial signs of the bottleneck can show up as the accounts get closer to that number.

    We connected the storage via VMWare's NPIV mode -- I'm a little disappointed in how it's currently implemented by VMware, but it does allow us to manage storage on a "per mailbox server" level even though the machines are VM containers. The goal was to continue to manage storage at the SAN level, and not add the abstraction of VMDKs into the mix. Theoretically, we would be able to boot the mailbox servers from any server (physical or virtual) that we are able to map the volumes to, which at the design time was one of the critical DR requirements. (Not sure it is so much today.)

    At this point, we have not virtualized other portions of the infrastructure -- mostly because there's not a performance need. It would be next on our list for Zimbra, but it's not being actively pursued because our campus is about to start an RFP process for email and calendar functionality.

    At this point, I'm on the hardware/infrastructure side of the house, so I don't know all the application details any more ... but if you'd like to have a more detailed conversation about our experience, I can probably arrange such a conversation.

    In general, we did it because we *had* to reduce density, and we were able to double our [projected] account capacity utilizing the same hardware -- so I would declare it a success.

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