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Thread: Partition recommendations

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    ryandball's Avatar
    ryandball is offline Senior Member
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    Question Partition recommendations

    Hi all,

    I'm the network administrator for a medium-sized medical clinic. We're currently using POP3 accounts for email (around 50 active) but I've built a new email server that I will be installing Linux and Zimbra onto (as soon as I get my 3Ware hardware RAID controller in the mail). I've never used Zimbra in my life but I'm trying to make things as easy as possible on myself and maximize performance.

    The server was built with overstock parts. It has an Athlon XP processor and 512 MB RAM (which will probably be increased to 1 or 2 GB). I installed (2) 120 GB ATA/133 hard disks that I will mirror for the OS/software and (2) 200 GB ATA/133 hard disks that I will mirror for the mail spool (I like to keep OS and data on different disks). I know SATA or SCSI are better for the task but I had to use parts that were on-hand. We plan on having 50-100 users on the new server who will use it for email and shared calendar functions so I doubt it will be a huge issue.

    What's the best way to set up my partitions to maximize performance and reliability? Which partition is Zimbra going to want to put the mail spool on? Would it run better if I had the /swap partition on the same drive array as the OS?

    And as a side note, I plan on using the free Zimbra (for now) and a free Linux distro - any suggestion on which distro will give me the easiest integration with Zimbra? I'd prefer FreeBSD but after reading what people have gone through to make it work, err no thanks, no time for that.

    Just trying to start out on the right foot.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    Ryan

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    mmorse's Avatar
    mmorse is offline Moderator
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    Welcome to the forums,

    Are you really going to have that big of a mailspool/queue with only 50 users?
    For simplicity sake it sounds like you might just want the 120's for OS and the 200's for just /opt/zimbra/. That way the 200's will have essentially everything you need on it, all self contained in-case you hose your OS drives.
    Of course don't ignore backups though: Open Source Edition Backup Procedure - Zimbra :: Wiki (I gather you know the NE version has hot backups Compare ZCS Editions)

    On the RAM you want a minimum of 1GB - that'll be your best upgrade $ for $
    We're past the days of 512MB (and as you'll hear a lot - 2GB is the new standard for production systems) but with 50 users at least get to 1GB or you'll just be pulling your hair out. System Requirements - Small Systems

    I would use this list to pick platform based on what's in the NE section, as more QA testing will be done on those: PMWeb 5.0
    Free choices from that list:
    CentOS 5 (For all intensive pourposes RHEL=CentOS)
    Ubuntu 6.06LTS
    openSUSE (note version numbers)
    Plus, that way if you ever want to switch to the network edition it's much easier
    NE Trial - Network Edition Moving from Open Source to Network Edition ZCS - Zimbra :: Wiki

    Use this link to get 5.0 FOSS GA, it's not on the regular download pages yet - came out just in time for a christmas gift: ZCS 5.0 FOSS is Released!!!
    Last edited by mmorse; 12-28-2007 at 08:24 PM.

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    ryandball is offline Senior Member
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    Smile Ok

    Well I was using what I had laying around and I prefer to always have the OS and data on separate RAID arrays for reliability so those suggestions are good. I was trying to spend as little as possible (others have tried quoting us $10,000 for a new Exchange server - bah) but it is in the budget for 2 GB RAM if it's going to make that big of a difference (I still remember running Linux web servers on 4 MB RAM :-( )

    Once everybody's on board (with our added capacity of the new server), I anticipate much more and larger email attachments and largish file transactions taking place with a new email encryption system we'll be implementing (Zixmail?) so I wanted enough storage to handle that (possibly emailing X-rays, dermatology pics and such). I know the hard drives are overboard but they're already there, so..

    Definitely once it's up and running and the doctors/partners see that it's functional and useful it's most definitely a possibility that we'll upgrade our Zimbra version.

    Thanks for your input!!!

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    Oh and I forgot to mention that we're planning on using IMAP for all of our email so that the employees that have to workstation-hop (or webmail) have their email wherever they go they have their same email and I know that some of the managers have many, many gigabytes of email in their Inboxes so I imagine the 200 GB spool would fill up fairly easy. With that in mind, the 2.whatever GHz Athlon XP processor should still be enough, shouldn't it?

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