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Thread: 250 users, Server adequate?

  1. #1
    quietas is offline Elite Member
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    Default 250 users, Server adequate?

    Hi all. I've been evaluating Zimbra and we are getting closer. I'm narrowing down server hardware and need an opinion or 3. 250 users with about a 30% growth and 30gb now with it jumping up 40% yearly in storage.

    Dell 2950
    Suse 10 Enterprise
    2x Quad Core Xeon E5420
    16GB 667MHz (4x4GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
    PERC6i SAS RAID Controller
    2x 146gb 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI (RAID 1 for / partition)
    4x 146gb 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI (RAID 10 for /opt partition)
    Intel PRO 1000PT Dual Port 1GbE NIC, PCIe-4
    Redundant PSU

    It'll also have Backup Exec and NOD32 running.

    It's a beast right now, but will it run adequately as a primary mail server for the next 3 years?
    Culley
    Mail | Dell 2950III | 2x Quad Core 5420 | 8gb RAM | 6x 146gb SAS RAID 0+1 | Red Hat 5.3 | Zimbra 6.0.10 Network Edition
    Test | VMware ESXi Whitebox | Phenom II Black 3.2ghz | 12gb RAM | 6x 1tb SATA RAID 0+1 | CentOS 5.4 | FOSS, Not in use now

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    LMStone's Avatar
    LMStone is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by quietas View Post
    Hi all. I've been evaluating Zimbra and we are getting closer. I'm narrowing down server hardware and need an opinion or 3. 250 users with about a 30% growth and 30gb now with it jumping up 40% yearly in storage.

    Dell 2950
    Suse 10 Enterprise
    2x Quad Core Xeon E5420
    16GB 667MHz (4x4GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
    PERC6i SAS RAID Controller
    2x 146gb 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI (RAID 1 for / partition)
    4x 146gb 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI (RAID 10 for /opt partition)
    Intel PRO 1000PT Dual Port 1GbE NIC, PCIe-4
    Redundant PSU

    It'll also have Backup Exec and NOD32 running.

    It's a beast right now, but will it run adequately as a primary mail server for the next 3 years?
    We have set up several Zimbra servers, some smaller, some larger.

    Assuming 64-bit SLES10, that config looks fine, but I might make two tweaks:

    Not sure you need 16GB; 8GB might do just fine. Just get the 2GB DIMMs so you can add more later if you need to.

    If you use the Archiving and Discovery Module, or if you allow your users big mailboxes, /opt will fill up sooner than you think.


    If you replace your 4x146 RAID10 with a 2x300 RAID1 (/opt), then you can add another 2x300RAID1 of slower drives mounted as /backup with /opt/zimbra/backup becoming a symlink to /backup.

    Since the drives are hot swap, this config will aid in disaster recovery as you could dismount and pull the backup RAID1 set, install it in another machine, and test restores.

    And if either RAID1 array failed totally, you would have essentially two bites at the apple to get a system back up and running with /opt and /opt/zimbra/backup on two separate RAID sets.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

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    Klug's Avatar
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    I'd say "overkill" for 250 users.

    As previously said, I think 8 GB is enough. One QuadCore should be enough too.
    If you really have a lot of new users each year, you'll be able to add another QuadCore and additional memory.

    Considering the 2950-III handles up to six 3.5" HD, I'd rather go with :
    . 2x300 GB SAS 15K RPM for / and /opt (or even 2x146GB)
    . 2x750 GB SATA2 7.2K RPM for HSM
    . 2x750 GB SATA2 7.2K RPM for backup

    HSM is the key to avoid spending lots of money on fast harddrives. Separating the main storage from HSM and from backup will help in case of problem (just like said previously).

    I don't think you need the additionnal Intel NIC (there's allready two gigabit ports in the server).
    I don't think running NOD32 on the server is a good idea either (see the post about it).

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    webman's Avatar
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    I agree, 16GB is slightly unnecessary. Our Dell 2950 has 8GB RAM and supports almost 1,000 users perfectly.
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    quietas is offline Elite Member
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    HSM? This is the first I have heard of this. I gather it is some sort of short term storage where newer files are stored?
    Culley
    Mail | Dell 2950III | 2x Quad Core 5420 | 8gb RAM | 6x 146gb SAS RAID 0+1 | Red Hat 5.3 | Zimbra 6.0.10 Network Edition
    Test | VMware ESXi Whitebox | Phenom II Black 3.2ghz | 12gb RAM | 6x 1tb SATA RAID 0+1 | CentOS 5.4 | FOSS, Not in use now

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    HSM is Hierarchical Storage Management.

    Once set, it moves automagically your "old" mails (MIME files and blobs) to another volume (usually made of bigger and cheaper disks) while the databases stay on the expensive/quick disks (for indexing, etc).

    It's made for "old" mails, not for the newest ones.

    There are infos about HSM in the docs, forum and wiki.
    Zimbra Server - Zimbra :: Wiki

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    quietas is offline Elite Member
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    One thing I noticed in the wiki is that 15k scsi is recommended over sata. Would it make much difference in my case or should I do mirrored 300gb scsi for HSM and mirrored 750 sata for backup?
    Culley
    Mail | Dell 2950III | 2x Quad Core 5420 | 8gb RAM | 6x 146gb SAS RAID 0+1 | Red Hat 5.3 | Zimbra 6.0.10 Network Edition
    Test | VMware ESXi Whitebox | Phenom II Black 3.2ghz | 12gb RAM | 6x 1tb SATA RAID 0+1 | CentOS 5.4 | FOSS, Not in use now

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    Chewie71 is offline Trained Alumni
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    HSM does not need high speed disk either. You should be safe putting it and backups on slower bigger SATA drives.

    Matt

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    You don't need fast disks for HSM. Less than 5% of the mails read by the users will be read from HSM : HSM, even on "slow" (7.2K RPM) disks, will always be faster than your users' PC.

    The "official" Zimbra Storage Worksheet used to calculate SAN needs on big setups says you should use RAID10 (or RAID1) on 15K RPM disks for main storage and that RAID5 on SATA 7.2K RPM disks is enough/OK for HSM and Backup.


    A live example, taken out of a mail on the Zimbra-EDU mailing-list :
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt
    As far as our setup, we have 5 mailbox servers and about 15000 users (3000 faculty/staff and 12000 students). It varies a bit, but generally they look like this.

    Primary Storage (FC SAN) - 30 days of user mail - 25-30GB per server in use
    Secondary (HSM) Storage (SATA SAN) - Everything older than 30 days - 200-250GB per server in use
    Backup Storage - 30 days of backups - 300-350GB per server in use

    HSM is a nice feature. We run it nightly. If you've never run it before, the first time will take awhile to archive off all the old stuff. But nightly maintenance after that is very quick. Usually just a few minutes...last night's took 10-12 minutes for us. We've watched the SAN activity, and our primary FC storage is always very busy, but the secondary SATA storage is very lightly used....so it works very well.

  10. #10
    quietas is offline Elite Member
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    OK. So somthing like this?

    / - (including /opt, mirrored 300gb SCSI RAID1 = 2 drives)
    /opt/zimbra/hsm - (mirrored 750gb SATA RAID1 = 2 drives)
    /opt/zimbra/backup - (mirrored 750gb SATA RAID1 = 2 drives)

    That would cover all 6 drive slots
    Culley
    Mail | Dell 2950III | 2x Quad Core 5420 | 8gb RAM | 6x 146gb SAS RAID 0+1 | Red Hat 5.3 | Zimbra 6.0.10 Network Edition
    Test | VMware ESXi Whitebox | Phenom II Black 3.2ghz | 12gb RAM | 6x 1tb SATA RAID 0+1 | CentOS 5.4 | FOSS, Not in use now

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