[plug] Mail Server/Gateway (Min Specs, other feedback)

Craig Ringer craig at postnewspapers.com.au
Thu Jun 10 15:23:40 WST 2004

Tim White wrote:
> I think that I may have finally convinced my dad to use a Linux box for 
> a gateway/mailserver.

Suggestion: Avoid migrating the family to it (except for the dialup and 
NAT, obviously) until you've been using the mail server and transproxy 
functions yourself for a while.

> I was wondering what the minimum specs for a box like this would be.

Depends a lot on your expectations.

> The box I hope to use has the following specs
> * AMD i486 (66 Bogomips. From memory a 133 Mhz)
> * 32Mb EDO ram (100Mb Swap)
> * 4Gb HDD (IDE)
> * 10Mbs Ethernet

You'd _really_ benefit from more RAM and a disk+chipset that supports 
DMA hard disk access. Have you considered picking up a PII/233 or 
similar second hand? A machine with a decent disk and 64+ MB of RAM will 
be a lot nicer to use. Sure, the one you have will do the job, but I 
doubt you'll get decent performance out of squid or your IMAP server.

> * Running Debian 3.0 with a 2.4.18(bf2.4) standard kernel. I will update 
> the box from the Debian security server before it is used.
> It currently hosts a webserver (testing for internal network) and a POP3 
> server. The pop3 server is Cyrus which I find slow

I'm confused. I run Cyrus here - admittedly on a dual Xeon - but it's 
lightning fast. Searches in particular are unbelievable. Is it possible 
you're running a really old version like 1.6 instead of 2.1 or 2.2 ?

> Are these specs enough for the 6-10 users?

I suspect you don't have enough RAM for good IMAP performance on a 
reasonable mail spool. I also wouldn't want to run squid on a box like 
that if I could avoid it, as you won't be able to cache much in RAM. Ick.

>         * IMAP server setup

Depends on your IMAP server and your MTA choice. I favour Cyrus IMAPd, 
but it's not particularly easy to get going. The authentication setup is 
  very flexible, but very complex and could be better documented.

Others here seem to like Dovecot.

> [1] I know that fetchmail will fetch from external pop servers and 
> deliver to local SMTP but how do i do sending of queued messages?

You'd need to do that in your MTA, not fetchmail. Google may help.

Craig Ringer

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