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*nix Thread, Zimbra server specks in Technical; OK, I am trying to get some rough figures to put forward to SMT on the cost of implementing a ...
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    MicrodigitUK's Avatar
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    Zimbra server specks

    OK, I am trying to get some rough figures to put forward to SMT on the cost of implementing a new Zimbra server.

    I have an old server that could be used but would like to know what other people are running it on?

    How dose it perform when virtualized? Only reason I ask Is that I want to make sure that It can be easily moved if new hardware becomes available.

    To give you a rough idea: We have around 300 members of staff and just under 2000 students
    What size storage do people have for a modern day mail box and calendar system for that number of users?

    The old server in question is a HP ProLiant ML370 G3 with 2* 3.06GHz Xeons and 3GB RAM. Will this do or not?

    Is virtualizing it on top of that pushing it a bit?
    Last edited by MicrodigitUK; 25th January 2010 at 03:39 PM.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    The spec looks OK, but as you've said physical disk space and redundancy are the more important aspects. I would be looking at a RAID5 configuration with three new physical disks or more.

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    I've found it's pretty easy to move the Zimbra install from one server to another.

    We had Zimbra running on a physical box for around a year, and then virtualised it with a clean install of Ubuntu Server and then moved the Zimbra install to that.

    I wouldn't virtualise it using the hardware you've mentioned. If you run it natively you should be okay depending on the disk configuration and maximum concurrent users.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    New version out soon, taking into account who has just purchased it, it should be optimized for virtulization.

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    Stick some more RAM in it (Java loves memory) - with that amount of users it will probably sit comfortably with 6-8GB in total. Try to avoid RAID5 unless you want it to crawl (as mentioned in the requirements).

    Disk space would depend on what you plan on using it for (just mail+calendar, or briefcase/documents etc) and how generous your user quotas are going to be. For example, if you give staff 500MB and students 50MB, take into account OS + logs etc, you'll be creeping close to 300GB.

    2x 500GB disks in a RAID1 configuration would probably be adequate, but use LVM if you think you'll need more space in the future. There's lots of IO with Zimbra, so the fastest 15k SAS disks you can get would make it happy.

    A little bedtime reading for you Also - notes for virtualisation.
    Last edited by webman; 25th January 2010 at 09:28 PM.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Hmm I don't consider the overheads of RAID5 to be significantly greater than RAID1. I think the guide is referring to the temp file storage, but why this can't be stored on a RAID array as well is a bit of a mystery to me.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Hmm I don't consider the overheads of RAID5 to be significantly greater than RAID1. I think the guide is referring to the temp file storage, but why this can't be stored on a RAID array as well is a bit of a mystery to me.
    There's a huge hit in write performance on RAID5 (compared to RAID1/0 - it's got to duplicate the written data and do it's parity magic), and with a system like Zimbra there is a lot of writing to disk.

    With hundreds of concurrent client connections expected to be supported at one time, lots of MySQL activity and logs it all adds up.

    From the horse's mouth...

    Zimbra does NOT recommend RAID 5 for the database and Lucene volumes (RAID 5
    has poor write performance, and as such is generally not recommended by MySQL,
    Oracle, and other database vendors for anything but read-only datastores. We
    have seen order of magnitude performance degradation for the embedded Zimbra
    database running on RAID 5!).
    I'm assuming a single-server setup, so separating those filesystems from the rest just for the sake of using RAID5 seems counter-intuitive.

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    It does make you wonder then how the likes of Yahoo manage/run their mail system which uses Zimbra. I've also seen plenty of MS Exchange servers running on RAID5 so I am failing to see the difference.

    Personally in a large user base situation I would host the database and the data store on two physical servers for the best performance.

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    webman's Avatar
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    I would imagine places like Yahoo would have lots of caching and lots of distributed data systems for storage, web access etc. AFAIK Yahoo! Mail isn't strictly Zimbra, it just uses a lot of technology from it.

    It's not really fair to compare MSexChange to Zimbra when it comes to disk usage - they're entirely different pieces of software (using different components) running on different operating systems using different filesystems.

    From my point of view, Zimbra would have no reason to warn against it, unless it actually caused problems. That's enough for me (and hundreds of others) not to use it.

    But yes, for very large installations it would be wise to split the roles over multiple boxes. I use "very large" as a fairly loose term

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