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Old 01-03-2008, 04:09 PM
Ugo Bellavance
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

Hi,

I will probably have to design an e-mail (and other components)
infrastructure for a small ISP soon (WISP).


I'm doing some research to determine which components would be best to
offer e-mail services to their client and allow the staff to manage
accounts easily.


I usually use virtual machines a lot for isolation and easy backups and
migration (when a hardware node is underpowered, it is easy to migrate
one or more virtual machines to another hardware node easily).


I have looked at iSCSI and drbd for high-availability of the storage:
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/82284/san-on-the-cheap/page1.html.


This looks like it should be doing a great job of high availability storage.

For mail server, I guess I should look at an MTA and IMAP/POP server
that supports LDAP and/or MySQL for users. Postfix should be a good
choice for MTA, as I know it (at least a little, but I know sendmail
better). For IMAP/POP, I'm not sure... Would dovecot be sufficient, or
should I try cyrus. I'd rather use components that are available for
base or extras repository (or rpmforge). I think that squirrelmail and
horde would do a good job for webmail.


There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web
servers, mtas, but what about IMAP/POP? linux-HA? MySQL replication
should be enough, I guess. Or maybe linux-HA as well. I wonder if I
should add GFS to the mix to have multiple IMAP/POP servers use the same
storage. Or maybe IMAP proxies?


Any insights welcome .

Ugo

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:00 PM
"Gary Richardson"
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

It's been awhile since I looked into it, but I recommend outsourcing your email.

Companies like fusemail (http://www.fusemail.com/solutions/resellers.html
) will give you accounts at $0.69/month/account for a 1GB account (last time I checked anyway). They provide an API and a dashboard for managing it. They also handle backups, I believe (read the fine print before you trust me). I think there is spam filtering and anti-virus built in too.


On Jan 3, 2008 9:09 AM, Ugo Bellavance <ugob@lubik.ca> wrote:

Hi,

* * * *I will probably have to design an e-mail (and other components)
infrastructure for a small ISP soon (WISP).

* * * *I'm doing some research to determine which components would be best to

offer e-mail services to their client and allow the staff to manage
accounts easily.

* * * *I usually use virtual machines a lot for isolation and easy backups and
migration (when a hardware node is underpowered, it is easy to migrate

one or more virtual machines to another hardware node easily).

* * * *I have looked at iSCSI and drbd for high-availability of the storage:

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/82284/san-on-the-cheap/page1.html.

This looks like it should be doing a great job of high availability storage.

* * * *For mail server, I guess I should look at an MTA and IMAP/POP server

that supports LDAP and/or MySQL for users. *Postfix should be a good
choice for MTA, as I know it (at least a little, but I know sendmail
better). *For IMAP/POP, I'm not sure... *Would dovecot be sufficient, or

should I try cyrus. *I'd rather use components that are available for
base or extras repository (or rpmforge). *I think that squirrelmail and
horde would do a good job for webmail.

* * * *There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web

servers, mtas, but what about IMAP/POP? linux-HA? *MySQL replication
should be enough, I guess. *Or maybe linux-HA as well. *I wonder if I
should add GFS to the mix to have multiple IMAP/POP servers use the same

storage. *Or maybe IMAP proxies?

* * * *Any insights welcome .

Ugo

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Old 01-04-2008, 12:25 AM
Fajar Priyanto
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

On Friday 04 January 2008 00:09:06 Ugo Bellavance wrote:
> I think that squirrelmail and
> horde would do a good job for webmail.
>
> There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web
> servers, mtas, but what about IMAP/POP? linux-HA? MySQL replication
> should be enough, I guess. Or maybe linux-HA as well. I wonder if I
> should add GFS to the mix to have multiple IMAP/POP servers use the same
> storage. Or maybe IMAP proxies?
>
> Any insights welcome .

Hi Ugo,
Congrats on your plan opening the ISP.
For webmail, a professional touch would be nice for your customer. Instead of
using plain squirrelmail, try using http://www.nutsmail.com/ instead.

AFAIK, redundancy for mail server seldom uses linux-ha/any other failover
stuffs. It is most common to use 'backup MX' in DNS settings. So, when the
main server in unreachable, the sender mail server would try to the secondary
MX through DNS query.

--
Fajar Priyanto | Reg'd Linux User #327841 | Linux tutorial
http://linux2.arinet.org
08:25:18 up 51 min, 2.6.22-14-generic GNU/Linux
Let's use OpenOffice. http://www.openoffice.org
The real challenge of teaching is getting your students motivated to learn.
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:30 AM
Ugo Bellavance
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

Fajar Priyanto wrote:

On Friday 04 January 2008 00:09:06 Ugo Bellavance wrote:

I think that squirrelmail and
horde would do a good job for webmail.

There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web
servers, mtas, but what about IMAP/POP? linux-HA? MySQL replication
should be enough, I guess. Or maybe linux-HA as well. I wonder if I
should add GFS to the mix to have multiple IMAP/POP servers use the same
storage. Or maybe IMAP proxies?

Any insights welcome .


Hi Ugo,
Congrats on your plan opening the ISP.


Thanks, but I will only be doing some work for them, I'm not opening the
ISP myself...


For webmail, a professional touch would be nice for your customer. Instead of
using plain squirrelmail, try using http://www.nutsmail.com/ instead.


Good Idea

AFAIK, redundancy for mail server seldom uses linux-ha/any other failover
stuffs. It is most common to use 'backup MX' in DNS settings. So, when the
main server in unreachable, the sender mail server would try to the secondary
MX through DNS query.


That's the easy part, but where do you store the e-mail once you have
accepted it? If the pop/IMAP server is down for a while, people won't
be able to retreive their e-mail...


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Old 01-04-2008, 02:34 AM
Ugo Bellavance
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

Gary Richardson wrote:
It's been awhile since I looked into it, but I recommend outsourcing
your email.


Companies like fusemail
(http://www.fusemail.com/solutions/resellers.html
<http://www.fusemail.com/solutions/resellers.html>) will give you
accounts at $0.69/month/account for a 1GB account (last time I checked
anyway). They provide an API and a dashboard for managing it. They also
handle backups, I believe (read the fine print before you trust me). I
think there is spam filtering and anti-virus built in too.


Good idea, but that means no consulting fees for me .

I'll consider it, that is a fairly good idea.

Regards,

Ugo

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Old 01-04-2008, 02:48 AM
Fajar Priyanto
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

On Friday 04 January 2008 10:30:32 Ugo Bellavance wrote:
> > AFAIK, redundancy for mail server seldom uses linux-ha/any other failover
> > stuffs. It is most common to use 'backup MX' in DNS settings. So, when
> > the main server in unreachable, the sender mail server would try to the
> > secondary MX through DNS query.
>
> That's the easy part, but where do you store the e-mail once you have
> accepted it? If the pop/IMAP server is down for a while, people won't
> be able to retreive their e-mail...

The secondary MX will temporarily store the mails. And when the primary server
is up again, it will get all the mail from the secondary. Yes. there will be
a down time in terms of mail service for users.

Maybe others can recommend a better best practice for this.
--
Fajar Priyanto | Reg'd Linux User #327841 | Linux tutorial
http://linux2.arinet.org
10:48:39 up 3:14, 2.6.22-14-generic GNU/Linux
Let's use OpenOffice. http://www.openoffice.org
The real challenge of teaching is getting your students motivated to learn.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:24 AM
William Warren
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

ah but if you give them a quality product(even outsourced) and it works
for them while you won't see the extra fees up front it will pay off in
terms of they will call on you later for more help AND you will get
referrals from others.


Ugo Bellavance wrote:

Gary Richardson wrote:
It's been awhile since I looked into it, but I recommend outsourcing
your email.


Companies like fusemail
(http://www.fusemail.com/solutions/resellers.html
<http://www.fusemail.com/solutions/resellers.html>) will give you
accounts at $0.69/month/account for a 1GB account (last time I checked
anyway). They provide an API and a dashboard for managing it. They
also handle backups, I believe (read the fine print before you trust
me). I think there is spam filtering and anti-virus built in too.


Good idea, but that means no consulting fees for me .

I'll consider it, that is a fairly good idea.

Regards,

Ugo

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Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and
every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt
condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their
righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.


-- carpe ductum -- "Grab the tape"
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Linux user #322099
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:55 AM
Christopher Chan
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

Fajar Priyanto wrote:

On Friday 04 January 2008 10:30:32 Ugo Bellavance wrote:

AFAIK, redundancy for mail server seldom uses linux-ha/any other failover
stuffs. It is most common to use 'backup MX' in DNS settings. So, when
the main server in unreachable, the sender mail server would try to the
secondary MX through DNS query.

That's the easy part, but where do you store the e-mail once you have
accepted it? If the pop/IMAP server is down for a while, people won't
be able to retreive their e-mail...


The secondary MX will temporarily store the mails. And when the primary server
is up again, it will get all the mail from the secondary. Yes. there will be
a down time in terms of mail service for users.


Maybe others can recommend a better best practice for this.


Yes. No backup mx. You ought to have a cluster of mail servers to accept
mails for your domain if you need HA. Otherwise, let incoming emails
queue at their sending hosts as setting up a 'backup' mx that will only
hold the email and then pass them onto the 'primary' is really pointless
and only serves to 1) delay delivery of mail and 2) delay notification
of mail delay to the sending party. It is no longer acceptable today to
wait for a week before notifying the sender of non-delivery. The idea of
a backup mx no longer fits today's communications.

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Old 01-04-2008, 06:27 AM
Bill Campbell
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

On Thu, Jan 03, 2008, Ugo Bellavance wrote:
>Hi,

>I will probably have to design an e-mail (and other components)
>infrastructure for a small ISP soon (WISP).

See my previous post on sizing mail servers. The setup there is
in use at several of our regional ISP customers, and has been
very solid. It's a design that has evolved since we started
building and selling systems for ISPs in 1994.

>I'm doing some research to determine which components would be best to
>offer e-mail services to their client and allow the staff to manage
>accounts easily.

There are various tools available to do this. I have set up very
restricted webmin configurations so the support people at the ISP
could do the necessary things easily with minimal chance of major
screwups (after I've patched some things in webmmin that allowed
it to remove /home when somebody typed in a bad directory :-).

>I usually use virtual machines a lot for isolation and easy backups and
>migration (when a hardware node is underpowered, it is easy to migrate one
>or more virtual machines to another hardware node easily).

>I have looked at iSCSI and drbd for high-availability of the storage:
>http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/82284/san-on-the-cheap/page1.html.

>This looks like it should be doing a great job of high availability
>storage.

>For mail server, I guess I should look at an MTA and IMAP/POP server that
>supports LDAP and/or MySQL for users. Postfix should be a good choice for
>MTA, as I know it (at least a little, but I know sendmail better). For
>IMAP/POP, I'm not sure... Would dovecot be sufficient, or should I try
>cyrus. I'd rather use components that are available for base or extras
>repository (or rpmforge). I think that squirrelmail and horde would do a
>good job for webmail.

The systems we build have postfix/amavise/clamav, courier-imap,
and usually horde/imp for webmail. I personally don't like Cyrus
as I prefer to use standard Maildir which allows easy clustering
for mail delivery and IMAP/POP access.

>There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web servers,
>mtas, but what about IMAP/POP? linux-HA? MySQL replication should be
>enough, I guess. Or maybe linux-HA as well. I wonder if I should add GFS
>to the mix to have multiple IMAP/POP servers use the same storage. Or
>maybe IMAP proxies?
>
> Any insights welcome .

I hope you're not charging your client for your learning curve.

Bill
--
INTERNET: bill@celestial.com Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/ PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
FAX: (206) 232-9186 Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820; (206) 236-1676

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and
hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins.
-- H.L. Mencken, 1923
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:44 AM
Ralph Angenendt
 
Default Mail server setup for small ISP

Gary Richardson wrote:
> It's been awhile since I looked into it, but I recommend outsourcing your
> email.

Erks. I wonder why *anyone* in his sane mind would do so (okay, here it
is smallish ISP but I - as a customer - trust my ISP to handle my mail
and would get another ISP as soon as I knew that it is outsourcing mail).

>> For mail server, I guess I should look at an MTA and IMAP/POP
>> server
>> that supports LDAP and/or MySQL for users. Postfix should be a good
>> choice for MTA, as I know it (at least a little, but I know sendmail
>> better).

Then why not use sendmail? Once it is configured properly, maintaining
users is the same as with other MTAs.

>> For IMAP/POP, I'm not sure... Would dovecot be sufficient, or
>> should I try cyrus. I'd rather use components that are available for
>> base or extras repository (or rpmforge). I think that squirrelmail and
>> horde would do a good job for webmail.

I've heard that dovecot scales pretty good. If you want to be on the
safe side, cyrus probably scales way beyond what you need, but is also
harder to maintain.

>> There shoudn't be any troubles having some redundancy for DNS, web
>> servers, mtas, but what about IMAP/POP?

If you're already thinking about drbd - why not share the imap store
also? And: There still is the Cyrus Murder for bigger setups, which
allows for flexibility within IMAP frontend and backend servers.

>> Or maybe IMAP proxies?

See <http://cyrusimap.web.cmu.edu/twiki/bin/view/Cyrus/CyrusCluster>
which should answer most of your questions regarding HA within an imap
setup.

Cheers,

Ralph
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