[Dovecot] Please advise on very fast search
stan at hardwarefreak.com
Wed Nov 16 18:36:12 EET 2011
On 11/16/2011 12:15 AM, Alexander Chekalin wrote:
> Hello, Stan,
>> This is why I recommended mbox in the first place. If your only writes
>> to these mailbox files are appends of new messages, mbox is the best
>> format by far. It's faster at appending than any other format, and it's
>> faster for searching than any other.
> I now seriously consider to use mdbox due to its nice self-regulation.
> After all it I believe mdbox should do file compression on its own, no
> cron scripts required.
mbox and mdbox each has strengths and weaknesses. mbox will compress
with a higher ratio than mdbox. You already have a nightly script that
moves all mail from the day into a new file. Piping that through gzip
or bzip2 is a no brainer. It'll add one line to your existing script,
if that. Dovecot will decompress the file transparently when you access
it via IMAP. And again since it's a single file searching it is much
faster. With mbox you will have a single file for each day of emails.
This seems ideal for archive purposes, one file per day.
mdbox does fully transparent de/compression which is nice. The downside
is that Dovecot does dbox compression on a per email basis, not a per
file basis. So your compression ratio will be much less than with mbox,
especially with bzip2 which works best on files over 900KB in size.
Most emails are less than 8KB. Using mdbox will yield multiple files
per day of emails instead of just one.
Either format is much better than maildir for archiving.
>> It's an archive. You're not going to use maildir so you don't need
>> random IOPS performance. Thus RAID5/6 are a much better fit for an
>> archive as you get better read performance, with more than adequate
>> write performance, and you use less disks. And as this is an archive,
>> you don't need real time automatic/transparent compression. Thus I
>> recommend something like:
>> 1. Debian 6 w/linux-image-2.6.39-bpo.2-amd64 or a custom rolled
>> 2.6.39 or later kernel
>> 2. hardware RAID5 w/large (2TB) SATA disks, 512B native sectors
>> e.g. MegaRAID SAS 9261-8i, 4 Seagate Constellation ES ST2000NM0011
>> Specify a strip size of 256KB for the array
>> Perma set /sys/block/sdX/read_ahead_kb to 512 so you're reading
>> ahead 1024 sectors at a time instead of the default of 256. This
>> will speed up your searches quite a bit.
>> 3. XFS filesystem on the RAID device, created with mkfs.xfs defaults
>> 4. mbox w/zlib plugin. Compress daily files each night with a script
>> 5. You don't need LVM with a good RAID card (or with mdraid). This
>> controller can expand the RAID5 up to 8 drives (up to 32 drives max
>> using SAS expanders)
> We are considering to get HP DL180G6 server for 8 or 14 drives bays
The P410 tops out at 8 drives, so get the 8 drive model. Start with 4 x
2TB drives in RAID5. Add 4 more drives when you need the capacity, and
when drive prices are back down to normal (see below).
> (base model price is somewhat equal, but additional drives adds up cost)
Especially right now in 2011. Flooding in Thailand, where 25% of the
world's drives are produced, has doubled the cost of all hard drives
worldwide. Now is a horrible time to buy spinning drives. I've read it
may be 12 months before prices start coming back down...
> with HP Smart Array P410 RAID controller (some servers are equipped with
> this controller by default) with 256 Mb battery-backed cache, but I'll
> check your suggestions!
The P410 should be fine for a dedicated archive server.
> What memory size should I plan in the server? You're talking about AMD64
> OS image, and 64-bit software are like to consume more memory that
> 32-bit, so looks like your talking about pretty huge RAM, and I don't
> believe it's necessary, or maybe I'm wrong?
The memory footprint of 64bit binaries is nothing to worry about. The
additional amount consumed is more than offset by the performance gained
with direct access to RAM above 4GB compared to the performance of PAE.
Keep in mind that 90% of your memory will be eaten by Linux buffer
cache. Your binaries will account for less than 5% of your
RAM consumption. If I understand correctly how you will use this
archive server, then 8GB should be plenty. 8GB is standard on the 8
drive DL180 G6.
> Problem is I have no experience with XFS and not sure I can tune it in
> the best way, so I'll go with mkfs.xfs defaults, I think.
With only 4 drives and using a P410 w/cache and RAID5, doing manual XFS
tuning isn't necessary for good performance, especially for an archive
application which is data heavy, not metadata heavy. Setting
sunit/swidth to match the RAID5 layout may increase performance slightly
due to stripe aligned writes, but not enough that I'd worry about it.
Just use the mkfs.xfs defaults. If you get the BBWC for the P410,
enable the controller write cache, and mount XFS with 'nobarrier'. This
will increase write performance quite a bit as fsyncs will complete
> Hope we'll see Dovecot 2.1.x stable soon, as I'd like to use fts plugins
> and 2.1 handle that much better, but I don't like the idea of use
> unstable in production.
Speaking of archive/search, did you take look at Enkive yet?
> Thank you for taking your time on my case,
You're welcome Alexander.
P.S. You may wish to implement dnswl.org ;)
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