[Dovecot] best practises for mail systems

Henrique Santos Fernandes sf.rique at gmail.com
Tue Jun 5 16:02:47 EEST 2012

We once try to use similar solution as your first.

3 servers for LVS -HA

This master server redirect users for 2 or 3 dovecot backends..

The mail storage were maildir ontop of OCFS2

Our problem were that OCFS2 were too slow. We could not handle many users.

So we took an step back and now use only user one server.

But still thinking in go back to the first one. with LVS

When using LVS try to sticky user to the same backend, LVs can do ths by
source ip.

Where i work we have problens on testign storage. If you have any advices
for testing disk performance, i will be thankfull.

I wil be glad to answer anything else.


On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM, Костырев Александр Алексеевич <
a.kostyrev at serverc.ru> wrote:

> I think LVS is just fine and it is not a SPOF 'cause it is actually 2
> servers:
> active master --> and standby slave.
> LVS supports real time replication of connections from master to slave,
> so if master dies slave knows which IP was connected to which dovecot
> server.
> I'm more worried about right design of mailstorage.. should I use some
> cluster fs with all mail of all users
> or should I split mailstorage across servers and somehow avoid long
> downtime if one of servers goes down.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: dovecot-bounces at dovecot.org [mailto:dovecot-bounces at dovecot.org] On
> Behalf Of Matthias-Christian Ott
> Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 11:28 PM
> To: dovecot at dovecot.org
> Subject: Re: [Dovecot] best practises for mail systems
> On 2012-06-05 05:14, Костырев Александр Алексеевич wrote:
> > On each host system we created one VM and passed through 3x2TB disks
> into it.
> >
> >
> >
> > In guests vms on top of this disks we made XFS and fired up glusterfs
> with distributed replicated volumes for our mailstorage.
> >
> > so it looks like this:
> >
> >
> >
> > vm1    replicate     vm2
> >
> > disk1 ------------> disk4
> >
> > disk2 ------------> disk5
> >
> > disk3 ------------> disk6
> >
> >
> >
> > in each vm we mounted glusterfs and pointed dovecot to that dir for mail
> creation (as ltmp) and imap4 user access.
> >
> > also we use exim as smtp.
> >
> >
> >
> > So, with glusterfs as mailstorage we can go for LVS to load balancing
> for exim and dovecot.
> >
> > so wherenever one of host systems (hence one of mail vms) goes down,
> users don't notice that
> >
> > 'cause LVS points them to working smtp and imap4 servers
> >
> > and they get their mail 'cause of glusterfs.
> > [...]
> > Cons:
> >
> > - not quite sure if glusterfs is production ready solution 'cause I've
> experienced split-brains during setting it up
> >
> > - IO performance issue. Though we didn't yet run any io tests, but
> glusterfs uses fuse to mount on clients. And guys on #gluster told me
> writing to the glusterfs mount will not be strictly local io.
> I'm not familiar with LVS, but from the project description it seems
> that you need a "front server" that does the load balancing, so you
> either have to run at least two of these servers in parallel or add to
> your cons that you introduced a single point of failure. But you
> mentioned that you only have two servers, so you really can do this.
> I would rather ensure high availability by running the two servers as
> masters and using either IP address takeover or DNS failover (with
> dynamic DNS) and either use Dovecot's replication (I haven't tested it
> yet and I'm not sure what happens in case of IP address takeover) or a
> file system that can handle these kinds of errors (e.g. Coda). You could
> do load balancing via round-robin DNS. This only protects you against
> the failure of single machine and because IMAP sessions are not
> replicated between the servers, connections will get reset if one server
> fails, but it's cost-effective and uses software that already exists.
> Regards,
> Matthias-Christian

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