Back in February, Jack Dausman posed the question of "How Much Free Space to Recommend on a Mail Server?" at his blog. The consensus was about 30% and it also depends on the drive activity. But I posted at the time that "We're at about 26% free and we are looking at either setting up a Linux Domino server for archiving mail to Network Attached Storage or just buying more physical disks. I prefer the archiving for performance reasons."
Jack responded with "Archiving onto a NAS is interesting, because NAS's are not normally recognized as robust enough to host databases. You'll have to post how well that works for you."
So here is a Show-N-Tell post about my experience setting this up. Since that time of being 26% free just 2 months ago, we're now about 21% free! When I got back to the office monday from the worship conference I had the xSeries in my cubicle. We ordered an xSeries 306m with Pentium 4 Processor 640 with EM64T (3.2 GHz 2M L2). I ordered RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4 to run on it. According to Technote 1231920, Domino 7.0.1 is supported on Update 3 of RHEL 4 or Update 2 with the GDB from Update 3 installed. No biggie, right?
After configuring the RAID1, I loaded the OS that shipped with the server. This was, unfortunately, the base release. Off to RedHat's site, I snagged the Update 3 only to later find out that IBM does not have a RAID Controller driver for Update 3 to run on the xSeries 306m. There was one for Update 2, so I finally got that loaded and found the latest GDB and installed it.
The Domino server install took about 2 minutes! This machine really flies (as it should). I can't wait until IBM releases a 64-bit version of Domino. Since we had been testing this on an older system (PIII 650...), I didn't have to configure anything with Domino.
Now to the cool part - archiving the mail to our NetApp NAS appliance! Basically, I just edited the /etc/fstab file in Linux to include a line to mount the filesystem on boot. I came back and opened my archive and it was really fast. I mean really fast! I know that I was the only one on the system, but since this will be an archive-only server there will likely not be more than a couple of people with their databases open at once. Navigating through folders is rather quick as well. So last night I archived our IT Staff's databases. We currently have about 2.5 GB in archives now. I can't wait until I get to the 3-5+ GB mail files. I'm hoping to reclaim at least 35% of my entire mail store (conservatively). At that rate I should regain over 17% putting my iSeries storage back down to around 60% utilization. Oh, and I'll let Bruce know if I have any problems!
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