[unisog] OT - e-mail for students
Darden, Patrick S.
darden at armc.org
Mon Sep 5 13:01:35 GMT 2005
My recommendation is Squirrelmail, a webmail package that has all the
features you could need, plus it is highly configurable. It is PHP based,
and is very expandible. We have used it for several years for our webmail
We use it like this:
=================---------head 1 running squirrelmail
| Imap Server |---------head 2 running squirrelmail
| big fileserver|---------head 3 running squirrelmail ===load balancer
| gig-e |---------head 4 running squirrelmail ===backup load
================|---------head 5 running squirrelmail
1. we use inbound and outbound gateways that scan for virii.
2. each squirrelmail head supports 1 simultaneous user per meg
so 4GB gets you ~4000 simultaneous users. YMMV.
3. if you are using https you will likely be cpu-bound
instead of memory bound.
4. our load balancer is LVS and Heartbeat at
5. we have quotas, and attachment size limitations;
these have saved our bacon many times! Large
attachments can really quagmire your antivirus.
6. your fileserver should be a monster, and you
might want a second duplicate one that mirrors
the primary in case of failure. (Snap NAS boxes
with Enterprise Data Replication rock, as do
Network Appliance boxes). We use a Snap 18000
and some 14000s in several apps.
7. IMAP eliminates file locking problems (e.g. nfs horrors).
8. directory planning is a good idea. e.g. parent
directories of a, b, c, d, e.... with subdirs
of a, b, c, d, e.... That way you can move,
prune, etc. more easily, plus you never have too
long of a lookup (having too many items in a dir
can really cause slowdowns).
9. we use RH Linux for all of our servers. We
batten them down, and allow only ssh, http,
and outgoing imap/dns/smtp.
From: Ken Connelly [mailto:Ken.Connelly at uni.edu]
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 4:46 PM
To: unisog list
Subject: [unisog] OT - e-mail for students
Slightly off-topic, but please pass this on to a relevant mail admin if
you think appropriate.
We're a mid-sized .edu (~13,000 students) and are looking for doing
something with their e-mail to improve performance and appeal. Students
as a group seem to think a web-based client is the only way to deal with
their e-mail. I disagree, but that's why I'm asking...
I'm looking for experiences, good or bad, of admins who have done
student e-mail on a unix platform with a web-based client as the primary
(or even only) access to the mail. We need reasonable performance and a
somewhat featureful client (folders on server, easily distinguish
seen/unseen messages, etc.) If you can share what you've done in this
vein that was successful, great. Or if you can give pointers as to
things to avoid, that would be appreciated as well.
Answer directly if you (and the list moderators?) prefer. Thanks!
Ken Connelly Systems and Operations Manager, ITS Network Services
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0121
email: Ken.Connelly at uni.edu
phone: (319) 273-5850 fax: (319) 273-7373
It's much more important to know what you don't know than what you do know!
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