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jason-mac

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I have a new xserve and am thinking of buying Kerio as mail/calendaring system. We have 350 Mac users that use Entourage and we will set them up as Exchange accounts on Entourage. We want to allow our users to have all their email on the server and want to allow for growth over the next few years. I'm thinking of working out the space needed based on 5GB per user.

I could buy new bigger hard drives for the xserve or use some form of external RAID. I'm looking at all the storage option and getting very confused.

What are the recommendations for how to set up the xserve as a Kerio mail server. If I use RAID, what type of controller, what type of RAID, what size drives? Any help would be appreciated.
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cloud2

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If you have some money to spare then check out: http://www.activestorage.com/activesan.php
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j.a.duke

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You can install an eSATA card in your xServe and connect it to a number of different external RAID 5 units. You could even get a pair of these units, populate them with identical drives and mirror them (for total overkill).

I've had good luck with the following RAID 5 boxes:
Wiebetech RTX400-QR, 4-bay RAID subsystem, FW800/FW400/eSATA/USB, 0GB (user configurable; accepts SATA drives), US power plug 35420-2430-0000 $899.00

You can get a better price from a reseller-here's the Google Products search results.

TowerSTOR TS4CT - 4 Bay SATA to USB 2.0 / eSATA / 1394a / 1394b RAID Enclosure
I've purchased it at NewEgg, currently $399.99.

If you have 350 users, I'd suggest more than 5 gigs per, as you get a lot more than that with other services (like GMail) and, if this is a business, you want to make sure that email works flawlessly so people can keep as much email as practical on the server.

For a SATA card, the one that I've found works best (well, just plain works) for my xServes is the FirmTek SeriTek/2ME4-E. They have a 2-port card, but it doesn't work in the xServe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post and I'll answer with what I've found works for my environment.

Cheers,
Jon

[Updated on: Wed, 23 February 2011 19:09]

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My IT Indy

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for 350 users I would highly recommend a SAS-based raid array and not SATA. You will need fast I/O for your data store.

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My IT Indy
Kerio Certified Reseller and Hosted Provider
http://www.myitindy.com
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elias

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jason-mac wrote on Wed, 23 February 2011 02:05
What are the recommendations for how to set up the xserve as a Kerio mail server. If I use RAID, what type of controller, what type of RAID, what size drives? Any help would be appreciated.

You might do some searches in the forums as there have been a lot of discussions about this over the last few years. I can't help you with your xserve as we're strictly a PC shop, but I can give you some general advice on what I and others have experienced.

First, Kerio's performance is almost entirely I/O bound. CPU and server memory count for almost nothing; to ensure that your users get a good experience, invest the majority of your hardware budget to the fastest disk subsystem you can afford. Other people have reported good results with other configs, but here's my general recommendation:

1. Buy a high-end RAID controller with as much read/write cache as you can find.
2. Use 15k RPM SAS drives (for 350 users, I'd start with at least 8).
3. Use RAID 10; don't use RAID 5.

I have 55 very heavy mail users and this is the exact configuration I use with good results.

-Elias
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id t

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jason-mac wrote on Wed, 23 February 2011 11:05
I have a new xserve and am thinking of buying Kerio as mail/calendaring system.


Did you bought it before January 31st?

I would just add this: stay away from XSan (not supported by Kerio and too slow for your (any) load)
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sfpete

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You really can't go wrong with a Promise Vtrak E-class RAID connected via fibre channel.

-Blazing fast.

-Exemplary build quality, reliability, and stability.

-Fully Apple supported.

-(very good) 24 x 7 phone support.

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marook

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Promise or ActiveStorage.
Active Storage is actually faster, and build by old Apple people - only for Apple hardware, or that's the focus anyway.

Fiber connection, SAS drives and you have a cool solution - but we still run our 400 users, 400GB mailstore on a new XServe with two mirrored SATA discs.. :-/

Regards,

Jakob Peterhänsel
Consultant - Humac A/S

Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC)
AppleSeed/CQF member since 1998
Kerio Messaging Partner
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GlennK

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The internal drives on an xserve are a lot faster than you think. They are SAS. Set them to Mirror RAID and you will do pretty well. Not positive about 350 users, but I wouldn't be surprised if you'd be fine.

[Updated on: Fri, 25 February 2011 20:03]

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My IT Indy

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GlennK wrote on Fri, 25 February 2011 14:03
The internal drives on an xserve are a lot faster than you think. They are SAS. Set them to Mirror RAID and you will do pretty well. Not positive about 350 users, but I wouldn't be surprised if you'd be fine.


Unless you specifically ordered SAS drives, they are regular SATA drives. Apple System Profiler may say they are SAS drives, but they're not.

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My IT Indy
Kerio Certified Reseller and Hosted Provider
http://www.myitindy.com
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GlennK

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Actually I think you're right, although it is very confusing. Anyway, they can handle quite a bit without going external.
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jason-mac

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I don't think we can afford the SAS RAID option. How about external RAID 10 with 7200rpm SATA drives? If this gets too expensive then management will have us looking at hosted Exchange.
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My IT Indy

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Well, that *should* work okay, depends on how many drives and what RAID you use.

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My IT Indy
Kerio Certified Reseller and Hosted Provider
http://www.myitindy.com
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marook

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jason-mac wrote on Mon, 28 February 2011 13:44
Thanks for all the suggestions. I don't think we can afford the SAS RAID option. How about external RAID 10 with 7200rpm SATA drives? If this gets too expensive then management will have us looking at hosted Exchange.


Let me re-post our setup:

XServe 2x2.26GHz Quad Core
18GB RAM

Runs on internal Software RAID on two 2TB SATA disks.

Besides Kerio, it also runs InterMapper & WebHelpDesk - all for our ~400 users, on 20 locatios in the Nordics & Germany.
It was running on a 3 year older XServe, and that began to get a bit slow, but this new one runs smoothly.
For mail, we mostly run Apple Mail and I would guess about 40% uses iPhones as well via ActiveSync.

InterMapper is polling 400+ networkdevices every 30 sec, and is also receiving sFlow data from 3 core switches.

So in your case, running this as a pure mailserver, should be No problem...
Just make sure you have RAM in the server.. Wink

Ohh, and our mailstore is about 400GB... backed up by Kerio to the 3. disk in the server, and moved to tape by PresStore every night...

Regards,

Jakob Peterhänsel
Consultant - Humac A/S

Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC)
AppleSeed/CQF member since 1998
Kerio Messaging Partner
jason-mac

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The thing that worries me about using an internal drive is that we may fill it too quickly if we have everybody leaving mail on the server. We have 1TB internal drives. We could get 2TB internals but I think they may be too small within a couple of years.
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