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  1. #1

    New guy << need help with enterprise level email server

    Hi all,

    I'm fairly new to Linux (as far as converting from msft with extreme prejudice, at least), and I've been doing a good bit of learning.

    I'm the 'Internet Technology Manager' at work, and we've been primarily a Microsoft house, aside from our mail server. I've inherited the admin duties of our email server.

    The person who built the current setup is no longer with the company, and while he did a great job in recent years getting everything set up, most of the documentation I have to work with is reactive, i.e. 'when this gets hosed, do this', that kind of thing.

    From what I've researched about heavy-traffic email systems over the years, Linux is the best/most stable solution, 'nuff said, and I'm on board with that.

    I've spent the past month getting very friendly with Linux, and I must say I'm impressed, although bewildered some of the time as I learn.

    As a Microsoft partner, we host hundreds of websites with IIS, manage our domains with various 2k3 and 2k8 servers, and I imagine that's not going away anytime soon since we're developing and encouraging .NET.

    The email server, though, is Linux, and we plan on keeping it that way, which I'm all for, although my skill and confidence level on that platform is low.

    Basically, if our off-site data center were to burn to the ground and we needed to rebuild from scratch, I'd be completely skunked to reconstruct what we have in place currently.

    I'm learning as fast as I can, and currently have 17 wrox/o'reilly/sam's books going at once, trying to catch up. My ultimate goal is to build an image that I can just drop on a new machine and get up and running.

    Our current setup, while acceptably stable, has some stuff on it that makes my eyebrow raise just a little, because I don't think we need some of the stuff I see installed there.

    Here's most of what we're set up with currently:

    Server: Debian
    MDA: dovecot
    MTA: postfix
    Spam: spamassassin/Maia Mailguard/(and I think I saw Razor there, too, but I'm not sure if we're really using it)
    monitoring: munin
    users and logins: MySql
    We use cron to log and manage events.

    I've been talking with my boss, and we're going to bring in a consultant contractor to assess and rebuild our current configuration, teach me the ins and outs that I'm missing, and maintain a relationship in the future for questions. I intend to document the new system fully with the intent to be able to educate and hand off to the appropriate team member for daily maintenance/monitoring.

    We're between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, and I'd love to hear recommendations for a great consultant to hire semilocally. We have hundreds of domains and thousands of mail boxes that we service, and that number seems to be growing exponentially. We deal with over 10 million transactions a day on our mail server. We're also considering a Barracuda as a first line of defense for spam filtering, so input that direction would be appreciated as well.

    I've recently purchased and set up three machines to sandbox and monkey around with, and I'm playing with set ups at this time.

    We're in the process of reconfiguring/updating our cabinet at the co-lo that we use to host our services. This next week we're meeting to discuss needs and wants to keep us going for the next three years, so new hardware is pending and up for input as well.

    Any input or direction from this forum is welcomed and encouraged. I look forward to hearing from you!


  2. #2
    Linux Engineer jledhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    North Carolina
    sounds like you have a good load on your plate.

    I would first grab a copy of everything inside /etc/postfix and copy it somewhere and examine the files. specifically and and examine any other file references. also coping it to another location would be a good start on a backup.

    as an open source advocate, I will say barracuda is all based on free software, it uses postfix, spamassasin, and clamav. so if you get a good grip on your current setup then try your hand at setting up a gateway. its not a difficult step from what you are doing now.

    for your sandbox, I would get either vmware workstation (not free) or vmware server to monkey around. its much easier to make changes and make images and get back up to a good working point to continue testing. I use vmware workstation for testing at work and it has made my life so much easier.

    for monitoring, does your co use any log management or snmp monitoring software, if so I would look into getting this added into that mix, it will make it much easier.

    I don't know where else to try and point you because it sounds like you have a good grip on the direction you are going. one thing that helped me dramatically when setting up mail servers was getting proficient on talking to my mail server with telnet telnet email - Google Search

    any other questions feel free to ask away. I like the debian postfix setup, not a big fan of exim (mostly because I have always used postfix)

    good luck

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