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Vol. 2 No. 5 July 2003

Creating a large e-mail system

A few years ago, I helped an ISP redesign its e-mail storage to strengthen the application's availability, scalability and recovery. Many of the steps we took were to transform a monolithic storage design into a more flexible and scalable system, one that provided higher levels of availability and performance that may be transferable to other large e-mail storage environments. At the time, the ISP was growing rapidly, adding nearly 10,000 new accounts a day. To keep the system running, the staff was constantly adding more hardware and servers to handle the increase in database traffic and more storage. It was obvious the current architecture would soon hit a wall as to the number of users it could service. The redesign needed to address these three critical areas: Lessons learned Although most people aren't creating an ISP-size mail system, the e-mail project's goals and design considerations may overlap with many companies' plans for their next storage system. Plan for explosive growth: The old monolithic e-mail quickly became ...

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