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Sun Microsystems

Searching for a Solaris Mail Server? 25

pipeb0mb asks: "The company I work for is looking to update our mail server. Currently, the hardware is a Sun Enterprise 450. It was to be used with iPlanet 5.01 (the bastard child of iPlanet, Sun 'SIMS' and Netscape Messaging Server). Unfortunately, iPlanet just will not be more precise, it won't even INSTALL! iPlanet support is less than stellar. In the wake of this discovery, the mail service being utilized is SIMS 3.5 on a 250. However, it is old, and we are beyond capacity on users (we're up to 8000). To make it even more complicated, we need some additional features for our server?" The additional feature list isn't all that long, and it's fairly reasonble. Hit the link to check it out and feel free to offer suggestions, as always.

"Here's what our server needs to support:

  • http interface (for webmail)
  • IMAP
  • POP3
  • SMTP
  • Relay filtering, both on the user level and the server level
  • content filtering (optional)
  • Web based management
and, most important of all
  • multiple domain ready.

Again, it must be a Solaris it 2.6 or 8, preferably 8. So Slashdot, whaddya think? Any ideas?"

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Searching for a Solaris Mail Server?

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  • I'm also not posting anonymously. And all I can say is, flipflap, you are a fucking idiot. Read the Header... This is, "Ask Slashdot". This is a place for Slashdot readers to come together and dicuss/ask about other readers opinions on a variety of topics. As a sysadmin, I'm very interested in this top of discussion. If you'll read the questions, he asked about integrating several services. He didn't just ask, "How do I serve mail?".
    If your only advice is RTFM, then why don't you go back to your l33t IRC channels, and leave the rest of the helpful, dedicated, interested members of the Slashdot community in peace.
  • by BJH ( 11355 )
    Sun no longer sells 2.6 (at least here in Japan). We tried to order two new servers, and they told us we could have 7 or 8, and that's it.

  • by Jethro ( 14165 )
    Um, I wouldn't use Solaris 8 in a production environment.

    In fact, I'd probably not use Solaris 7 in a production environment. Well... maybe I _would_ use 7, but I'd keep a VERY CLOSE EYE on it.

    8 is too new, and it's also significantly WEIRD. Go with 2.6 if you want that legendary Solaris stability. Make SURE you install ALL THE RECOMMENDED PATCHES.

  • A very good package that does it all is Communigate []. I've used it before, and I really liked it. Commercial, but very nice. Handles really large loads like a dream...

  • Sendmail just released a new product not so long ago which fits your bill perfectly. Sendmail Advanced Message Server. It's priced at $3/mailbox. I bought it myself (well, the company actually) but haven't had the time to upgrade our mail server yet.
  • I would have to agree with the CGPro recommendation. It's simple to install (just pkgadd it) and it runs with no configuration. Configuration is simple as well, all done through the web interface. It supports all sorts of protocols, and it handles load very well. We are still small (600 domains, 2000 users) but it only uses 0.6% of CPU max, and hardly any RAM.
  • Try Syntegra's IntraStore. I have no idea what it costs, but it's heavy-duty. They have a try-and-buy at:

    They supply if free for Linux (up to 250 users): l

  • I definitely must second this.

    I've had no problems with 2.6 running on hundreds of machines. Solaris 2.7 seems to be an alright desktop environment, but it doesn't seem to perform as well on network operations as 2.6 (yes, everything is patched as recommended). I've heard rumours that someone broke something while updating the TCP/IP stack for IPv6.

    2.8 seems to follow the tradition (disclaimer: I've only installed it on about a dozen boxes, about half production-grade.) Might be a good desktop OS, but it just doesn't seem to crank like 2.6. If you want an OS that feels like a cozy warm house in the middle of winter (i.e. comfortable and stable), go with 2.6. You won't be sorry.

  • ...easily done on google, irc, usenet...

    Why exactly does /. not fall within this grouping? /. is just as much a community as irc or usenet, IMHO. I'd like to think that subjects such as this are actually constructive for building up the community here. You know, cooperation and all that.

    Also, please note that pipeb0mb did not ask for "tech support", but rather suggestions from the /. pop. A brilliant idea, considering the extremely high "admin per capita" readership.
  • No one has yet mentioned exim [] as the MTA. It is very widely used in the UK and has outstanding filtering capabilities (and is a very good, well supported GPLed MTA).

    It integrates well with either cyrus or UW-IMAP for POP/IMAP access. As for webmail stuff, take a look at the archives of the exim mailing list to see what people there have used and recommended. A good webmail system will simply be a front end to a good IMAP server, since IMAP does everything that webmail should do (accept for the HTTP interface).

  • qmail is your best bet. Why pay for something when a free and better alternative is available. Plus, you can sleep at night knowing that your mail server is not going to crash.
  • I run 7 and 8 on about a hundred machines in a production environment. They're easily as rock solid as 2.6. Quite frankly, I can't imagine what you're doing to screw it up. It's pretty hard to screw up Solaris.
  • at a company where i used to work we had a 486-66 with 16 megs of ram running linux 2.2.29 and qmail. it was doing multiple domain e-mail for about 80 domains. i think it had about 4000-5000 accounts on it that were used pretty heavily. it never had a hiccup, but it did have a loadaverage of about 8 all the time, with peaks up into the 50's.

    i don't know what happened, but something on it broke. i think it was the scsi card. it was replaced with a pIII something-or-other with 512megs of ram, and none of the customers even noticed.

    i doubt sendmail or any other mta would be that nice on resources.

    as for the question at hand, i'd seriously check out qmail. it's pretty easy to get up and running, and is excellent when the mail load picks up.
  • Lotus Domino Server (aka, "Lotus Notes").

    It has all that, and more. Server runs on Linux, AS/400, S/390, AIX, OS/2, Sun Solaris, NT/2000, and HP-UX. Supports POP, IMAP, HTTP access, and also Notes native client (port 1352) if you're running a Mac or a PC with a Bill Gates OS (and even plagued Outlook will connect). It can be administered from the PC client, the web, or even from a command console (telnet/ssh). Includes clustering (amongst different OS's, even), failover, load balancing, transaction logging.....

    Also nicely throws calendaring and scheduling into the ring, along with WebSphere unified login, and you can synch your PDA with it.
  • We've been very happy with CGPro from Stalker. It supports all of your wishlist, and is a breeze to install, manage, and upgrade.

    It's not free, but the price is reasonable for your size operation - $4999 for up to 30,000 accounts, and includes unlimited mailing lists. That includes two years of upgrades, unlimited e-mail support, and a _very_ active mailing list that has a lot of very knowledgable users as well as frequent input from Stalker employees.

    Sorry for sounding like a commercial, but we switched from Netscape Messaging Server a year ago and I can't believe how much better life is now :).

    Anyway, Stalker is here [], and the direct link for Communigate Pro is here []. Worth checking out!

  • Here's the thing: I didn't ask for tech support. I asked for opinions.
    we don't want a cobbled together solution. We are the only ISP in our area (remote mountain town), a company that has been around for over 60 years in telecom. We can't afford to make a mistake.

    Now, the beauty of Slashdot is that it is read by thousands of people with real world experience, day to day experience.
    I've been here for a long time...I spend alot of time here...I value *some* of the opinions I read here. As far as I am concerned, 'Asking Slashdot' = 'asking a friend/usenet/irc'.
    When you have a wealth of information, you utilize it. That's how things get done in the Real World [tm].

    My postings here should not reflect on my employer.
  • I can only second this ! cyrus should be your choice when it comes to high user/mail count. Also it can be seperated from normal system autorisation, thanks to SASL.

  • The postfix []/cyrus [] combination already offers most of what you want. Although I haven't looked into the web based part yet, the management is probably best done with webmin []. For reading mail from the web, there's so many perl scripts floating around I'm not even going to bother picking one for you...
  • Oh come on, slashdot isn't your personal tech support. This is research that could have been very very....very very very easily done on google, irc, usenet...calling a friend. Start with sendmail and you choice of imapds and there's tons (i mean just gobs) of perl scripts availible todo all of the things you want todo. I can't even believe this made ask slashdot. (Notice i'm not posting anon, i'm willing to give up karma for this)
  • I see someone else has suggested this product as well. While I don't handle a load as large as yours, I wholeheartedly recommend GCPro. Stalker lives and breathes un*x and mail apps and they know what their doing. The price is a bit high, but nothing that someone with nice Sun hardware can't afford. If you dig through their website you'll run across recommendations and suggestions for even the most demanding mail loads (think AOL or Hotmail... though I realize those two don't use CGPro).

    Take a look at it... I think you'll really like it. I sure do. Free demo too.
  • I would recommend looking at Postfix as your MTA: [].

    Postfix is well-designed, small, high-performance, and very secure. I recently had to select a new mail server for our company, and it fit the bill perfectly.

    There are a number of things that I like about Postfix, but one of the most noticable is its ease of configuration. There are just two configuration files, and they're very simple -- much simpler than even Apache's httpd.conf. One of the things that you can configure is relaying--for certain hosts, certain networks, or authenticated users.

    For mailbox services, I would recommend Cyrus ( []). It's a very full-featured POP3/IMAP/KPOP server.

    There are webmin modules for both Postfix and Cyrus, solving your web-based management problem.

  • by scotpurl ( 28825 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @06:05AM (#185158)
    Now that I see your responses to other posts here, I don't think you have need for much of what I'm pitching. ISPs have decidedly different needs than businesses.

    I think the first step is to break your systems up a bit. A small-ish Linux box accepts deliveries from the world, and filters incoming (which can even be two boxes, with the second box doing virus filtering). Another small-ish Linux box makes outgoing deliveries. One mega-server is your IMAP server, and handles POP, and actually has the mail files on it. Another server is the web interface, and does all the CGI stuff, and makes the IMAP connections back to your mail server.

    I think the real solution here is to break up your tasks. Handling everything on one box is troublesome. If it's multiple boxes, you can actually swap something out for maintenance if you need to.
  • by davidu ( 18 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @11:32PM (#185159) Homepage Journal

    Enter the hell that is qmail. It will solve all your problems but you can never go back, especially when you start bowing to the code god that is Dan Bernstein.

    On a serious note, qmail can do everything you want coupled with the courier IMAP server. It is *very* advanced. Don't listen to the naysayers in this crowd about it not being GPL. It is not GPL, it is not BSD, it is not "licensed" even. Just use it because it is the best and it gets the job done.

  • by pipeb0mb ( 60758 ) <.pipeb0mb. .at.> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @10:45PM (#185160) Homepage
    The FM was R several dozen times...iPlanet was INSTALLED several dozen times ( i am not exaggerating. we were on the phone with those guys for hours at a time, doing it over and over).
    About three hours after I submitted this 'ask slashdot', we hit a breakthrough. Turns out that our error, which occcured when installing the IDA portion, was based on a configuration anomoly in resolv.conf.
    (iPlanet support said that this would actually be added to the preinstall readme file. Nice. )We added two lines, changed one more, and BAM.
    It's Working.
    However, during the 6 weeks we had this problem, we learned about several interesting alternatives, and we are not totally adverse to changing, given the delay and support nightmare we just experienced.
  • by memfrob ( 157990 ) on Friday June 01, 2001 @03:12AM (#185161) Homepage

    I've gone through this situation in several discussions for mid- and large-scale operations. Your answer will somewhat depend on how much money, time, and work you want to put into this system, with the usual tradeoff of ( more dollars ) = ( less ( time + effort ) ).

    For a free solution, I've found that a sendmail-based solution works quite nicely on Solaris. We ran some internal mailservers with a combination of sendmail [] for smtp, qpopper [] for pop3, apache [] and php [] for web access, and ActiveState PerlMx [] for mail filtering. There are many passable imapd programs that would fulfill your IMAP requirement, among other things, cyrus imapd []

    Don't be fooled, though; this took some elbow grease, and a little tweaking with sendmail and qpopper (mostly for the remote-administration bit; you don't want all of your customers in /etc/passwd on your server!)

    If you'd prefer to just lay down a little cash to get a working solution out the door, Openwave [] has a very reasonable email platform [] or two. It seems like it supports everything you're looking for, above.

    Also, don't forget that Sendmail, Inc. [] creates some very sophisticated sendmail-based products; it looks like Advanced Message Server may have all of the solutions you're looking for.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.