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Edis MX Backup

Edis MX Backup

RaymiiRaymii Member
edited September 2012 in General

http://www.edis.at/en/domain/mx-backup/

How does it work, what software does it use, (postfix, eg whatever) and can it handle load (/me gets average of 150 mails/day, domain users total about 1000 mails/day)?

I'm now using google apps, but I'm experimenting with doing the mail also on LEBs (dovecot+Postfix). Seems to work quite well on testing, just misses 2 factor authentication and clustering. Clustering is almost solved, 2 factor auth takes a little longer.

I was thinking of setting this before I'm going to switch from gapps to ownmail, so that if it goes wrong my incoming mails are not lost.

But, i was wondering how it was setup and such, that is not listed on the website.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
https://raymii.org - https://cipherli.st
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Comments

  • It records mails when your primary MX is down and then forwards them to your primary MX once it is up again, simple as that. Can't disclose any software or other things about it, sorry.

    Opinions/Posts are to be assumed my own/personal and not company related unless obvious
    Working @ EDIS and owning some others (and/or parts of) | Available for consulting | http://as198412.net | https://william.si

  • I used a commercial mx backup service before (not the Edis service), but there was excessive amount of spam coming trough the backup mx. The service was forwarding everything, including emails with invalid destination address and tons of spam (because it did not had a grey listing feature). I solved the issue setting up a mx backup with antispam filter on a LEB.

  • @pcan how did yoy do it and set it up?

    @William thanks for the info. Does it monitor the primary mx and such? And, how about spam (which is about 300/hour on my main email), does it also just queues and forward that?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    https://raymii.org - https://cipherli.st
  • What is the point of a backup MX? I mean really, mail servers queue and keep trying to send mail for many hours if they cannot reach the destination anyway...

    Ransom IT | ɹǝpun uʍop sdʌ | vps down under | KVM in Sydney and Adelaide | OpenVZ in Adelaide
  • @Oliver the point is when your main MX servers go down, people wo want to send you mail get errors. If you have backup MX, they do not get errors, and your mail just get saved somewhere, and if you've fixed the problems, it all just comes in.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    https://raymii.org - https://cipherli.st
  • If properly setup you have a few hours to fix your primary mx without sender will now that it was down. One thing to consider is that with a backup MX the mail will be delivered (according to the sender) But it might not be sent to the recipient for another day or so. Depending on downtime. This will cause anger withe the sender, why his important email hasnt been answered.

    Another way to set things up is to have 2 front end MX servers which forwards to a 3rd where the users get their emails from.

    Use the first two to scan for virus and spam.

    I'm only presenting another way to set things up :)

  • @MikHo you should at least have two MX servers, preferably more in different locations. The way I intended its use was as a backup when I'm going to switch from gapps to my own dovecot+postfix. So then I'll be down then, but mail continues. And also, people need to learn to wait. Simple as that, you don't die if you don't get a response to an email. And I know a lot about how and when people die(since nurse), mostly not of not-replied email.

    My hospital is now switched to exchange (blergh), before that they had 5 mailservers, postfix+cyrus, 3 for receiving, 2 for sending, and 2 seperate spam+antivirusscanning. Mail was not stored on those servers, it went right to the SAN.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    https://raymii.org - https://cipherli.st
  • @Raymii said: how did yoy do it and set it up?

    I basically followed this scheme:

    @MikHo said: Another way to set things up is to have 2 front end MX servers which forwards to a 3rd where the users get their emails from.

    The front-end servers are linux (one internal at the company, one external 512Mb OVZ VPS), both with antispam service; the 3rd mx is the exchange server. It works well, and the two front-end servers are mantaining a better record of the inbound emails than the Exchange logging feature itself.

    @Raymii said: Simple as that, you don't die if you don't get a response to an email.

    Most business people use the email service as a sort of instant messaging service and they expect almost instant reply. This may be because on many companies phone and email are still the only external communication features. Lync, Skype etc are still not widely used.

  • @Raymii said: @Oliver the point is when your main MX servers go down, people wo want to send you mail get errors. If you have backup MX, they do not get errors, and your mail just get saved somewhere, and if you've fixed the problems, it all just comes in.

    I understand, but the nature of email is that people don't get errors immediately anyway. The mail sits in a queue if the destination is unreachable for a long time before errors are generated and sent back to the sender. If your mail server is often down for many hours at a time then this type of service might be good but if your mail server is down that often you have other issues to deal with anyway. ;-)

    Ransom IT | ɹǝpun uʍop sdʌ | vps down under | KVM in Sydney and Adelaide | OpenVZ in Adelaide
  • @Oliver said: The mail sits in a queue if the destination is unreachable for a long time before errors are generated

    Problem is: you dont'know when the originating mail server will attempt the delivery again. In my experience, this is a overlooked settings. Many, many mail servers are misconfigured. They may retry the sending the next day, or even next week (by my experience). You want to be in control of this; the best way is to have a secondary MX and keep the incoming queue on your own server.

  • @pcan said: Problem is: you dont'know when the originating mail server will attempt the delivery again. In my experience, this is a overlooked settings. Many, many mail servers are misconfigured. They may retry the sending the next day, or even next week (by my experience). You want to be in control of this; the best way is to have a secondary MX and keep the incoming queue on your own server.

    Maybe I am being naive but I am pretty sure the default configuration on most mail servers would adhere to whatever the RFC standard is for SMTP that must say "don't give up immediately" or something along those lines.

    I don't know - I've been running mail servers for hundreds of domains and hundreds of users for over 5 years and never had backup MX records for any. It's never even come up as an issue to be honest.

    Ransom IT | ɹǝpun uʍop sdʌ | vps down under | KVM in Sydney and Adelaide | OpenVZ in Adelaide
  • @Oliver: I am with you that, on a properly configured environement with educated users, MX backup is totally unneeded because RFC standards already provide resiliency. On my experience, there are people (mostly, but not exclusively, senior executives) that use email as (poor) subtitute for instant messaging or certified delivery systems. They think email is exactly like the fax machine they had on the desk a decade ago. They expect instant delivery of queued emails in correct order when outage is solved. This is difficult to obtain without MX backup. After only a few retries, some sending servers give back to the sending user a warning that the email is still queued; this could panic the user and start a storm of unneeded drama and email resending. Whitout a MX backup, you cannot give to your receiving user a definite answer that all the queued emails have been delivered. I guess your market is different from mine, because I routinely receive offers for "professional" (read: overpriced) MX backup services.

  • Yes, completely see where you are coming from. Especially the part about people using email as an excuse for instant messaging. It's not just executives either, even young people (not in IT though) are like this.

    I have to admit I do get maybe one query once every 3 months with one of those "mail is queued" messages forwarded to me where a customer is asking what it means. Thankfully most mail servers don't make the messages look too alarming so people don't panic too much. I've probably been lucky though. :-)

    Ransom IT | ɹǝpun uʍop sdʌ | vps down under | KVM in Sydney and Adelaide | OpenVZ in Adelaide
  • bdtechbdtech Member
    edited September 2012

    I use two postfix servers with the Spamhaus RBL running the exact same sync'd configuration. Seems to work just fine (I am just forwarding mostly catchall mail anyway to gmail). The key step is to make sure to include the RBL on your primary AND backup MX as most spammers will always to try circumvent your primary.

    Also, don't forget about misconfiguration and lazy coders. Not all email originates from properly configured mail servers that will retry (php mail, system generated email, newsletters, etc..)

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