I am building a business where I want the infrastructure to be able to handle up to 30000 emails per minute during peak periods. The question is what kinds of services offer this? I expect to download the emails using SMTP or similar. I expect each email to have a total attachment size of 2 mb, and might have several attachments.

I have considered utilizing Parse API from SendGrid, but I am worried because they offer this service for free. I have contacted them and I am waiting for answer. Are there any better and more suitable alternatives?

  • Can you clarify whether you mean 30,000 or 30 emails a minute. You've got a period where I think you meant to have a comma. – joeqwerty Sep 13 '12 at 18:56
  • There are too many factors involved here for us to answer this question: Bandwidth, server resources, MTA software, remote site capabilities, etc. all factor in to how much volume you can move in a given time period. You will need to evaluate solutions and either benchmark them yourself or get a service commitment from a provider (with appropriate penalties if they can't meet that commitment) – voretaq7 Sep 13 '12 at 19:12
  • @voretaq7 I understand. Basically, I am then after services that might be able to offer this, and I will contact them and post back their responses. – David Sep 13 '12 at 19:14
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    @David Stack Exchange sites don't really do product/service/provider recommendations -- that sort of information gets stale quickly. Any managed services company worth their fee should be able to quote you this sort of infrastructure though. – voretaq7 Sep 13 '12 at 19:15
  • @voretaq7 I have read that article and I believe that I am not really asking for shopping advice in the same way as described in that article. My question is more like: Does infrastructure with features XYZ exist, or do I have to build it myself using other infrastructure like Amazon ELB? Also, my question should be widely applicable to a lot of other server administrators looking to outsource their problems. – David Sep 13 '12 at 19:35

On the back of my napkin, for bandwidth, I'm coming up with 30,000 emails per minute at 2MB per message equals OC-192. Depending on location, those have six-digit and sometimes seven-digit monthly bills.

Then there's the cost of the several racks of servers you're going to need to process all those incoming messages. Then the 85TB or so of new data you have to store each day is going to add on several more racks, and more racks, and more racks...within a few weeks at most, you're going to need your own data center, so you may as well start by building one.

How many millions of dollars are you willing to pay just to set it up? You're just not going to get this out of a free service, and it's just way too unusual for anybody to be offering it as an off-the-shelf managed service.

I recommend you spec out your idea much more carefully.

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Right now, the SendGrid parse API is totally free to use. We don't have any imminent plans to convert it to a paid service, but we also haven't totally opted out of that idea. For now things will stay as they are.

Edit: Looked into the question of whether or not we can handle that volume. It seems the actual answer is "we don't know". Nobody uses the Parse API for that kind of volume, so we have no idea how it will perform.

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  • Thanks a lot for your answer! Have you ever tested with such volumes? Also, what role do you have in the organization and have you verified your answer with others in the organization? – David Sep 13 '12 at 19:38
  • I'm one of the developer evangelists. I touched back with engineering to be sure and as I result I updated my answer. Nobody uses the Parse API for that kind of volume right now, so we don't know how it will behave. Would be happy to take this to email to discuss what we can do though. Send me an email: swift (at) sendgrid (dot) com – Swift Sep 13 '12 at 19:55

It sounds to me like the easiest answer for you would be TCP load balancing and several SMTP servers behind it. I'm sure there are many services which do this including Amazon ELB.

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  • I was thinking more of a finished service so I do not have to administer it myself. – David Sep 13 '12 at 18:58
  • You mean "managed service". – joeqwerty Sep 13 '12 at 19:05
  • @joeqwerty You are right. That's the expression – David Sep 13 '12 at 19:13

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