The employees in the company that I working are using mails alot. Some employees have more than 20GB of mail archive (Checked from Outlook data files). I am using hMailServer for mail server. The reason why they have such a high archives is this: Some files are sending to others as attachment. Sometimes for information they are adding other people. So basicly a 2MB file can be 20MB sometimes.

I am thinking to buy a new blade server and make it a linux mail server And store all mails in there. Then backup the all mails periodicly. So I need 20GB - 50GB mailbox size for all employees.


  • Is this a good aproach or there is a better solution for this?
  • Are the mail servers storing attachments in one place for different users? Same file is not in several mailboxes.
  • 50GB mailbox and 30 users (this count can go upto 150 users) makes 1.5TB total space. When backuping how much this size compress?
  • Is it possible to make a linux mail server work with Windows Active Directory?
  • Is it possible for that mail server to store contacts and calendar activities?
  • Outlook storing mails on its own file. Is it possible to make Outlook to just get the mails not store them in local PC?

This seems to be a good case for Microsoft Exchange, with the assistance of someone well-versed in Exchange deployments.

The main reasons I recommend that is that your users seem to be Outlook-based on the client side, you're seeing groupware functionality (calendar and contacts) and you have an Active Directory setup. Also, your document retention and per-user/group/database settings can be very granular...

Linux-based solutions don't really seem to be a good fit here. Is there a reason Exchange hasn't been considered?

  • All the things he wants to do are built in with Exchange...it's one of the few areas where I whole heartedly recommend a microsoft solution. – Grant Dec 1 '12 at 18:10
  • I can only agree with this. @gokhanozturk your list of requirements reads like the Exchange Server feature table. – Rob Moir Dec 1 '12 at 18:19
  • There are some other options... Zimbra, Kerio, etc. But they are just compromises. Go with the real thing. – ewwhite Dec 1 '12 at 20:14
  • -1 for advising against Exchange alternatives without any comparison or arguments. – gertvdijk Dec 2 '12 at 17:24
  • @gertvdijk that's outside the scope of this question. I have deployed the alternatives listed, and given the OP's list of requirements, Microsoft Exchange is a good fit. Zimbra and Kerio no longer compete on price or functionality. They aim to be Exchange-like, so yes, they are compromises. – ewwhite Dec 2 '12 at 18:40

Consider Zarafa out of the many mail servers available. It's a flexible, open source and enterprise grade mail (and groupware) solution perfectly capable of huge amounts of email.

  • It uses MySQL for the storage of mail data with the exception of attachments on local filesystem by default. Make sure you know MySQL well and you'll be able to scale it up to very large instance including hot backup (Percona XtraBackup for example) or even master-slave replication and do the backup on the slave machine.
  • It features single instance storage for attachments. If an email is delivered to multiple recipients, the attachments is only stored once on disk. Depending on your users, this might save you huge amounts of data on disk. Be sure to use the LMTP approach in the DAgent for this feature.
  • The Zarafa Archiver can help you reduce the load and storage of your primary mail server(s) by moving older messages to a slower but cheaper server. This will help your system to keep fast and makes backing up of data easier.
  • While it's an open source Linux solution, it's primary client support is Microsoft Outlook and secondary it's own web clients Webapp and the older Webaccess.
  • Yes it works with Active Directory.

Disclaimer: I worked for Zarafa. (not anymore)

  • 1
    Don't you think it would have been appropriate for you to disclaim the fact that you work for Zarafa? – EEAA Nov 29 '12 at 14:29

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