Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1996)

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Subject: Re: Reply from Compuserve
From: Eric Thomas <ERIC @ VM . SE . LSOFT . COM>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 1996 15:40:07 +0200
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: Message of Tue, 06 Aug 1996 15:24:13 -0500 from list-managers-owner @ GreatCircle . COM

On Tue, 06 Aug 1996 15:24:13 -0500 Gene Rackow <rackow @
 mcs .
 anl .
 gov> said:

>The biggest cost in  the system is not the machine, but  the size of the
>pipe you have to the outside world.

Actually, the  biggest cost is  manpower (which  goes down with  a newer,
faster machine  that has  less problems requiring  attention). As  far as
bandwidth goes, I was assuming  T1 connectivity or equivalent, which most
organizations have nowadays,  at least in well connected  countries. On a
T1  you  can  deliver  over  2 million  daily  messages  with  a  typical
distribution, obviously  if you have  a big  web server or  10,000 telnet
users you would need more bandwidth. And I'm not going to dispute that if
you're connected at  9600, these figures aren't realistic.  I was talking
about the typical mid to large corporate site, or the typical university.

>You have missed a major consideration in your posting of the chart. That
>being  what the  distribution of  your mail  looks like.  If all  of the
>machines you are connecting to are  also well connected, then the speeds
>and  feeds are  going to  be reasonable.  (...) If  it's really  just an
>internal company  exploder, or mostly  well connected edu and  com sites
>than things are fast. If on the  other hand your mailing list is made up
>of a couple thousand addresses covering  about 100 top level domains and
>1500 second level domains, then things are going to run alot slower than
>you proclaim.

Yes, disbelief  is a  very common reaction.  Years of  sendmail servitude
tend  to  have  that  effect  :-) Yesterday  this  machine  made  178,492
deliveries to a total of  3,432 hostnames, 2,309 second-level domains and
79 top-level domains. Excuse me, but  I don't sell used cars. The figures
I posted are not a specially constructed example to lure people, they are
what people can actually  expect. The last thing I would  want is a horde
of customers  complaining on  public lists that  they bought  something I
recommended and  only got 10% of  the performance I told  them they would
get. You  just can't fool  people and stay in  business long if  you sell
Internet solutions.  Customers with  similar configurations  have similar
numbers to show.

>Chances are you also have your time  limit set to the last entry in your
>table. The  mail didn't really  go though,  but bounced. There  are many
>machines that go down for 3 or 4 days at a shot.

I don't have a time limit. These numbers are based on the accounting file
produced by  the MTA. So, every  day a number of  messages are delivered,
most  were submitted  the same  day, some  were not.  This is  an ongoing
process  where today  my numbers  are being  negatively affected  by slow
hosts that  were down  yesterday and  the day  before yesterday,  and the
sites that are  down today will affect tomorrow's  results. This reflects
the simple fact that I won't know  the delivery time until I have managed
to deliver the message. One does normally ignore the worst 1% of delivery
times as they are due to hosts that have non-working connectivity or that
are only  up during business hours.  Their figures simply do  not reflect
the speed  of your  delivery system,  but the  reliability of  the target
systems. And I'm not disputing that people in countries where the central
Internet hub connects at 9.6k will  get lousy performance. All I'm saying
is  that 99%  of subscribers  can get  near-instant turnaround  time with
hardware that you can probably get for some $3k nowadays.


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