Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 1999)

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Subject: Re: Mass non-bulk mailing
From: "Nathan J. Mehl" <memory @ blank . org>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:22:23 -0400
To: garyb @ outlawnet . com, list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <9907100121 . AA00241 @ mynext . slb . com>; from Gary E Bickford on Fri, Jul 09, 1999 at 08:21:57PM -0500
References: <9907100121 . AA00241 @ mynext . slb . com>

In the immortal words of Gary E Bickford (garyb @
> Folks, We're about to start a nightly custom mailing subscription service.
> Each email will be constructed with information of interest to the
> subscriber based on the subscription and other information.  Total volume
> is projected at 100,000 emails per night.  More interestingly, we're
> presently running Sendmail 8.9.x.  What kind of issues should I look at
> regarding the MTA?  

Well, sendmail can certainly handle that kind of volume on any decently tuned
machine.  Just make sure your mail queue is on a decently fast partition
(think RAID 1+0) with room to grow (think Veritas) and you'll be able to
consider your network connection the bottleneck. :)

Probably of much more pressing concern to you than message delivery speed
will be more mundane things like bounce handling.  In fact, I'll go out on a
limb and predict that bounce handling is going to be your #1 headache.
You might want to investgate Qmail or Postfix, for their ability to easily
handle VERP (Variable Envelope Response Paths) in order to make dealing with
bounces easier.  Alternatively, if you're just using sendmail for message
delivery and are constructing the messages in your Java app, you could
probably approximate VERPs with not too much effort.  (Just set the envelope
sender to something like "From" or
something like that...)

> The Java servlet/bean/whatever doesn't presently combine these and pass
> them to sendmail in batches - should it?  

It couldn't hurt -- see the source for bulkmailer or any similar pre-batching
program for details.

You should also dig up Rob Kolstad's paper from LISA/97 about tuning sendmail
for efficient delivery of large mailing lists, and pay careful attention to
his notes about queue management.


------------------------------------------------------------<memory @
 blank .
"The Zapruder film confirms, beyond all reasonable doubt, that John F. Kennedy
was killed by having his fucking head blown almost completely off his fucking
shoulders."                                                      (--The Onion)

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