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Requirements and Recommendations for Netmail Store
Updated July 10th, 2012

This page provides a selection of hardware shown to be adequate for the Netmail Store part of the platform to operate up to its expected performance level.

Before installing Netmail Store, it is advisable that your hardware complies with the following requirements and recommendations.

Node Hardware Requirements and Recommendations
Minimum Required Node Hardware

The minimum hardware required to run Netmail Store is an Intel x86 compatible system (Pentium class or higher) with a 1000 Mbps (1 Gb) network interface, at least one hard drive, 1 GB RAM, and the ability to boot from either a USB flash memory drive or the network (PXE network boot). Netmail Store nodes are designed to run “lights out” or “headless” and do not require a keyboard, mouse or a monitor in order to operate.

Note: All nodes in a cluster must use the same speed network interface to remain compatible. Variable network speeds for different nodes are not a supported configuration.

Netmail Store Node Hardware Configuration

Although Netmail Store will run on a variety of x86 hardware, the following are recommended characteristics of the nodes in a cluster:

  • CPU – Intel Xeon, AMD Athlon64, or equivalent
  • Disk – Standard SATA with 1 to 4 drives per node
  • RAM – Rule of thumb: 2 GB per 1 TB of storage
  • Network Interfaces – Dual Gigabit Ethernet
Hardware Setup

If being deployed via USB key, the Netmail Store node hardware should be configured so that it will boot from the USB memory drive. On some systems, the USB device will appear as a hard drive while on others, it will be specified as a removable device. It should be moved to the top of the priority order so that the system will boot from the USB device prior to any other boot devices in the node.

Since all internal disks are typically used for cluster storage, the x86 boot process may become confused if it tries to boot from one of its hard disks. You should check to make sure that the boot priority of these is lower than that of the USB device.

Since it is not necessary to have a keyboard attached during normal operations of Netmail Store, it may be necessary to configure the node’s BIOS to ignore keyboard errors during boot.

Note: If a node’s CPU supports hyper-threading features, these features should be disabled within the BIOS setup because this can cause single-CPU degradation in Netmail Store.

 
Cluster Services Node Hardware Recommendations
Recommended CSN Hardware

To operate a Netmail Store cluster from the Netmail Administration Console, it is necessary to deploy the Cluster Services Node application. This software allows the setup and configuration of multiple Netmail Store devices and removes the need to deploy multiple USB keys and to manage the nodes individually. It also includes the Content Router software, which therefore does not need to be installed separately.

  • CPU – Intel Xeon, AMD Opteron, or equivalent
  • Pre-installed 64-bit RHEL/CentOS 5.5 operating system
  • RAM – Minimum 6GB, Recommended 12 GB
  • Disk Storage:
    • 200 GB of disk space for every 100 million objects in the Netmail Cluster
    • RAID configuration is recommended
  • Network:
    • Minimum: 2 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces; Recommended: 4
    • Dedicated switch or VLAN for internal storage network. Managed switch recommended.

Note: All machines that will become nodes in a cluster must be configured to accept PXE network boot instructions prior to setup. Also, network switch configuration is outside the scope of the CSN software. Switches must be properly configured by an experienced system administrator to ensure correct connectivity and bonding mode support. In particular, administrators must be careful to not connect the configured internal network ports to the external network.

Recommended Servers

Hewlett Packard

High Density: Proliant DL 185 G5 (link) - 2U 12-drive chassis

  • Processor: Single Quad-core
  • RAM: Depends on the average object size and total storage capacity (see Netmail Store Administration Guide for additional information).
    Minimum 8 GB with 1TB drives or 16GB with 2TB drives recommended
  • Network: 2 GigE ports
  • Drives: Enterprise class 1 TB or 2 TB SATA

High Performance: Proliant DL165 G6 - 1U 4-drive chassis

  • Processor: Single Quad-core
  • RAM: Depends on the average object size and total storage capacity (see Netmail Store Administration Guide for additional information).

Minimum 4 GB with 1 TB drives or 8 GB with 2 TB drives recommended

  • Network: Two GigE ports
  • Drives: Enterprise class 1 TB or 2 TB SATA

Dell

High Density: R510 - 2U 12-drive chassis

  • Processor: Single Quad-core
  • RAM: Depends on the average object size and total storage capacity (see Netmail Store Administration Guide for additional information).
    Minimum 8 GB with 1 TB drives or 16 GB with 2 TB drives
  • Network: 2 GigE ports
  • Drives: Enterprise class 1 TB or 2 TB SATA

High Performance: R410 - 1U 4-drive chassis

  • Processor: Single Quad-core
  • RAM: Depends on the average object size and total storage capacity (see Netmail Store Administration Guide for additional information).

Minimum 4 GB with 1 TB drives or 8 GB with 2 TB drives recommended

  • Network: 2 GigE ports
  • Drives: Enterprise class 1 TB or 2 TB SATA

IBM

IBM System x3620 M3 - 2U 8-drive chassis

  • Processor: Single Quad-core
  • RAM: Depends on the average object size and total storage capacity (see Netmail Store Administration Guide for additional information).
    Minimum 8 GB recommended
  • Network: 2 GigE ports
  • Drives: Enterprise class 1 TB or 2 TB SATA
 
Network Requirements and Recommendations
Required Communications

Clients must be able to initiate TCP connections with all nodes in a Netmail Store cluster through the designated access port. This is typically HTTP port 80/443. Internally, Netmail Store nodes must be able to communicate with each other via TCP, UDP on port 7000, and IP multicasting. The multicast address must be unique for each cluster and is configurable by the administrator.

Note: Multicast communication is only necessary between the Netmail Store nodes and does not need to be propagated off of the VLAN that connects the cluster nodes.

All nodes in the Netmail Store cluster must reside within the same IP subnet. A load balancing front-end to the Netmail Store cluster is not a supported configuration and is unnecessary since Netmail Store load balances across nodes naturally.

Recommended Network Infrastructure

The following networking services are recommended for the management of an Netmail Store cluster:

  • DHCP server for allocating node addresses
  • NTP time server to provide clock synchronization
  • Syslog server for receiving critical alerts
  • DNS server to aid client applications in accessing nodes
  • SNMP monitoring console
  • TFTP server if PXE network booting is used
  • HTTP server if centralized configuration is used

Note: Gigabit Ethernet is the recommended connection speed between Netmail Store cluster nodes.

Although client connectivity requirements depend upon usage patterns and the data they are transmitting, it is best to keep this as fast as possible. Additionally, the subnet with the Netmail Store nodes should be isolated on its own VLAN with a Layer-3 switch (IP router) as the gateway to the remaining network.

Netmail Store will automatically make use of multiple network interfaces in order to provide a redundant network connection. In order to use this feature, connect the network interfaces to the one or more interconnected switches in the same subnet.