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  1. #1

    slow exim processing, what could be the cause?

    I have a newsletter mailing list of around 250,000 subscribers.

    I recently moved to a new server with all the same specs (CPU Xeon E3-1230v2 3.3GHz, 16gb RAM), the only difference is the old server had a 480GB SSD drive, where as the new one has a regular 2,000 GB SATA3 Drive.

    On the old server the php mailing list software would process the list in about an hour, sending everything to the Exim queue, which would then take around 12 hours to send the 250,000 messages.

    On the new server, even though I have QUEUE_ONLY = true set in exim.conf, the php mailing list software takes 3 days to process the sending (compared to 1 hour), and the exim queue never gets above 1,000 or so (compared to the full 250,000 on the old server).

    It almost looks as though it isn't queue-ing the messages but is actually sending each message one at a time.

    I have added the following to exim.conf through CPanels advanced exim configuration manager:

    queue_only = true
    queue_run_max = 100
    remote_max_parallel = 20

    Also I edited exim to spawn a daemon every one minute.

    Still the messages are stuck in the php script processing, going one by one.

    Could the non-SSD drive be the problem slowing down the queue-ing of the messages?

    Or what other things could I look into or try?

    It's a daily email newsletter, so I need to reduce the entire time down to at least 24 hours. Should I get a cheap second server with an SSD drive to use only for mailing?
    Last edited by bva; 12-16-2013 at 06:07 AM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Portland, Oregon
    Couple things I thought of initially:

    Maximum message recipients (soft limit) - in exim.conf

    Maximum message recipients before disconnect (hard limit) - in exim.conf
    Limitations set in PHP.INI

    You can configure extended logging parameters in the "log_selector" directive of exim.conf which might give you an idea of what's slowing down the queue processing. Apply some extra parameters to log_selector inside the exim config, restart Exim, see if this gives you some insight into the processing times.


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  4. #4

    Let me know the EXIM mail queue size? You can find it out through the below command shell> exim -bpc

  5. #5
    Thank you for the replies.

    The mail queue is always very small, now while sending a mailing the mail queue is just 200. So it appears the php script isn't able to process them to the queue fast enough to create a back log. On my previous server with the SSD drive the mail queue would go up to 200,000.

    The following are the iostat -x 5 results. Does this indicate it is an IO bottleneck with the harddisk? It seems to always be near 100% util.


    %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle
    7.41 0.00 1.45 21.58 0.00 69.55

    Device: rrqm/s wrqm/s r/s w/s rsec/s wsec/s avgrq-sz avgqu-sz await svctm %util
    sda 1.40 125.00 22.40 169.80 532.80 2289.60 14.68 7.34 37.39 5.20 99.94
    Last edited by bva; 12-17-2013 at 01:40 PM.

  6. #6
    The problem was the IO of the harddisk. I moved the exim spool to a ramdisk and now it can process 80,000 messages in an hour.

    I know there are risks of losing the mail queue if you have to reboot the machine, but in my case it is alright.

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