Email, one of the earliest Internet applications, has now become part
of our daily lives for both professional and personal communications,
with millions of messages flowing over the Internet every day. Hence, Mail servers
have to cope with this increased load and provide the QoS required by
the users who expect a fast, reliable and secure service.
In this framework, the Performance Evaluation Group participated to a
collaborative project with the Standard Performance Evaluation
Corporation (SPEC), aimed at the definition of SPECmail2001,
a standardized mail server
benchmark designed to measure a system ability to act
as a mail server servicing email requests, based on the Internet
standard protocols SMTP and POP3.
We characterized the workload of mail servers with the aim
to obtain a benchmark able to reproduce a realistic environment with
its workload. Our studies focused on the analysis of measurements
collected on various mail servers. The models of the workload
were characterized in terms of the arrival rate of the requests to the
mail server, the size of the messages being sent or received, and the
number of their recipients.
Our current activities are focusing on the definition of a research
prototype of a tool for benchmarking of mail servers that process
SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4 requests. The tool allows the definition of workload that
includes spam messages and messages that contain viruses. Moreover, the mail
server under test can be configured to perform some simple security checks
(e.g., SMTP flooding).