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Localized mail servers, global scope

  • From: Andrew Staples
  • Date: Wed Jun 22 11:59:17 2005

Question:  How to create an smtp connection to any given localized MTA,
without relaying through a central MTA.

A global company (the group) is headquartered in Scandinavia.  25+ companies
comprise the group around the world, each company with its own mailserver
and mailserver software.  The group encourages the companies to act in a
decentralized manner, except in some things...the group wants to consolidate
email addresses across the group, i.e..  [email protected], regardless of
where the mail account lives, yet still give local control over the email
server.  Currently we see [email protected], [email protected], etc.
Currently all email is relayed through a central server in group HQ to the
individual company mail servers. The problem is that email (often large
drawings) sent by a customer in California must traverse the mailserver in
Scandinavia before being forwarded to a mailserver in California where the
recipient's account lives.  The other significant issue is that based on
past history, the individual companies are extremely hesitant at best to
entrust email robustness to HQ.

Sub-optimal solutions:
1. Centralize all email in one location on a big server farm...same problems
as mentioned above.

2.  Use a dns redirector to find the nearest MX based on incoming ip address
in DNS request...sub-optimal, as this will only deliver email to the nearest
MTA based on ip address allocations.  Doesn't solve the problem of an email
being sent to the wrong mx server (all mailservers would need to be able to
handle an email delivered to it even if the account isn't local...more
centralization).  This would solve some of the problems with one centralized
server farm if there was a globally distributed network of core mail
servers, but sacrifices autonomy.

3.  Change company policy to reflect names like [email protected],
[email protected], etc, where DNS would resolve to the correct server.
Doesn't give corporate the "email image" they are after.

4.  Change robustness level at group HQ for relay to individual mail
servers...we need a solution in my lifetime.

Has anyone got any other ideas on how to skin this cat with a technological
solution not mentioned?