NNTP vs. SMTP

Alexander Bartolich alexander.bartolich at gmx.at
Tue May 18 21:23:02 UTC 2010


William Ottley wrote:
> [...]
> I'm working on a Dot Com project, and I've been a Systems Admin for
> about 15 years.
> I'm looking to create a simple text transport system.
> 
> Yes I could use SMTP, but the truth is, its overkill for what I want.
> The "text" that will be sent, is based upon "posts" from blogs, websites, etc.
> So all these text messages won't be having attachments, mime, etc.

You are confusing the message format with the transport protocol.

You can convert any mail message to a Usenet message by adding
the header "Newsgroups:". You can convert any Usenet message to
a mail message by adding the header "To:". MIME is optional for
both Usenet and mail.

 From the senders point of view SMTP and NNTP are actually very
similar in that they
a) require the target address to be encoded in the message itself
b) keep records of the transport route in the message itself

> simple clean text, and that's it.
> I'm thinking for authentication, I can implement my existing mysql
> users database.

SMTP and NNTP both provide mechanisms for authentication and transport
layer encryption. The big difference is that NNTP also defines a storage
and retrieval system. To get the same functionality with mail you would
have to add something like IMAP.

> I guess in my head, since i'm only wanting simple text to be picked
 > up by the client, then INN would be the perfect situation.

INN is a huge monolith. A combined SMTP/IMAP solution is more modular
in that you can combine sendmail/postfix/exim with cyrus/courier/dovecot,
etc. It's debatable whether that's a feature, though. With INN you can
configure authentication and access for both sender and reader in one
place.

> Would anyone know where I could start with regards to stats of how
> much CPU would be used for X amount of users?

That's a completely wrong metric. In principle mail and Usenet servers
are not CPU bound, but I/O bound. In practice a lot of CPU power is
required to drive spam filters, but in your closed-off environment that
would not be an issue.

You can ask
a) how much RAM do I need for X number of sessions
b) how much bandwidth do I need to process Y number of messages

My experience is that commodity hardware running INN can handle a
few hundred thousand messages per day with ease.

Ciao

     Alexander.



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