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ZMailer under load

   I'm writing this mail to broaden my knowledge and learn some neat tricks.
I have a ZMailer cluster which generally works good but from time to time
we are hit by a severe load and sometimes system grinds to a halt with
queues over 800 000 mails and rising.

  The reason was I guess I/O contention.  The scheduler is competing
for I/O with a bunch of happy other processes and loses.  I guess the
simplest soultion is 'get more drives' (and it works), but I would like to
know if I overlooked any other ways to help my system.

  I'm looking for any kind of hints, like ways to tuning Linux, or perhaps
even switching to some other OS.  All replies appreciated.

  As a side note I was thinking about decoupling scheduler into two
separate entities, one doing scheduling (mostly non-blocking) and
the other doing queue scanning.  Would that be a good idea?

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