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Server 2008 standard edition r2 mailserver solutions?


skotten
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Hi all...

well being hooked by the show has made me consider a change of career... killer stuff.

Anyway, time to get my head under the water and start playing with some server technologies.. I have started off installing my free copy of microsoft server 2008 r2 standard edition and have negotiated the minefield of setting up webserver's, ftp's and remote desktop all through the switch.

Next up is to configure a mailserver and all the domain nightmares associated with that.

I am looking for advice on free alternatives to exchange 2010 that work with the above on iis7 and support multiple domains and users (max 10 I can imagine) The obvious candidates all seem to have their own problems, can someone here perhaps shed some light and point me in the right direction?

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I'd take a look at Exchange. From experience I can only comment on S2K3 products. I have 1 or 2 boxes with S2K7 but nothing with domain functionality.

If you can afford to buy ‘licenses’ try and get a hold of Small Business Edition (SBS), this is basically a domain controller in a box, it very wizard based and comes with Exchange Standard. It’s a good place to start learning and the hardware requirements (for 2K3) are low.

I don’t know of any ‘free’ mail servers, I only deal with Exchange. Take a look at Spam Assassin, It may be able to host mailboxes, or perhaps someone had made an extension that allows it to. I’d also take a look at what Astaro offers (http://www.astaro.com/landingpages/en-worldwide-homeuse) That’s a free software based firewall product, we use an Astaro firewall here and I know it can be configured to host email, I very much doubt that the free software will do this, but it’s worth a shot (I’ll actually fire this up on a VM and see what it includes)

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Personally I would say either buy Exchange, buy SBS 2008 or look at a hosted solution, i.e. hosted Exchange or G-Mail domain app. MS products may have a relatively high TCA, but you need to consider that this is off set by MS's support structure (which is damn good) and thus has a lower TCO than a free solution with a set of community powered forums and a wiki.

If you are going to go down the MS Server technology route, I would highly recommend getting a TechNet account as you can get access to pretty much everything MS make plus support for a nominal fee.

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I recently priced out hosted Exchange (state/local government pricing) vs. Google Apps for 200 users. Holy crap.

Exchange - $60 per user per month

Google - $50 per user per year

It used to be, back in the day, that I somewhat enjoyed running a mail server. Now? Not really. We're migrating away from Exchange 2000 and have looked at a dozen or so options. The only one that got my interest as far as self hosting was Zimbra. But now that Google is going to be FISMA certified, it became an option and my first choice.

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Google is OK, I like it for personal stuff, but it is little more than OK. But a properly spec'd and configured Exchange 2010 setup, while expensive, is just so much better.

Sometimes the written word doesn't translate as well as a face to face discussion, so I'll say that I'm not trying to be a smart ass here when I ask what exactly makes it so much better?

Granted, starting with version 2010 you no longer need to use IE to get the full OWA client, but I've found Exchange to be a very labor intense affair - especially when you're the one administering an entire network all by yourself. Their licensing model has always left little to be desired in my book and things are only worse now that Outlook licenses are not included with each seat. In addition a SAN is practically mandatory in all but the smallest of deployments.

I found that you get a lot more functionality from Google by default, particularly when you factor in cost.

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Let me clarify, if you cannot afford a cluster and a SAN, then go gmail. If your a 1 man IT department, then again Exchange probally isn't for you. But if you add Live Meeting, Sharepoint, BES, Office Communicator (with PBX integration) and Outlook 2010 then it offers so much more than G-Mail. With Exchange, as with so many other MS products, its not about the individual component itself, its about how it integrates with the rest of the ecosystem. G-Mail isn't a bad email system, but thats about all it does apart from a bit of calendaring on the side.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

From my experience, Google Apps as a hosted service is great. Not only for a 1 man show, but for a full office. It takes a lot of the work like email data replication and what not out of the picture.

We've just recently switched from GroupWise with 150 users. Honestly I have to say it's help me sleep better at night, no need to worry about software upgrades, exchange licenses, outlook licenses, data back up solution that supports granular backups etc.

I think it comes down to the size of your business, but to be honest large Cities have done the Exchange to Google Apps switch as well, with great success.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Sometimes the written word doesn't translate as well as a face to face discussion, so I'll say that I'm not trying to be a smart ass here when I ask what exactly makes it so much better?

Granted, starting with version 2010 you no longer need to use IE to get the full OWA client, but I've found Exchange to be a very labor intense affair - especially when you're the one administering an entire network all by yourself. Their licensing model has always left little to be desired in my book and things are only worse now that Outlook licenses are not included with each seat. In addition a SAN is practically mandatory in all but the smallest of deployments.

I found that you get a lot more functionality from Google by default, particularly when you factor in cost.

Just got out from 3 day engagement with one of the top Canadian Exchange guys. I leaned a lot about exchange 2010. One of the big changes that they are talking about is the shift away from SAN storage, back to local storage.

2010 is using DAG, which allows store replication, and redundant mailbox servers. The store information is moved out of the server settings in AD and moved up to the exchange org level, so that you can have multiple stores that replicate across active directory sites, and therefore geographic locations.

The exchange guy went as far to say that, given three mailbox servers in one geographic location, you could install the mailboxes on raid0 or jbod. If you had four servers split into two geographic locations, not only could you use jbod, but you would forgo the need for backups.

The caveats to all of this are that you require Windows Server Enterprise per backend server. If you want to have a full hot site, the server requirements go up exponentially, especially if you require full functionality, like OWA across the two sites, since at that point you can't use NLB and have to go to hardware load balancers.

To do a full redundant hot site with no single point of failure and full functionality, you require twelve servers, and 8 hardware load balancers. You don't need a SAN, but at that point, you might wish that's all you needed.

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  • 1 month later...

I personally use Surgemail with Dynamic DNS and you can configure it with outlook also. Besides it also offers a web-based interface where you can configure and manage your mail server and user accounts, as well as spam control and virus filter.

The only downside is that it will stop running after 30 days, you can buy the licenses which in contrast with Microsoft Exchange Server its a lot cheaper.

You can download the mailserver software from this link below

http://www.netwinsite.com/surgemail/

Edited by Infiltrator
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