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Hosted Exchange -- ease of migration; ease of use; service provder review

Posted on 2006-10-20
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Last Modified: 2010-03-06
Hello,
We are a 10-person geographically diverse financial services business and have POP email provided by Yahoo Small Business for the last year or so.  Business is growing rapidly and we quickly need to migrate to a Hosted Exchange solution mainly for calendar sharing and wireless access (ie. Blackberry and Good Mobile Messaging).

Would appreciate feedback on

1- How easy is the migration to hosted exchange and what should we do to prevent service disruption
2- How easy is it to add/delete users, control spam filtering, etc. by individual users (we don't have an IT administrator)
3- We are looking at Intermedia, Navisite and Creativedata.net as potential providers.  Any views on how our choice would influence the answers to the two questions above?  Given our business, reliability and "fire-and-forget" usability is more important than saving the last dollar.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:atabibian
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Sembee earned 2000 total points
ID: 17775753
Easy bit first - the middle question about the users is something that comes down to the company that you use. Most of the providers will have some kind of interface for controlling the users, creating groups etc. On Exchange everything is server based, so it will be managed as part of the service you have.

Another provider you might want to look at is Blue Ridge InternetWorks: http://www.briworks.com/
Their Exchange hosting platform is maintained by Michael B Smith. He is a fellow MVP (like myself) and has written books and a blog on Microsoft Exchange. He is a script master - as most hosting is managed by using scripts.
And no - I don't get a kick back for recommending them... perhaps I should drop him a note... :-)

As for the migration part, that just comes down to good planning.
From a disruption point of view, you will get some in the office while you change the Outlook client to talk to the new service provider. You will need to configure Outlook to point to both the old and the new one as the changes to your MX records (which is how the internet delivers your email) take 48 hours to propagate, so you could have email going in to both servers. You should leave it at least another 48 hours after that before you start removing the old accounts to allow for cached information to be flushed.

The remaining question once you have switched is what to do with old email.
You have two options as it will currently be stored in a PST file on the workstation.

1. Leave it alone and open the PST file as a separate set of email.
2. Import it in to your mailbox at the service provider.

Importing it will provide you with a single storage location and allow you to reference the email by OWA as well as Outlook. However if you have lots of email and the service provider is restricting your access, this may not be an option to you.

Simon.
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by:atabibian
ID: 17778120
Thanks.  Very helpful, including the referal to briworks.
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