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Exchange gotchas for a newbie

Posted on 2006-11-22
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Last Modified: 2010-03-06
I intend using an outsourced Exchange Server over a WAN for 10 dispersed users and I'm somewhat new to Exchange. I'd appreciate a heads up on the most problematic gotchas that should be addressed before starting. I'm particularly concerned about local backups and availability. For example, sync'ing mailboxes to local pst files. Thank you.
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Question by:cwest1
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11 Comments
 
LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18000020
>>For example, sync'ing mailboxes to local pst files.

That doesn't happen.

If you are using an outsourced Exchange Server, none of these problems should be yours - all you have to do is connect to it.

Perhaps your definition of "outsourced" clashes with mine, what are you actually doing?
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Author Comment

by:cwest1
ID: 18000560
Outsourcing to http://123together.com/, a service provider I'm considering. Although the ASP does backups/maintenance/support etc., I'm still concerned that there are or could be contingencies I should be aware of and plan accordingly. Afaik, if the ASP abruptly "disappeared" where's everyone's data? On their server, right. That sort of thing. Another concern—who stores the gigabytes of archives?
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:ikm7176
ID: 18001147
When outsourcing your email, you should consider the following
1.Support - It is invaluable especially if you are relatively new to marketing via an Email list.

2.Software - You want to make sure that the host company you choose provides you with software that has the features you are looking for.

3.Servers - You want to make sure the host company is using powerful servers dedicated to email list hosting. This will ensure the speed of delivery that you deserve.

4.Solutions - Your host company should also be able to provide you with solutions to any pitfalls that you may have with your list. This could be anything from technical issues to getting help with growing your list.

5.Because the server that is Hosting your my e-mail system, along with its unique Internet protocol (IP) address, is shared with other customers and their domains-- and if one of those customers is spammerr. Since your e-mail system shares an IP address with the spammer's e-mail system, and blacklisting is usually based on IP address, all outbound mail from that system, whether it was your or the spammer's, will be blocked.

You dont need to worry about backups/maintenance etc. These will be done by your Hosting company. All users data will be on the ISP server, unless you are using POP3 client to download mails.

Again, the storage should not be a issue. You get what you pay for. The SLA should specify how long it will take to recover the customer’s data when needed and the size for each mailbox.

Hope this information help!
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Expert Comment

by:ikm7176
ID: 18001151
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18001192
If your hosting providor goes pear shaped, then yes, all your data is on their servers.

There are a few more things here though, namely, if you are connecting to this server with RPC/HTTP (you should be) it will have an offline copy of the mailbox in full (by default) so you should be ok.

The other thing is that aside from that, your only other realy option is to download all mail with POP3 - this will nulify a lot of the benefits in the hosting provider and worse, it will add a reliance of backup onto the workstations (which are going to be in more danger than the servers).

Generally, the service provider sales documentation should answer a lot of these questions - they are the most common things people will worry about when it comes to outsourcing mail.

-red
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Author Comment

by:cwest1
ID: 18024996
Sorry for the delayed response—Thanksgiving happened :)
When I quizzed an Exchange hoster, they suggested that my concern about data preservation could be addressed by enabling journaling and pushing email copies and presumably contact changes to a store on another server. Also users could frequently archive to a (local) pst file. Seems sensible—yes/no?
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18025303
>>Also users could frequently archive to a (local) pst file.

This takes the responsibility from the hosting provider (who should be well equipped to handle a disaster) and puts it squarely on the user.

"Seems sensible?"

NO! :)

What is it that you are actually worried about happening?

-red
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Author Comment

by:cwest1
ID: 18025376
My concern is handing over the custody of data as it were. If the Exchange hoster dropped the ball in any way, what should have I done so that users can continue to access public contacts and calendar, and send/receive their email? I'm trying to plan for a worst case scenario. My experience is with POP/MSSQL and I'm ignorant with Exchange, but I'm "instructed" to use and outsource it.
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LVL 39

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redseatechnologies earned 1000 total points
ID: 18025443
I know that I would not feel very good about handing it over to someone else, however, that is part of the problem in handing over - it reduces your responsibility.

All the big name hosters have clusters and redundant servers and backup power and bomb proof hosting areas - they HAVE to be online 100% of the time, some even guarantee it!

But you are right, if something goes awry and the host collapses, what happens.  Short answer, your stuffed.  In reality, it is very, very, very unlikely that a major hosting provider will go bust.

Have a look at http://www.1and1.com - I have seen them mentioned around a fair bit (without comments like "RUBBISH") - if nothing else they will be a good comparison.

Long story short, if you want to have total protection against having a hosted solution go down and not come back up again - host it yourself.  It is the only guarantee you have.  At least then you will still be able to get at the data (presumably)

-red
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Author Comment

by:cwest1
ID: 18025525
I doubt if I could do any better than a quality service provider :)
I'll just hang onto my hat. Thanks for help.
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18025575
>>I doubt if I could do any better than a quality service provider :)

Knowing your limits is some of the best knowledge you can have :)

Thanks, and good luck with it,

-red
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