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Running MS CRM 3.0 with a hosted exchange account? Also, can my server handle this load?

My company has decided to implement MS CRM 3.0.  We are currently running a peer-to-peer network with no server.  I plan to buy a the following hardware:

Dell Poweredge 1900
Dual 1.6Ghz quad core processors
4 GB Ram
36GB 15K Raid 1 for my OS
3, 146GB 15K Raid 5 for data
Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium

Basically I will be installing MS CRM on this server.  We will have only 4 users for CRM.  We have over 250,000 contacts.  We currently have 10 exchange accounts hosted remotely.  

I have 3 questions:

1). Will this hardware run this load?  What if I move my mail inhouse eventually?  Any recommendations?
2). Can I run MS CRM with a hosted exchange account?  Do I lose any functionality?
3). We have some decent laptops with 2GB ram.  How will the performance be when they are using the data offline? FYI 250,000+ contacts.

Thanks so much.
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MFredin
Asked:
MFredin
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2 Solutions
 
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
1.  The hardware is just fine to run SBS 2003 including CRM 3.0.  You should definitely move your email inhouse though because SBS2003 includes Exchange and doesn't run well without it.

2.  I don't think MS CRM can run with a hosted exchange account unless you use a hosted CRM as well.  (www.crmlive.com).

3.  When you say you have 250,000+ contacts are those true QUALIFIED prospects?  Are they people that you've actually done business with?  Or just your mailing list.  Because generally, when you use CRM 3.0 you will define things a bit differently.  CRM 3.0 breaks your "contacts" into ACCOUNTS, CONTACTS and LEADS.  In most cases the Accounts would be those you've done business with, Contacts are those who are qualified and you've actually had two-way contact, while Leads are just a list of potentials.  These would normally not need to be replicated in the off-line data synched to laptops.  

Take a look at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/crm/product/marketingautomation.mspx for more info about these categories and how it works.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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MFredinAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

Thanks for the response.  I think we will end up just running exchange in house on the same box.  We actually have 2 domains and we can use both with exchange correct?  We could set which one we want as the primary for each user and that's the email they would send from correct?

We also use BlackBerry service and would plan to install the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Small Business Edition on the same box along with all this other stuff.  

Do you see any troubles with this configuration?

Thanks!!
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MFredinAuthor Commented:
Oh and you are correct, the 250,000 contacts would actually be classified as leads.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
There shouldn't be any problem with that.

See this article about multiple email domains: http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2004/10/hosting-multiple-domains-on-sbs-2003.html

And BES Express is what you want to use:  www.blackberry.com/go/express

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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MFredinAuthor Commented:
Hey Jeff.  I talked to the Microsoft Partner assigned to me.  He tells me it can be connected to a hosted account.  The problem is I don't want to pay him $200 to do it.  
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
$200?  That's all?  You'd be silly to not have someone do this for that amount.  (Or you don't value your own time very much then because it might take you hours to figure this out, plus if you get it wrong, your sales people could be wasting their time and lose sales as well).

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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MFredinAuthor Commented:
Oh sorry... I meant $200 per hour.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Still, if they know what they are doing, it would be a bargain... they should be able to tell you how many hours it would take.  (I wouldn't guess more than 2 if they know what they are doing).

But like I said, I don't think you can connect a local CRM 3.0 installation to a hosted Exchange service.  

You might want to just test the waters with Hosted CRM first though.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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