MS Exchange & Remote Hosted Mail. Best Configuration.

What is the best setup to use for providing us with email, we currently use personal online mail services such as Yahoo and Gmai in our small ( 5 staff) company.

Now we are in the process of getting website and email hosting setup with a hosting company,  and in parallel, we are also installing a new File Server locally with MS Windows Server 2008 and MS Exchange 2007.

When I did this before iIn the old days, in the previous place that I worked, where we had MS Exchange version 5.5,  we had the hosting company setup a single mail box on their remote hosted mail server. The mail box name was the same name as our registered company domain name. Then we would configure a POP connector within our MS Exchange to POP down the mail from the hosting company. Then the local MS exchange would interrogate the header information of each individual email,a and send it out to the appropriate Pc/MS Outlook/End User.  I liked this configuration but have been told by a semi technical person that their is no POP connector in the 2007 version of MS exchange, it has been done away with, that it now uses some sort of forwarding from the hosting company, that we would need to buy a third party connector if we wished to do it that how.  

I do not necessarily want to do this using an out of date type method such as I describe in my previous company. What I want to do is to do it the best and correct way that would serve us well in the years to come. Its a simple setup. Only 5 end users, and pretty much a green field site as we never had a server or MS Exchange here before and a remote hosting company, we will also be discontinuing our old personal email accounts and instead having accounts such as Joe@MyCompanyDomainName.com

Thanks for any well thought out advice.
Rob.
IP4IT StaffAsked:
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ob1_Commented:
For 5 people you should just use a hosted solution like http://www.mailstreet.com. You can access your mailbox through Outlook and it is $5 - $10 per user per month. That should be cheaper than the cost of Exchange + maintenance and configuration hours and costs (like ssl certs and make sure your mail is properly backed up and restored).
If you want to do it yourself then you could just create the users in on your server and make sure their mailboxes are backed up.
You don't have to route your mail through the hosting company to Exchange hosted in your environment. I would do either/or.
 
 
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Here are business standard options for you: (a) Setup Exchange in-house, or (b) go with a hosted exchange solution such as www.intelehost.com or www.sherweb.com/hosted-exchange.

The benefits of running exhcange far exceed the ones running POP or even POP extenders, etc.

To perform either of the options above, you will need to do the following: (i) register your domain (mycompany.com) with www.godaddy.com or another preferred registrar. (ii) After you have decided which solution best suites you, then go login to your registrar e.g. (www.godaddy.com) and change the DNS records according to the person setting up your solution. This will allow you to have robbie@yourcomany.com point straight to the Exchange Server (either the in-house one you setup or the hosted one as state above.). (iii) Setup a distribution list or an email containing all the customers who currently use your staffs personal email addresses - setup this email for each staff member's account stating we have a new email address please take note of it...we will no longer be using this email address effective immediatly. Now everone is informed of your move! (iv) Setup forwarders from your staffs old personal accounts to forward to the new ones. Do this by loging into Yahoo and Gmail respectively and under Options >> forwarding, here enable it and type your new email address. This way anyone, by mistake, who still send on the old address will still reach you.

Some of the advantages of going with Exchange for your business email are:
Anywhere & Anytime Access
everything syncronizes [phone, outlook at home, outlook at work, OWA]
Resource sharing - you can share any Outlook item [calendar, email, tasks, contacts]
OWA (Outlook Web Acess) - the most robust web mail app to date. This is virutall your Outlook within a web site. Anything you do here is reflected everywhere else.
and more...
 
Like ob1 pointed out, option a will cost you alot more money to maintain than a hosted solution. I would recommend gong with option B (the hosted solution) considering your company size. The only pros i can think of for your chossing option A is *if* you have specific needs and functionality demands/integrations that the hosted company will not support...only then would it be an effective ROI option.
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Glen KnightCommented:
If your only looking at 5 users then make sure you use SBS2008 you will find cost wise it's much cheaper than buying the full versions

once you have installed SBS and followed all the wizards to configure it so the following:

> ask your hosting to setup an A record for mail.yourdomain.com and point it to your external IP address (confirm what this is by going to http://whatsmyip.ord)
> setup an MX record for yourdomain.com and point it to mail.yourdomain.com
> ensure port forwarding for port 25 (if your using SBS then port 443 and 987 as well) is configured on your firewall/router to point to the internal IP address of your exchange server.

That's all you need to do to get it working.
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Glen KnightCommented:
I wouldn't be looking at a hosted solution.
If your buying a server and making it a file server you may as well get SBS2008 which is a complete small business solution on a single server.

Not only does it provide the already mentioned Outlook Web Access, ActiveSync (for mobile syncronisation) but you have a file server, sharepoint companyweb for internal colaboration, RWW for working from home/other office and connecting to your internal workstations.

In house every time!
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ob1_Commented:
I think demazter is correct about going with SBS - it is a lot easier to deal with for small offices. But you have to consider the technical knowledge required to maintain your own Exchange environment. Your decision probably should depend on your business requirements for email up-time and your knowledge of Exchange and Windows Server.
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Glen KnightCommented:
SBS is designed so you don't have to have the high level technical knowledge.

That's the whole point most small businesses don't.

That's why all the configuration is Wizard based.  You never have to touch Exchange or Active Directory.
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IP4IT StaffAuthor Commented:
I think that that what demazter said in his first post, sounds close to what we want to do. Note, we already have the server hardware purchased and we are in the process of installing it. We also purchased. MS Windows Sever 2008, and MS Exchange 2007. Whether is right or wrong, we have them now and the shrink-wrap is open, so that is what we will be using. Hopefully this proves easy. I'm not sure if it has wizards. The company already has a domain name hosted somewhere in Florida ( I need to check this out) although we are based in Ireland. We do not have an IP address. 1. Will we need our own IP address?  2. Will the installation be much more difficulty if we do not have SBS ? Anythink else to consider? Thanks.


>>demazter:If your only looking at 5 users then make sure you use SBS2008 you will find cost wise it's >>much cheaper than buying the full versions

>>once you have installed SBS and followed all the wizards to configure it so the following:

>> ask your hosting to setup an A record for mail.yourdomain.com and point it to your external IP >>address (confirm what this is by going to http://whatsmyip.ord)
>> setup an MX record for yourdomain.com and point it to mail.yourdomain.com
>> ensure port forwarding for port 25 (if your using SBS then port 443 and 987 as well) is configured >> on your firewall/router to point to the internal IP address of your exchange server.

>>That's all you need to do to get it working.
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Glen KnightCommented:
How familiar are you with Exchange and Windows installations?
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ob1_Commented:
You will need a public IP address. Exchange 2007 is beyond overkill for 5 users but it will certainly work. At least you don't have multiple sites to configure so you have that going in your favor :)
Besides the firewall config and DNS record setup that dematzer mentioned - you will need an Anti-Spam solution and a mail A/V solution. Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange (SMSME) is a good mail A/V and for spam you could use something like Sunbelt Ninja, Spam Assassin, or an ASP like MX Logic.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Here is a good guide for installing Exchange 2007: http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Installing-Exchange-2007-Part1.html

you will need a FIXED IP address not a Dynamic one unless you have access to a smart relay.  The DNS records I have already mentioned will still be needed.

Spam software wise I would recommend http://www.vamsoft.com it's priced per server, myself and a few other EE experts use/resell it and it's by far the lightest weight and most effective SPAM product I have seen.
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ob1_Commented:
Oh also you need a backup solution like a SCSI tape drive, a set of tapes, and a copy of Symantec Backup Exec. Or if you already have one make you add the Exchange Information Store to the backup once it's setup.
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Glen KnightCommented:
The built in Windows Backup/NT Backup is sufficient you don't need a 3rd party product.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Also did you buy software assurance? If so go straight for Exchange 2010!!
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Glen KnightCommented:
Also hopefully you have not bought Windows 2008 R2??
Exchange 2007 as of now is not supported on R2 it will be In the future but not at the moment.

If there is any possibility you can send the software back and buy SBS you could save yourself a small fortune!
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