in-house sbs w/ exchange or in-house sbs w/ hosted exchange

Posted on 2010-09-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
What are the pros and cons to hosting just exchange outside of the in-house sbs?  I've got a 15 workstation CPA firm that is looking to host as much of their operations as possible.  I support a hosted exchange account for businesses that don't have/need a server like sbs.  But is it a good or bad idea to not use exchange an a sbs that they already own...and instead host it somewhere else?

Question by:Malamamoto
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Expert Comment

ID: 33652189
You’re not responsible for support (backups, updates, upgrades)
Potentially more reliable (reliable Internet connection, dedicated support, SLA)

It costs money
Since they’re a CPA firm there may be security requirements (eg. PCI, encryption, etc)
Cached mode syncing is dependent on Internet connection speeds
LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 33652243
Hosting is usually cheaper when the number of users is small and the obvious advantages are that you get high availability, upgrades for "free" and you are not responsible for maintenance and administration

One of the drawbacks to consider is that there is a trust level between you & the hosting company since all the emails will be hosting there and you will need to abide by their restrictions (quotas mailbox size etc...)
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Accepted Solution

Alan Hardisty earned 2000 total points
ID: 33652369
Why buy SBS (which comes with Exchange) and then host Exchange?  If you are going to host Exchange, buy Windows Server only (although SBS is much cheaper to buy).
Hosting Pros:
  • You don't have to backup your Exchange data.
  • They will most likely have clustered Exchange Servers, so there should not be any down-time.
  • Fixed monthly cost, so you can budget.
  • You don't need Exchange skills to keep the system up and running (although there should not be much maintenance required).
  • Spam filtering can be good, but may not be brilliant.  You will probably have little control over the sysem to fine-tune it.
Hosting Cons:
  • You are not in control of your data - if their systems go down, you will not have any idea how long it will take to fix the problem.
  • You still have to backup your non-exchange data on your server.
  • Less flexible with hosted - you can't control as many things as you can when it is on your own server.
  • You already paid for Exchange with your SBS server, so you are now paying for it again.  Seems a liitle daft!
  • Less control over spam filtering than doing it in-house. You can fine-tune your own server to eliminate spam.
  • Size restrictions on accounts are usually 2Gb - you can pay for more space, but with SBS, you can lift restrictions and use more space for free.
Can't think of any more at the moment.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33652448
Pro: you will probably save money if you go hosted (with a small number of users).  Exchange license, Exchange CALs, antispam solution, backup software and media, plus the time and effort it takes to for upkeep of all these items.

One more con:  When you are in the office, your LAN speed is probably at least 100Mb.  That's how fast Outlook can talk to the Exchange server if it is not hosted.  If it's hosted, the speed will be a lot less (unless you have a *very* fat pipe, so sending or receiving emails with large attachments may seem a little slow with hosted.
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 33652566
How does hosting with SBS save money on Exchange CAL's?  When you buy SBS, it comes with Exchange CAL's as part of the SBS CAL, so if you have a user who needs access to the server, you need an SBS CAL to allow them access.
How does it save money on backup software and media?  Are you suggesting that they don't backup their data on their SBS server?  They might get away with a smaller backup device, but backups of the data / server still need to be done.

Expert Comment

ID: 33652645
I experienced this dilemma not so long ago when I was deciding whether or not I should setup my own Personal server. I ended up chosing to setup my own Small Business Server 2008 Standard over having a hosted Microsoft Exchange account. As mentioned by others, doing so allows greater control of your Microsoft Exchange and servers and accounts. My personal experience is that a few days ago when I received my Apple iPhone 4. I connected my iPhone 4 to the Exchange ActiveSync provided with Microsoft Exchange. It synchronized with no issues or problems, however one of the policies turned on by Microsoft Exchange by default is to force a Passcode/Password for Exchange ActiveSync. Anyone who has an iPhone or similar device knows that having to enter your Passcode/Password everytime you want to use your phone can be extremely annoying. All I had to do was go into the Microsoft Exchange Management Console and turn this policy off.

My point here, is that if I had a hosted Microsoft Exchange Account, I would of have not been able to turn the Passcode/Password policy off. I think this is just one very simple example as to why a hosted exchange is sometimes not the ideal option.

Expert Comment

ID: 33652665
I forgot to mention in my previous post. Another reason having an in-house Microsoft Exchange Server is connectivity issues. With a hosted exchange the connection through Microsoft Outlook is via HTTP whereas if you deployed an in-house server you would most likely be experiencing gigabit speeds to the Micrsofot Exchange Server.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33652752

My bad, didn't know SBS CALs came with Exchange CALs or rights.  :-)

As for the backup, what is the additional price one has to pay for an additional Exchange-aware agent  (this additional expense wouldn't be needed with hosted Exchange)?  You're right, though, that they would still have to have backup media and software for their other data.  Still, as an example, the Symantec Backup Exec Exchange agent is about $900.  That alone pays for 6 months (15 users @ $10 per mailbox per month)
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 33652815
With SBS - you could use something like Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server which only costs about £306 / $555.  This backs up whatever is on the disk and does not care about open files nor does it have to be Exchange Aware.
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 2010 Small Business Server Edition is a simple, cost-effective backup and recovery solution for Microsoft Windows Small Business Servers that helps minimize downtime and avoid disaster by easily recovering individual data files/folders or complete Windows systems in minutes –– even to different hardware, virtual environments, or remote locations.
Symantec Backup Exec 2010 For Windows SBS costs about £550 / $1,000
"Symantec Backup Exec 2010 for Windows Small Business Server is the perfect data protection solution for Microsoft Windows Small Business Server Standard and Premium Editions. This robust solution provides integrated deduplication, granular restore features, open file protection, disaster recovery and backup protection for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint Services, SQL and Windows workstations"
SBS software is usually much cheaper to buy than the full server packages with bolt-ons.

Author Comment

ID: 33654470
Wow, lots of info...thanks people.  I'm still not sure which way to go though.  :(  Keep the comments coming!

I don't think that bandwidth is much of an issue, they wouldn't be emailing large attachments between users on the LAN, they'd use shared folders.  So I'm going to ignore the bandwidth pro if going in-house.

Hosting won't be cheaper because it will be an additional cost above SBS, which they already own.  If they didn't have SBS, then I'd agree it's cheaper.  So this isn't a pro to hosted exchange.

One hosted pro that I like is that antivirus/spam would be controlled at their site.  So viruses can be caught off-site and quarantine before it ever reaches the LAN.  This is a pro for hosted.

Now, since they are trying to host as much as they can and I know that they won't be using sharepoint....SBS would probably onliy manage the user profiles.....Should they get a hosted server as well???  Then has  NAS device as a file server???  The NAS would require much less maintenance and management, but it would keep bandwidth intensive tasks in-house.  And they wouldn't need to use their SBS.

Any thoughts on this setup?

Expert Comment

ID: 33669655
I don't know the timespan in which the server needs to be installed, but you could wait for the next SBS version called "Aurora". It is a smaller version of SBS that does not include exchange, but rather relies on hosted exchange. Have a look here: http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/beta.aspx

I haven't tried it or anything, but it could be something for you.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33705908
Thanks!  We're going hosted exchange.  The tie breaker was the fact that IF the internet connection goes down in-house, that they'd still be able to received emails.  They get very bad internet connections in their area, so this is a valid concern for their office.  Thanks!

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