Configuring Exchange 2003 server to route mail to Linux box

Posted on 2010-11-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am very unfamiliar with message routing with Exchange and we have a current appication where I need the e-mail sent to a specific e-mail address in our AD to be routed to the SMTP server on the linux box where our ticket system is.

We are using Exchange 2003 SBS and Linux Centos v5.

So I need the following to happen:

Someone sends an e-mail to The message is recieved by our main SMTP server ( and forwads it to where the ticket system can deal with it.

Could anyone provide detailed instructions or maybe a link to detailed instuctions on how to set this up properly? I am needing an easy to follow solution here as it is coming down to cruch time. I plan on awarding points today if sufficent answers are given.

Question by:Gssc1414

Expert Comment

ID: 34150261

1) Do you want to store the e-mail in Exchange mailbox too or just forward it to Linux box?
2) Can you set up a namespace different than on your Linux SMTP server?


Author Comment

ID: 34154472
1) Either way, I can store a copy on the Exchange server or just simply pass it through - doesn't matter to me.
2) No, I have to use the same namespace on the linux box.

Expert Comment

ID: 34154830
You could enable pop3 on the exchange server and use something like getmail [1] to pull the email from the Exchange server into the Linux server every few minutes.

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Expert Comment

ID: 34155337

You need to configure Exchange so that it isn't authoritative for the shared SMTP address space ( in your example). If is your primary address space then you may need to add a phantom address space as your default (you can't configure Exchange so that it isn't authoritative for your default address space). When Exchange receives email for a non-authoritative  address space, if the recipient isn't in Active Directory then it will attempt to deliver the message to a system that it. This needs to be your Linux box. You can do this in a number of ways. The most suitable for your circumstances will probably be to configure the Exchange SMTP virtual server to forward all unresolved recipient email to a specific host.

Everything you need to know is right here...

Hope this helps, Dave

Accepted Solution

tstritof earned 500 total points
ID: 34158609

what server is your primary server for Exchange or Linux? From your post I concluded it's the Exchange box. If it were your Linux box than there would be no reason not to route your mails directly to Linux instead of Exchange. If I'm correct about this - do not make changes to your Exchange address space setup.

Let's move on. When I asked about namespace of the Linux box, I didn't mean the domain in server fqdn ( which you don't have to change. I was referring to SMTP domain name (sorry but I'm not too familiar with Linux terminology). I was hoping it would be possible to setup the Linux SMTP server to accept mail for both (if necessary) but also something like acme.ticket. That way you could create a mail recipient in Linux with e-mail address support@acme.ticket (and also - but only if necessary

If that is possible in Linux I'll guide you on what to do in Exchange and Active directory. It consists of two main steps:
1) Create an Exchange enabled contact in Active Directory with primary mail address support@acme.ticket.
2) Create a SMTP send connector in Exchange Management that will route all e-mail for acme.ticket domain to as smart host.

Creating an Exchange enabled contact in Active Directory (this is for W2K3 server DC).

1) Open Start > Programs > Administrative Tools > Active Directory Users and Computers.
2) Choose and appropriate AD container (OU) or create a new one.
3) Right click on the white space in the right side window and choose New > Contact.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 1.
4) On the first screen enter the name and descriptive display name for the contact and then click Next.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 2.
5) On the second screen leave the check box in Create an Exchange e-mail address field, make sure that the Alias field contains only text "support" and then click Modify.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 3.
6) Choose SMTP adress in the list and click OK.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 4.
7) Enter support@acme.ticket in the E-mail address field on General tab of Internet Address Properties and then click OK. This will be a primary e-mail address for this contact.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 5.
8) The address will be displayed in E-mail field of New Object - Contact screen. Click Next.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 6.
9) Click Finish. This finishes the creation of new contact.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 7.
10) To check your newly created contact, right click it and choose properties. The primary e-mail address (support@acme.ticket) should be displayed in E-mail field on tab General in contact properties.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 8.
11) If you click on the E-mail Addresses tab you will probably see an empty list at this poin but thats normal since Exchange probably didn't run the recipient policy update yet. For now just check there's a check in the Automatically update e-mail addresses based on recipient policies field.
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 9.
Close the contact properties window. Now you'll have to create a new SMTP send connector in Exchange Server to deliver any mail destined for acme.ticket domain to

1) Open Start > Programs > Microsoft Exhange > System Manager.
2) In management console right click the Connectors container and choose New > SMTP connector.
 Create SMTP send connector - step 1.
3) On the General tab enter the name for your new connector, and choose to route all mail through this connector to smart host Add your Exchange virtual SMTP server to the list of local bridgeheads.
 Create SMTP send connector - step 2.
4) On the Address Space tab add new address space for domain acme.ticket with cost of 1. Click OK to create the connector. (Later on if you'll experience any problems with delivery to acme.ticket domain, you may try to go to the properties of your standard SMTP connector and change the cost of default SMTP * namespace on that connector to a number greater than 1.)
 Create SMTP send connector - step 3.
5) Your new connector should appear in the list of connectors.
 Create SMTP send connector - step 4.
Close the Exchange management console.

Now return to Active Directory Users and Computers and open your contact properties again and navigate to E-mail Addresses tab. Depending on your recipient policies you should now see e-mail addresses listed but they might be different than in my example screenshot. (If there are no adresses visible you can close the contact properties, reopen Exchange System Manager, navigate to Recipients > Recipient Policies container and then right click each recipient policy in the right window and choose Apply this policy now... This should ensure the e-mail addresses on your contact are created).
 Create AD Exchange enabled contact - step 10.
The following 2 addresses must be visible on your contact:
1) support@acme.ticket (should be bolded which means this is the primary e-mail address).
2) (not bolded - not primary).

If these addresses are not there your recipient policy may be set up in a way that doesn't work as you need to. To correct that - remove the check from the Automatically update e-mail addresses based on recipient policies field and manually add those two SMTP addresses. Make sure that you set the support@acme.ticket as the primary address.

This is it. Try sending the e-mail to It should be delivered to your Exchange server and automatically routed to your Linux box.

What happens is the following:
1) Exchange server receives the e-mail for
2) It resolves to the address of the Support contact.
3) It determines that the primary address for Support contact is support@acme.ticket and forwards accordingly.
4) The message is routed through the newly created SMTP connector (responsible for acme.ticket) to your Linux box which is set up as a smart host in that connector.

And that's it. It all hinges on the possibility that you can set up your Linux box to receive mail for acme.ticket domain and create a recipient there for your ticketing system with the address support@acme.ticket.

Good luck and regards,

Expert Comment

ID: 34158786
One more thought.

If during the test process you run into Exchange errors saying that the e-mail can't be relayed for acme.ticket domain, then go to the properties of your new SMTP send connector (Support Ticketing on Linux Box) in Exchange System Manager and place a check mark in Allow messages to be relayed to these domains field on the Address Space tab.


Author Comment

ID: 34163536
Wow, thanks for the awsome response Tomislav.... This is exactly what I was looking for.

I will be testing it out today hopefully (if other people cooperate with me) and will award points asap.

Thanks again!

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