SMS2003 Hosted email but want public folders for shared calendars and contacts

I have walked into a SBS2003 std install that was never completed.  The customer is not using exchange now and is using Outlook 2010 to do pop3 email at an ISP for their domain name email.  No computers have been added to SBS2003 so no authentication is taking place.

My question is:

Can I use Exchange for public folders shared calendars/contacts when an ISP is hosting the email and they don't want the email content within exhange?  I would like to avoid an extra inbox tree and just get public folders going if possible.

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Cliff GaliherConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, I don't have a suggestion as such as I haven't interacted with the client, but I will say this. I trust my primary physician. If I didn't then I should get a different one. I trust that he isn't pitching unnecessary procedures, operations, or medications just to line his pockets.

In today's world, we treat businesses as separate entities (or at least they can be when properly filed.) They can be sued, they can be held liable, they can be doing well or doing poorly, and their books have to balance just like any household. Where people have blood, businesses have employees. Where people have a circulation system, businesses have an IT infrastructure. And like any person should have a regular check-up, businesses need regular IT attention.

Now you *can* got to the ER every time there is a problem, and a business *CAN* call the cheapest IT provider out there. Or you can develop a relationship of trust. A business, particularly a small business, doesn't need *in house* IT, but a trusted IT advisor will lead to a healthier business just like regular checkups by a trusted doctor will catch health issues earlier than going to the ER.

If I went to the ER with a leg pain and the doctor told me the pain was caused by a event much larger than what I went in for...I'd respect that drastic action should be taken. If my primary doctor told me he found a lump, ran a biopsy, and found a tumor, he caught the problem even before the issue became ER worthy.

The point of my long rambling is this: it is up to you to have the conversation with the business and establish that trust. You *can* tell the client what they need, even if that isn't what they brought you in for. There are two potential outcomes:

1) They will listen to you, you will know your stuff, and they will begin to build that trust. Yeah, it'll suck for them at first (having a tumor would suck too!), but your ability to explain the situation will help them through it, they'll come out the other side stronger, and you will have a client that trusts you, will call upon you, and will be a steady revenue stream.

2) The client will balk, tell you that they only want shared contacts, and threaten (and perhaps follow through on) calling a cheaper IT person to resolve their issue. This is the type of client that will always go to the "ER" and when "NowCare" opens down the block at a slightly cheaper rate, they'll jump. Long term is not their strength or their goal, and you deal with *a lot* of abuse and still lose the client when they have a perceived "better deal" on the table.

If #1 happens, it is good for you *AND* the customer. If #2 happens, better to save yourself the abuse and agony. Fire the client. A good IT consultant knows when that is the right move and is willing to give up the short term income to build a better more reliable long-term customer-base, better reputation in the community and industry, and generate better word-of-mouth referrals.

So advice? Dunno. I don't know your client. But implementing a solution I know is broken? Never. Not worth my career or reputation.

Hope that helps,

Again I'm amazed that Exchange is often "dissed". It's a great product. You should convince the customer that Exchange is the BETTER way to go and drop using POP accounts. I'm assuming your a consultant based on the question. So you need to let them know using Exchange completely is the BEST solution for their business. They already own the product why no really use it!
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Yes, what you want to do is technically possible, but be forewarned that it will be a logistical nightmare. Exchange 2003 is built on top of Active Directory and thus is intended to be used as such. By choosing to have mailboxes elsewhere, by having unjoined machines, and by basically dismissing AD entirely, you will have a *lot* of duplicated accounts, passwords, empty mailboxes, and waste. The time spent keeping such a system running would easily justify the cost of migrating to a proper domain platform (SBS or otherwise) with centralized administration, authentication, management, and As an IT manager, I can honestly say that if I discovered an IT professional that allowed this waste of productivity to exist, say, during the hiring interviews and background checks, that person would get a black sticker on their file in the database and would *NEVER* be hired or recommended. It really is that bad.

With that said, good luck, and I do hope you find a path to your goals that is amenable to you and your client.

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oconnorusaAuthor Commented:
I agree cgaliher.  It is a bad solution to not leverage exchange properly.  The server has been sitting for 3 years unused and not a single update applied.  I came into the picture when they wanted shared cals/contacts in Outlook 2010.  I was happy to see SBS2003 as their server but not very happy with the single drive and incomplete "who knows how" initial install.  The customer even let his kids surf from the server and no AV installed to boot.  I am tempted to walk away or just suggest backing up the data and doing a complete nuke/reload.  BUT that may be more than they want to pay for to just meet the goal of shared contacts/cals.  Maybe Outlook 2010 BCM would be a decent solution.  Any further thoughts would be appreciated.
Speaking from a consultant standpoint. You have to layout to the potential client what's good and bad about their current setup. Then explain in detail and how it should have been done from the beginning. The facts you mentioned in both your postings confirm they are lost and need major help and guidance. If they refuse to accept your recommendations then you should seriously consider parting ways. Continuing with this potential client will only lead to frustration on your end and more strange request on theirs. These type of clients often don't respect or understand the value of IT within their business.
connectexCommented: elaborated on what I tried to post quickly. Thanks!
oconnorusaAuthor Commented:
Nice comments cgaliher.  Sound advice.  Just starting out doing consulting and I certainly want a good rep as far as trust and stable solutions,  Happy repeat customers with good referrrals are needed.  I did speak with the client today about a staged approach of stabilizing the server, being sure it is virus free and patched.  Address the shared contacts/calendars as a separate issue later.  The SBS server hardware is weak with minimal memory 2GB and only 1 drive.  I discussed today the possibility of a sbs2003 complete reload or new hardware and sbs2011 at a future date.  For now I have done a service by just patching the box, seeing it is virus free, reviewed their lack of backup and put a decent data backup in place.
Glen KnightCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See my comment at the end of the question for more details.
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