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Do I need an Exchange Server for 6 or 7 Users

Posted on 2011-03-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi

We are a small charity organization, have small network – Client / Server based network.
We have 6 workstations & 1 server (which acts as a Domain controller).  Currently we are using our Isps Pop3 mail account configured in Outlook.  We are thinking to get an Exchange server for managing emails.  My question is it worthwhile spending money for an ne exchange server for only 6 or 7 users in the Office.
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Question by:faysal_ahmed
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by:Glen Knight
Glen Knight earned 20 total points
ID: 35061375
As you are a small charity, I would recommend Small Business Server 2011 which includes an Exchange Server, you would also get fantastic discount.
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by:akhalighi
ID: 35061382
Not really , unless you really need to be able to use exchange calendar , BES , active sync , OWA and all those featurs. other than that , I guess a  pop3 service is a simple and easy solution.
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by:intekra
ID: 35061396
One of our non-profit customers uses techsoup.org for their licensing and get very deep discounts. Highly recommended.
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by:faysal_ahmed
ID: 35061418
what about Windows Home Server? will this be good for our network?
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061441
You can get Zimbra for free if you have less than 10 users.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061465
Windows Home Server will not give you Exchange.  I would seriously consider SBS2011, see here: http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/products/servers/Pages/sbs_overview.aspx

You can get SBS2011 for around £300 on charity pricing.  Can't remember the exact price.
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by:Flipp
Flipp earned 30 total points
ID: 35061471
I would look at the actual requirements that would lead you to needing an Exchange Server. There are other Hosted mail solutions that may be worth looking into before jumping at an Exchange Server.
From a financial situation, you need to consider not only the license cost, but also the maintenance and support costs. Obviously you would need someone qualified to perform this maintenance.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061477
>>Obviously you would need someone qualified to perform this maintenance.

The whole point of SBS is that it's wizard driven, it's designed for novice users to manage.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061492
demazter - Windows servers are not for novices, especially Exchange.  It is the reason we have jobs.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061513
SBS2011 is designed so that it can be managed by the small business owner.  That's a fact.  We have jobs because we perform the installations, maintenance and higher level support for when things go wrong.

This is the same with any type of server.
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by:jrwarren
jrwarren earned 20 total points
ID: 35061531
I would also consider utilizing Microsoft's Cloud services.   This is a hosted environment that woudl take nearly all administration away from the client.  They would only need to keep track of whom they assigned e-mail addresses to.  the Microsoft cloud host would provide all neccessary maintenance, etc.

Microsoft Cloud Computing

Microsoft Exchange Online
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by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 120 total points
ID: 35061556
SBS is designed to be wizard driven so that the average customer can manage the server without having to resort to paying for day-to-day support from expensive people like us!

Wizards make the whole process easy and most people can click on a wizard and follow the simple instructions or do you tell your SBS users that they can't?

Exchange Server on a Windows Server is not Wizard driven and would be beyond the average business user with a small amount of technical knowledge.

SBS scales from 5 users to 75 users and fits the bill perfectly here.

Alan
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by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 120 total points
ID: 35061583
The long and the short - you are a charity and buying a server, buying SBS and installing / configuring it is going to cost you a lot of money.  If you are working happily with your mail as it is, keep it that way or consider a hosted mail service if you want the features of Exchange, but not the administration / overhead.

Much cheaper.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061600
Ok, so he brings his email server in house.  What kind of Internet connection does he have?  Does his ISP allow relaying or will they do rDNS for him to be able to send out.  There are many other things to consider besides pushing a product.  For 6 or 7 users, unless you want to hire a firm to come in and evaluate everything you need to run this solution, it would be cheaper and more expedient to use an outside cloud service.  I'm sure you guys would be willing to consult for them if they get blacklisted.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061619
That's hilarious!
What's bandwidth got to do with an internal solution? Surely that would have more effect on a hosted solution?

At the end of the day, if they have a Windows server, they may as well have an SBS server, this will do everything for you.  Alternatively, go for SBS2011 Essentials which is designed to link up with the Microsoft Hosting Service for Exchange.

rDNS, isn't particularly difficult, call your ISP ask them to add one, 2 minute job.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061631
Not all ISPs will do rDNS and it would be cumbersome at best to run your exchange server through a dial up connection.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061645
I have never come across a business class ISP that will not configure an rDNS record.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061664
Comcast just starting doing it here.  Last year they would not let us do it, but they have apparently changed their policy.  MTCO still won't do rDNS for us and wants us to relay all mail through them.  Still some of that out there.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061671
well...being based in the UK, I've not come actoss a business class ISP that won't do it.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061679
demazter and alan - No disrespect meant to you, just putting my opinion in. Ask 1000 it guys the same question and get 1000 answers.  
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35061686
I agree, no disrespect taken.
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by:lloydclinton
ID: 35061719
I do find the infrastructure differences between countries very fascinating.  We still have thousands of mom and pop ISPs here in the states and they all have different rules.  Slowly but surely the big players putting them down.  For $80/month we can get a Comcast cable line, with 1 static IP, rDNS and 30Mb/down guaranteed.  We have it and I have never seen less than 75Mb/down on the download test.  It is getting better here, but it is going to take a while.
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notacomputergeek earned 310 total points
ID: 35111473
I've read this thread and the other thread you have regarding NAS. Here are a couple suggestions:

1) Replace exisiting server with SBS2011 and a low-mid level hardware platform. As a charity, you should look at writing a grant or finding a donor willing to finance much of this. A couple advantages over NAS only are user authentication and integrated/local e-mail. Backups can be done to a local, external hard drive.

2) Remove server and purchase a mirrored NAS drive for file storage. Buffalo Technology has good solutions for this.Some of my clients are in the 4-6 employee size that this solutions works very well. Email can be hadled through your existing POP3 accounts or purchase onlive hosted email, such as Microsoft or Google. Advantages to this solution are less technical knowledge required and less support costs.

If you see future growth within your organization, I would look at option 1. Option 2 offers lower short-term and long-term costs, if cost is a big factor.
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