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Windows Server 2008 upgrade options?

Posted on 2013-11-26
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Experts, I pre-empt this support request by saying that I have NEVER installed and set up an Exchange server before (though, I have managed one) and so am feeling a little daunted by the possible task ahead of doing so. However, let me not get ahead of myself... my question:

A client who currently has a Windows Server 2008 setup is wanting to jettison their existing (non-exchange) POP3 email service through a local, Australian provider (Telstra/ Bigpond). I floated looking at Google Business Apps & Zimbra, both of which I've had much experience in setting up, but they weren't interested as they wanted to pay everything upfront and not have any ongoing (and often increasing) costs for emails, increased email usage, etc.

They have asked that I install MS Exchange onto their existing MS Server 2008, however I'm not sure what options I have available to me.

Is it possible to purchase just the Exchange component and install it into Server 2008? If so, I'd presumably have to find Exchange for Server 2008, or would Exchange for Server 2012 work (I can't imagine it would, but it can't hurt to ask)?

Failing all that, do I just need to get them to bite the bullet and upgrade their Server 2008 to Server 2012 with Exchange?

Any and all constructive suggestions welcome... thanks in advance...
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Question by:Servant-Leggie
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 39679933
It's a complex scenario these days.

First, you need to be clear on the version of Server they have - if you mean 2008 and NOT 2008 R2, that's an important distinction.

Option 1: If the client is fewer than 65 users (technically 75) and doesn't expect to grow, then the most economical solution would be to replace (add really) an Small Business Server 2011 (SBS 2011) server.  BUT, you MUST act quickly - SBS 2011 is at the end of its sales life and only available pre-installed on new hardware and that will stop by the end of the year.  SBS includes Exchange 2010 and Server 2008 R2 bundled and with additional features and capabilities (though you should understand, it's an integrated product and should not be managed like you might normally manage a server - it includes MANY wizards and they really need to be used for a stable, reliable system.

Option 2: Install the appropriate version of Exchange on the existing server.  This is NOT recommended.  Exchange requires Active Directory and that requires a server.  BUT Exchange SHOULD NOT (but technically can) be installed on a domain controller.  That means you really need a second server license as well.  If you did install it on the DC, you could make it work but there are issues you'd need to be aware of.

Option 3: Buy a new copy of Server 2012 and Exchange 2013.  This has a positive in that if you install virtually (as you shuold) you can install TWO copies in VMs - this would give Exchange it's own server and still allow another server for another purpose (upgraded DC/Second DC maybe).  BUT, this is LIKELY the most expensive option.  (Don't forget the CALs for everything).
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by:Servant-Leggie
ID: 39694955
Leew, thanks for the feedback. Although the dearest option, I think option 3 would work beast for this particular client.

Thanks for setting out the options in an easy-to-understand way - very helpful!
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