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Server 2012R2 - sbs 2003 and office 365 exchange.

Posted on 2014-01-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-14
Hi,  We have an existing sbs 2003 server. A new identical box and a copy of 2012r2 essentials.

8 machines on windows 8 and 7.

I plan on making a clean install on the new box with 2012R2 as our existing box is in a bit of a mess.

Our ISP can provide office 365 with exchange and active sync which is important as we use iphones ans ipads when out of the office. My other option would be to clean our existing box and purchase a copy of 2012 server ans 2013 exchange.

I suppose my question is what experiences has everyone has from similar configurations?.
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Question by:dlogan83
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13 Comments
 
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39806648
You cannot install Exchange 2010/2013 on to Windows 2012 R2 or Essentials of any version.
Primary thing to consider when looking at the cloud is bandwidth. What have you got bandwidth wise? Both up and down, because Outlook is pretty heavy on the internet connection.

You get nothing different between Office365 and on premise, other than a monthly bill and someone else looking after the server for you. A decent consultancy would probably be able to look after the server for less than the cost of an Office365 subscription.

I have clients with both, but here in the UK, those on premise are a lot happier than the cloud solution.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:dlogan83
ID: 39806783
Thanks Simon,

My download is around 17mbps and up is around 1mbps. We use BT for everything. They recently switched over to a basic office 365 version, although I got around this by using a catchall and stunnel to keep our exchange 2003 working.

If I was to go for a on site exchange what would be my best configuration to work alongside server 2012. We are a small company with a small IT budget.

Thanks.
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Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39807107
On that speed connection, the cloud is going to be a pretty poor experience. Are you in a fibre area? If so then getting an 80/20 connection might make it usable.

Otherwise the best solution for a company of this size would be to get a copy of SBS 2011 and use that - putting the Essentials licence you have on the shelf. While no longer sold by Microsoft, it is still widely available, but be quick as supplies are running out. That can sit on a machine with 16gb of RAM, two or four hard disks in a RAID array and work very well. Exchange 2010 so is rock solid, widely supported.

The other option which is now being deployed for small businesses is to use a single machine with virtualisation.
Single licence of Windows 2012 allows two VMs per machine. Use HyperV to host it (or VMWARE). Use one VM for the domain controller (this could be downgraded to Essentials and then integrate it) and the other for Exchange. Purchase Exchange 2013 and then you can decide whether to deploy that version or use downgrade rights to use Exchange 2010.

You will need CALs for both Windows 2012 and Exchange 2010, whereas with SBS 2011 you can get a single CAL for the entire product line.

Do the maths, as it may work out cheaper to use the older product.

For the email part, get a static address from BT and then have email delivered directly.

You may want to consider getting a consultant in - if it is done correctly both solutions work very well, but if not they can get messy. If you haven't got deployment experience of the newer products then you are in for a very steep learning curve.

Simon.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 39811172
With only 8 users I don't know how on earth you could justify installing and maintaining your own on-premise Exchange Server.  It really makes no sense.

Your bandwidth is FINE for that amount of users.

Server 2012 Essentials is designed to work with Office365.  In fact, it is simplified by being able to configure your mailboxes from within the Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard (see attached pic).

Jeff
TechSoEasy

Dashboard
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39811927
Jeff - I can tell you right now that running more than 2 or 3 users with small mailboxes is about all you can do on a UK ADSL connection to Office365. Anything more than that and it starts to become unusable. Nothing to do with the download speed, all about the upload. 1mb is the sync speed, in practise you are lucky if you get half of that in most locations.

Simon.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 39816320
If upload speed is the problem, then having an on-site server would be much worse for mobile users than using Office365.

Again, for 8 users, I could hardly defend how to justify the additional expense of on-premise (contrary to your statement above: "You get nothing different between Office365 and on premise, other than a monthly bill and someone else looking after the server for you. A decent consultancy would probably be able to look after the server for less than the cost of an Office365 subscription.")

There are all sorts of cost comparison calculators (such as this one: http://rdsrc.us/bfbH5e).  I haven't seen one yet that shows the costs to be anywhere close to each other -- especially for so few users.  

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39822746
Most of the cost comparison calculators are usually heavily biased towards either cloud or on prem and that one you have linked to is no different. As with many things in Microsoft's world, they have no reality of the real world. Dropping SBS and expecting all small businesses to go to the cloud is a classic case of that.

There is nothing different between on prem and Office365. The products are identical, on the same development cycle etc. You get a few more perks, particularly around Office Licences, but at the expense of the freedom of on prem. Cloud does not suit everyone. I am currently bring two clients a month back on prem from cloud solutions.

I would agree that on site server on that bandwidth would be worse for mobile users than Office365, but in most companies people are in the office more than they on the road.

On this we will have to agree to disagree, everyone has their opinion both ways.

Simon.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 39823230
I would agree that on site server on that bandwidth would be worse for mobile users than Office365, but in most companies people are in the office more than they on the road.

True, but as you stated earlier, "Nothing to do with the download speed"

In the office, isn't that mostly what matters?  

If they are sending large files, it doesn't matter if the server is onprem or cloud -- the file would still need to get uploaded.

I'm just trying to figure out your argument.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39826232
Send a large attachment to the internet doesn't have a direct impact on the end user, They send it, they carry on working and leave Exchange to get on with it.
Working remotely, a poor upload speed for everything that you do, has a direct impact on the performance of the end user.
Furthermore sending large attachments isn't something that happens in most companies all day every day.
I don't see the point in crippling the constant operation to get a benefit for something that happens a couple of times an hour at most. (In general).

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:dlogan83
ID: 39829129
Thanks for the help so far guys. Would there be an option to retain my existing SBS 2003 server and use this as the on site exchange with the new 2012 essentials server as the domain controller?. We use a software programme known as Archetype and it requires a link to Outlook to manage our emails. Obviously Outlook 2003 isn't compatible with Office 365 and I am guessing it wouldn't be compatible with exchange 2013 either.

I wonder if this would save on the additional cost of another exchange and the cost of upgrading outlook.
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Author Comment

by:dlogan83
ID: 39829571
ok, So I have done the Maths, Migrating to SBS2011 would be the best option doe our network as we could retain our existing copy of outlook 2003. We are keen to take advantage of RDP access. Could I use the copy of Server 2012 Essentials to control this on another box?.

I have a new Box to originally install server 2012 (now SBS2011 by the looks of it) and our original box.
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39829590
You don't need another machine for RDP access to the workstations - SBS can do that for you, plus it doesn't need additional CALs if you use SBS.
If you use another machine then you need RDP CALs.

Outlook 2007 is oldest version of Outlook you can use with Exchange 2013/Office365.

I would be looking to dump the SBS 2003 installation completely if it was me.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:dlogan83
ID: 39829623
Hi Simon,

I thing your suggestion is the way to go. SBS2011, it comes OEM with 1 machine and 5 Cals and an additional 5 Cals should do the job. Forget 2012 all together for the time being.
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