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grantballantyneFlag for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Best Exchange Solution for New Server

Dear Experts

I have just purchased a new Dell Server for a client with 20 users.  The server comes bundled with Windows Server 2012 - and therefore no Exchange Server.

SBS 2011 would have been the ideal OS for this client.  However I am now wondering as to the best solution to deal with the Exchange requirement.  They are not keen to have their exchange data hosted offsite via a shared exchange server or via office 365. options are (as I see it).

1)  Source a copy of SBS 2011 and format new server - and install SBS 2011
2) Source a copy of Exchange 2013 and install locally on Windows 2012

Can anyone advise on best fit for purpose and cost effective solution?

Many thanks
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Casey Weaver
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SBS is a deprecated product at this point. Which version of Server 2012 do you have? Essentials or Standard? You'll want to run a VM for Exchange, if you have standard, then you have two licences of 2012 Standard available to you to create vm's on that physical server with. So if that is all in place, just get a copy of Exchange 2013 Standard and your necessary CALS.
What other software is the company using? IE are you going to setup an RDS or LOB server?

Have you discussed with the customer their "pain-points" with 0365? For a lot of customers this offers very good value for money and often sitting down with the customer and finding out why they dont want to go a specific way, you often find out that their reasons are not always justified concerns.

I assume the customer is a commercial customer? So would need to look at Exchange 2013 via a VL as well as User CALs for exchange (and you will need User CALs for Server 2012 as it doesnt come with any as standard).

I have only done pricing in Australia for Local Government and Non-Profit as that is was we do, and we can not justify going to Exchange 2013 with all the licensing costs, setup and configuration. Also we generally have been running SBS + RDS box. So now we are running S12 with ESS + RDS Box. If we put on Exchange then we also need another Server 2012r2 license to run the 3rd VM.

And I am assuming you are going to setup this as a VM? I am pretty sure it wouldnt be a good idea to put Exchange 2013 on AD server (but I havent done any 2013 yet).

SBS 2011 just works which is nice but it is getting a bit dated now. Support ends in 2019 for most of the packages so if you are putting in a 5 year solution you just need to be aware of that.

For ease of use I would be putting in SBS 2011, especially if you are familiar with it. If you dont know Exchange 2013 I have heard its a completely different beast!

One other issue is trying to source an SBS 2011 License.

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Its Windows 2012 Standard.

Any idea on cost for a copy of Exchange 2013 Standard?  This is a client with only 15 users.

Thanks Microsoft for depreciating SBS!!!!
you should probably do a cost analysis before deciding against office 365
with only 20 users, might be less expensive

how much memory and disk space does your server have?
that is also a factor in utilizing hyper-v for exchange on that box - having sufficient capacity to host it
i would not consider windows 2008 R2 and exchange 2010 deprecated
both are supported for another 5+ years
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Nat Wallis
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Thanks NAT

You have pretty much confirmed what my own thoughts were - ie - getting a copy of SBS 2011.

This is after all a small client with 15 users and a single server.  The single server will act as DC, fileserver and host a legal software application - which only requires SQL 2008 express to run.

The 'pain points' with Office 365 I think are largely down to the fact that all 15 clients are fairly new PC's with Office 2010 or above already installed and paid for.  Why should they pay for a subscription based 365 office product after already investing in 15 copies of Office 2010 or above?

Thanks again
You don't have to get the Office 2013 licenses on Office 365. You could just get the 4.99/5.99 per user mailbox hosting.

Interesting that you comment about the legal software application.

If they are a legal firm? Then things like Legal Hold within Office 365 might be of interest (basically you retain a copy of every email forever).

SBS definitely easiest option as you could potentially just run it physically. Personally I would look at running it as a VM so you have a bit more flexibility in the future if you need to add an additional server or even some VM workstations.

The main benefits of Office365 is when you are utilising the product and all the extra features that are bundled with the product. Like Lync and SharePoint etc. Also by using this in a hosted environment it makes less headache for you when some new patch ... doesnt play nice with SBS and you get to try and fix that! Not much fun!

Also with Office365 you get multiple usage rights so staff can use them on home computer as well as not needing additional license for desktop/laptop/mac.

You are also getting all the updates with the product. I much prefer Office 2013 over 2010 that is for sure :-)

I am sure others could tell you a lot more about benefits of O365 - I havent done much with it yet.


A thing we ran into with Office 365 with our law customers is many of the programs come with addons that need to integrate into Outlook. Many of these addons aren't 2013 compatible, and if they are, they require the regular version of Office 2013, not click to run like the Office 365 portal offers.
What else is this 2k12 server going to be?
Office 365 sucks, i would avoid that like the plague..
It's expensive, you need a big internet pipe, and they constantly have issues with connections on there end.. when you call them you get to speak to nigentierw5id who is from the US.. pronounced Nick.. Right..

If the 2k12 server is strictly purchased to be a mail server.. then i would run the newest thing on it, set it up and call it a day..

Stay away from SBS, which is a dead cause.. if your option was sbs or office365 i would still run sbs, but since you have another option.. i would go that route..

If it's going to be a sever that runs everything..
I would look into using Hyper-V and virtualize exchange on top of the server..
as that way you can control how much resources it sucks down..

another option..
If you have an older server floating around is to run Postfix which is part of ubuntu 14.04 server and is free...
In my opinion, your proper solution is to use your existing Server license and purchase Exchange.  Do the math.  You already own the server license.  Obtaining an SBS license will cost you likely around $700-1000.  Then you need to obtain CALs for it as well.  Plus you need CALs for the 2012 Server.

Get the Exchange license and the Exchange CALs.  It's going to cost you roughly the same and the end users will have more capability and a longer product lifespan.

As for setting things up, it's unwise and even foolish in MOST cases to NOT install virtually.  Virtualization adds a great deal of flexibility while adding a RELATIVELY minimal amount of complexity.  And by you now, you should be very familiar with it... multiple products that are mostly free have been available for years.  If you're not familiar, get familiar.  If your laptop runs Windows 8 Pro, install Hyper-V and start playing.

Then understand licensing - THAT is a tall order, I know.  *I* don't understand all the nuances of licensing.  That said, I DO know this:  Your ONE copy of 2012 offers you TWO installations in virtual machines *IF* the hardware install *ONLY* runs Hyper-V and support programs (like a backup tool).  One VM becomes your DC/File server, the other your Exchange Server.  So other than PERHAPS a little RAM (depending on how much you originally ordered), there is NO additional hardware costs and NO additional OS licensing costs