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  1. #1
    It is what it is Sage23's Avatar
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    Anyoen have experience with or thoughts on a hosted exchange server?

    Run down: I just left the comfort of a large law firm to go to a small (3 attorney, 1 assistant) firm. I'm trying to push the into the current century (they use aol for their email accounts! ). I'm going to get a domain name and website set up, and now I'm thinking about email. I was thinking about just running pop3/imap access but then started thinking that exchange might be the way to go for shared calendaring, etc. No way I'll get the initial outlay to have our own server . . .

    Anyone have any thoughts or experiences with a hosted exchange server?

  2. #2
    superArti artifice's Avatar
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    I'd recommend google small business solutions - you can have email @ your domain.com, and use IMAP to push it to Outlook.

    It's free, and frankly for jsut 4 employees much easier and cheaper than hosting your own exchange.

  3. #3
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I use 1and1.com for a small private forum. and a couple of other things. I don't do a hosted server, just a couple of sites on a shared server, but they do offer MS Exchange (which I haven't used, I just know they have it) that they would host for you without you needing to manage the whole thing.

    Their reliability seems pretty good, and the rates are reasonable.

    PM me if you check it out and it looks interesting, I seem to recall that they may have a referal deal, and it might save you a few $ for your first couple of monhs or something if someone refers you.

    It has ben a while since I looked, so there may be other good deals around too.
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  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    One thing to keep in mind about hosted is limitations on size. One small segment of the company I work for has about 5 employees. 2 are the owners and 1 is the controller. They are ADAMANT about having no size restrictions on their mailboxes. Most hosted in my experience still limit mailbox sizes to "megs" and not even "gigs"...

    hosted exchange is definitely GREAT if you want to use the collaborative aspect of exchange without the hosting fees, accessible anywhere. most offer push email to devices and it tends to work really well.

    Ironically google recently had an "outage" in the mail system. It was long enough to be a burp (15 hours this time, there have been other outages). In the business world thats unacceptable service. So any business wanting to be run on a free service without an SLA is risking potential downtime. My other issue about google is privacy. Unless they start hosting it in another country I would not trust any information to truly be "private"...google and other companies will continue to run into gov't walls about privacy of data. and yes, I know, the web isn't private. But its worse when a gov't agency feels they have a right to all of the information held in that store.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1350...oogleapps.html (I can't believe I am referencing mac world)
    http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?.../08/17/0219226

    Just something to consider when using a web service.
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 08-18-08 at 02:26 PM.

  5. #5
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    ^^ doesn't Exchange by nature have a limit?

  6. #6
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    artifice, a computer nerd?

    i'm in a small office and we did the in-house exchange server. Microsoft Small Business Server seemed somewhat affordable when compared to the monthly fees of hosted services. The added benefit was being able to log in from home to access not only email, but network files as well. Whether thats valuable to your firm depends on how much interaction and file sharing you do. I also had to deal with about 12-15GB of email that they wanted to keep from their old Outlook PST files... yep, multiple PST files per user since they have a 2GB file size limit.

    exchange has default limits which can be increased or removed. There is still a 2GB limit for "offline" access (email stored on local computer) when the client is not connected to the exchange server, not sure if theres a way around that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    There was a forum that was posted about this a long time ago, and I gave him a solution that he seems to be content with thus far.

    I highly recommend The Message Center (http://www.themessagecenter.com). I have been using them for over a year now, and they are by far the best provider I have used. This is compared to other popular services, such as Exchange My Mail and Mail2Web's free and paid services.

    For starters, they give you a 3 GB mailbox which can be shared with seven different user names. You can maintain all of your distribution lists, your global address list and other mailboxes/users with a very simple control panel. The only disadvantage is that you are not given a domain; you have to buy one yourself (which isn't very expensive; GoDaddy has a domain service for $1.00/year).

    I have had ALMOST NO downtime since I began with them in 2007. I did have an outage once, but I can't remember when and it was for server upgrades which did make access a lot faster. They are still on Exchange 2003, in case you need WebDAV support or wish to use Exchange with Linux-based clients like Evolution.

    Despite all of this, the real kicker for me is their customer service. It's ABSOLUTELY SUPERB. A technician is almost always available to help you, and they are always a pleasure to talk to. They go to great lengths to help resolve your problem. As an example, I remember how dedicated they were to trying to wipe my Treo 680 device when I lost it in the subway. It was never able to pick up a signal, so it never got wiped...but they tried for several days to assure that. (By the way, you get FREE ACTIVESYNC and, if you need it, BES and GoodLink services are very cheap).

    If you're interested, I would be more than glad to give you more information in a PM.
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    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  8. #8
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    One thing to keep in mind about hosted is limitations on size. One small segment of the company I work for has about 5 employees. 2 are the owners and 1 is the controller. They are ADAMANT about having no size restrictions on their mailboxes. Most hosted in my experience still limit mailbox sizes to "megs" and not even "gigs"...

    hosted exchange is definitely GREAT if you want to use the collaborative aspect of exchange without the hosting fees, accessible anywhere. most offer push email to devices and it tends to work really well.

    Ironically google recently had an "outage" in the mail system. It was long enough to be a burp (15 hours this time, there have been other outages). In the business world thats unacceptable service. So any business wanting to be run on a free service without an SLA is risking potential downtime. My other issue about google is privacy. Unless they start hosting it in another country I would not trust any information to truly be "private"...google and other companies will continue to run into gov't walls about privacy of data. and yes, I know, the web isn't private. But its worse when a gov't agency feels they have a right to all of the information held in that store.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1350...oogleapps.html (I can't believe I am referencing mac world)
    http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?.../08/17/0219226

    Just something to consider when using a web service.
    To follow up on Maelstrom's comment:

    What attracted me to Mail2web years ago was their free Exchange service. Little did I know the reason why they never offered a SLA...until I signed on with them and had frequent downtime. Even their paid service (which is still incredibly cheap at $2/mo) was unreliable...and that came with an SLA!

    If you were thinking of setting up your own Exchange server, be prepared to invest a LOT of time learning its infrastructure. Most companies offload that responsibility to someone else because maintaining an Exchange server requires a LOT of time and knowledge about how it works.

    Stay away from free services.
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    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  9. #9
    superArti artifice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    artifice, a computer nerd?

    i'm in a small office and we did the in-house exchange server. Microsoft Small Business Server seemed somewhat affordable when compared to the monthly fees of hosted services. The added benefit was being able to log in from home to access not only email, but network files as well. Whether thats valuable to your firm depends on how much interaction and file sharing you do. I also had to deal with about 12-15GB of email that they wanted to keep from their old Outlook PST files... yep, multiple PST files per user since they have a 2GB file size limit.

    exchange has default limits which can be increased or removed. There is still a 2GB limit for "offline" access (email stored on local computer) when the client is not connected to the exchange server, not sure if theres a way around that.
    apparently you missed the memo that i'm a huge geekoid

  10. #10
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    ^^ doesn't Exchange by nature have a limit?
    I am assuming you are talking about the database size, it used to. Exchange Standard had a 17gig limit to the size of the database. This was changed with sp1 to 71gigs. Exchange enterprise has an unlimited sizing on the db and also allows multiple stores.

    Individually you can control size limits pretty easily. While there is no official size requirements 2 gigs is prudent as PST files previous to office 2003 tended to become corrupt over 2 gigs.

  11. #11
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    Starting with Outlook 2003 you could create a Unicode format pst file which is limited around 20GB in size.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830336

  12. #12
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    exchange has default limits which can be increased or removed. There is still a 2GB limit for "offline" access (email stored on local computer) when the client is not connected to the exchange server, not sure if theres a way around that.
    Newer versions of microsoft office support much larger psts and ost's. Office 2003 and up works just dandy. You just need to ensure you are creating them using unicode.

    see post above, he actually took the time to find the link. Keep in mind, these new pst files are not compatible with pre2002 office

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    I highly recommend The Message Center (http://www.themessagecenter.com). I have been using them for over a year now, and they are by far the best provider I have used. This is compared to other popular services, such as Exchange My Mail and Mail2Web's free and paid services.
    .
    you are my new favorite person. 3 gigs hosting is a gem in the rough.

  14. #14
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    thanks cyclewolf and Maelstrom, that looks like it'll be helpful.

  15. #15
    T-Shirt Guy ehidle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artifice View Post
    I'd recommend google small business solutions - you can have email @ your domain.com, and use IMAP to push it to Outlook.

    It's free, and frankly for jsut 4 employees much easier and cheaper than hosting your own exchange.
    +1

    I do this for a lot of small clients, and my own domains hehe...
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  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage23 View Post
    Run down: I just left the comfort of a large law firm to go to a small (3 attorney, 1 assistant) firm. I'm trying to push the into the current century (they use aol for their email accounts! ). I'm going to get a domain name and website set up, and now I'm thinking about email. I was thinking about just running pop3/imap access but then started thinking that exchange might be the way to go for shared calendaring, etc. No way I'll get the initial outlay to have our own server . . .

    Anyone have any thoughts or experiences with a hosted exchange server?
    Starting with Outlook2003, you don't need to have an ExchangeServer to have shared-calendars. There's a shared workgroup calendar feature, which is basically a calendar that's hosted on someone's Outlook-profile on their computer. In a law-firm, you'd put this on the person who does most of the scheduling since they'd be the one entering the appointments.

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/ou...111491033.aspx
    http://www.outlookpower.com/issues/i...001157001.html
    http://oit.utk.edu/exchange/faq/faq_...k_calendar.php
    http://www.slipstick.com/OUTLOOK/share.asp (Outlook2007 can even push the calendar onto a website from your desktop)
    http://www.slipstick.com/calendar/scheduleall.asp - Outlook tools


    I like Google for a mail-host. You can sync the mailbox with POP3 and have it available at multiple locations. GoDaddy is pretty good value for a 1-stop shop for domain-name, web-hosting and mail-server.

  17. #17
    It is what it is Sage23's Avatar
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    Can I just say that you guys ROCK!

    I posted the same question on one of the computer-centric forums I'm on and got like 2 replies.

    Google was an initial consideration (I use it for a family domain), but Maelstrom pretty much summed up my thoughts and concerns there.

    The Message Center looks promising if we decide to go the hosted route.

    Also considering the Kerio route since its lower cost (and since I am a Mac user). Open to any thoughts you all have on that one . . .



    P.S. I'm also loving all of the female computer geek advice here!

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