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  1. #1

    Experience with Hosted Exchange

    We're planning to offer Hosted Exchange, and I'd like to know about experiences about it. Is it succesful? Is it profitable? Any important technical issues?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Detroit, MI
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    1,955
    we provide it to some clients and they are very happy with it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Atlanta
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    We use a Linux VPS + Scalix for each "Exchange" client and it has gone good so far... each VPS gets its own domain and a 25-user Scalix license free... we don't sell it as Exchange of course but all of the bells/whistles are there, including Outlook MAPI. Never had a user with over 25 Exchange accounts who didn't already do their Exchange on site. I'd say over 25 on site employees and you probably *need* your Exchange server onsite.

    www.scalix.com

    www.virtuozzo.com ;-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    14
    Hey drewnick,

    I am curious how much cpu/memory you allocate for each scalix based VPS?

    Thanks!!
    -----
    Metro Webworks
    Affordable Design & Hosting Packages
    http://www.metrowebworks.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Atlanta
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    574
    Quote Originally Posted by ronpoz
    Hey drewnick,

    I am curious how much cpu/memory you allocate for each scalix based VPS?

    Thanks!!
    512 RAM / 250 pcs CPU on a dual opteron 1.6.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
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    I have setup a number of servers to allow Exchange hosting, once you've got it setup its pretty easy, its the setup and domain isolation that takes the time.

    There are a number of control panels out now that can help do this, and alot of the newer ones don't require your 10 server clusters, you can use 1-3 servers to create a shared exchange system quite easily now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    542
    Exchange clients expect mission-critical service.

    Don't expect to get very far "ghetto hosting" Exchange. You need to plan for a full high-availability installation (clustering, SAN arrays, backup, archiving), etc.

    Microsoft has excellent architecture called HMC and complete setup-guides for both a full solution a "consolidated solution" but the latter does not have any redundancy and limited scalability.

    Exchange is not like throwing up a Linux box and running sendmail - you can't tip-toe into it.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Reston, VA
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    3,132
    at the minimum you should use two boxes, one as a frontend server and the other as the backend server, its easier to scale with this configuration. We offer hosted exchange for a few clients they love it.

    If your thinking about offering hosted exchange you need to use the MS SPLA for Exchange. Which isn't all that expensive + each mailbox gets a copy of outlook.

  9. #9
    Can some one explain what's hosted exchange?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    Posts
    238
    Hosted Exchange is offering Microsoft Exchange Server mailboxes to clients in a hosted environment.

    While I agree that Exchange hosting is not something that can be just cobbled together and needs a serious plan for infrastructure, availability and backup, the MS solution is very often way to high an investment for smaller companies who just want to offer Exchange to a few clients who want shared calendaring public folders etc.

    Some of the newer, smaller footprint solutions are great for this, whilst still allowing a number of benefits available from the larger solutions.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Location
    Atlanta
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    I agree 100% with the fact that Exchange clients will be mission critical. But, as sam_cogan said, that doesn't mean a small host has to get in over their head to begin offering it. As I mentioned before, we do it with Linux VPS's and it works flawlessly. Of course, VPS's are known for their scalability and fast restore times.

    Drew

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    542
    Every 3rd party mail server vendor is adding or trying to add, Exchange-like collaborative features.

    As Seinfeld would say "not that there is anything wrong with that", but please don't market MAPI protocol clones/ pseduo-Exchange enabled mail servers as "Exchange Servers".

    Example: The Microsoft CRM for Outlook that we offer to our clients will only work with real Exchange - not a clone.

    That's false and misleading and probably trademark violation also.

    N.B. If you are a smaller host and want to offer Exchange for a few clients, think like a businessperson instead of a techie. There are a few very good Microsoft Exchange partners that have excellent private-label reseller programs.

    You can offer mission-criticial Exchange with as little as one domain and one mailbox - no equipment investment, and better yet, full 24 x7 technical support at no cost to you.

    Again, Exchange is not the WHT sell-hosting-for 50cents less than anyone else price driven market. If you approach it that way, you'll be shooting yourself in the foot.


    Hint: look up hosted Exchange retail pricing from 1and1. You're not going to be able to compete on price against that...


    Quote Originally Posted by drewnick
    I agree 100% with the fact that Exchange clients will be mission critical. But, as sam_cogan said, that doesn't mean a small host has to get in over their head to begin offering it. As I mentioned before, we do it with Linux VPS's and it works flawlessly. Of course, VPS's are known for their scalability and fast restore times.

    Drew
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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    196
    Here is a good easy summary of Exchange:

    Exchange includes rich options not only for managing email, but also for managing calendars and contacts. All information can be securely and appropriately shared among users. For instance, users can schedule meetings, reserve conference rooms, create and post to public folders, and access corporate contact lists. The biggest seller is how Exchange syncs the data on the Exchange server with your local computer so you can access all your data form anywhere in real time. The Outlook webmail is pretty impressive as well aka OWA Outlook Web Access.


    Also you should find a host that offers SharePoint as well or if you are thinking of offering Exchange look into SharePoint services, as you will be hearing more and more about this service in the future. Actually Exchange 2007 no longer uses the folder sharing scheme but moves totally to SharePoint.

    It is true you need at least 2 servers to run an Exchange and be costly but if you offer good service and find some small to medium size business you can pick up clients quickly.

    Also Exchange is not for the novice on the client side it is a good idea to let the client know that you recommend an IT person to set it up. You can walk someone through it but it can be tuff at times.
    Jason T. Dickman - Senior Server Tech
    Cloud Based Solutions, VPS, Linux, Windows, Dedicated
    Our Internet - Your Complete Web Hosting Solution

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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    Maybe for testing purposes but to have it function correctly 2 is a must. But yes you are right it can be done with 1 box but as you said bad idea
    Jason T. Dickman - Senior Server Tech
    Cloud Based Solutions, VPS, Linux, Windows, Dedicated
    Our Internet - Your Complete Web Hosting Solution

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    542
    And you can host websites on Windows XP home computer and a DSL line - but should you? Any serious for-profit hosting of Exchange better not be on a single-server ghetto installation.

    Quote Originally Posted by sam_cogan
    I'd just like to re-iterate you can run exchange with just 1 server. Its not a good thing to do and I wouldn't reccomend it, but it can be done.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    542
    Good summary, but one minor correction -- although Microsoft has deprecated Exchange public folders, it is still supported in the upcoming Exchange 2007 and probably in the next version after that also.

    In the corporate world, (and Exchange has almost 50% of corporate email market) you don't just jank a feature - it takes a long time to deprecate and finally remove it.

    I do agree that SharePoint is totally awesome, especially the new 2007 version that adopts Visual Studio master pages for site customization (amongst many other new features).

    While all the nerds are stumbling over themselves "oohing and ahhing" the primitive web 2.0 sites that offer some basic collaboration and sharing (including Google calendar, jotspot, et. al.) SharePoint already provides a rich web-based collaborative infrastucture with an extensive programming API, customization, and integration capabilities.

    Oh, and unlike Googley sites, SharePoint (WSS version) is totally free of charge and doesn't include obnoxious ads.

    Did I mention the new Wiki feature now in SharePoint?

    Quote Originally Posted by jasontd101
    Here is a good easy summary of Exchange:

    Exchange includes rich options not only for managing email, but also for managing calendars and contacts. All information can be securely and appropriately shared among users. For instance, users can schedule meetings, reserve conference rooms, create and post to public folders, and access corporate contact lists. The biggest seller is how Exchange syncs the data on the Exchange server with your local computer so you can access all your data form anywhere in real time. The Outlook webmail is pretty impressive as well aka OWA Outlook Web Access.


    Also you should find a host that offers SharePoint as well or if you are thinking of offering Exchange look into SharePoint services, as you will be hearing more and more about this service in the future. Actually Exchange 2007 no longer uses the folder sharing scheme but moves totally to SharePoint.

    It is true you need at least 2 servers to run an Exchange and be costly but if you offer good service and find some small to medium size business you can pick up clients quickly.

    Also Exchange is not for the novice on the client side it is a good idea to let the client know that you recommend an IT person to set it up. You can walk someone through it but it can be tuff at times.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  18. #18
    Awesome, spiv! We are preparing to go for Exchange & SharePoint stuff since plain old shared hosting is tightly squeezed. I think most web hosts now need to go for hi-end solutions.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Lima
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    1,321
    mm.. I would like to see this Scalix environment running

    Quote Originally Posted by drewnick
    512 RAM / 250 pcs CPU on a dual opteron 1.6.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    574
    It is nice. Mine is in production, though.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    London
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    anyone that has managed to integrate MB with hosted exchange either via the http://www.microsoft.com/serviceprov...messaging.mspx or via ensim/hsphere?

    tnx


    d
    Ditlev Bredahl. CEO,
    OnApp.com & SolusVM.com + Cloud.net & CDN.net

  22. #22
    Thank you all for your interesting feedback. It has been really useful.

    I agree also with the positive vision on Sharepoint. I think it is a really good product from MS, indeed...

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