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  • SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

    Hey guys (and gals!),

    First of all, let me apologies for this topic. It doesnt make too much sense, because to be honest im not really sure what i want to know. Basically i dont know what Exchange does specifically, so im asking, what does it do and how is it set up?

    Anyway, we've got a SBS 2003 box sitting here doing very little (file server and one database app). The network is currently not on the internet, and so far the only way we get emails is by having a standalone laptop download all our emails. Obviously this is not the best setup.

    So im wondering what you would suggest the best solution to be for us. We've got 2 domains (company.co.uk and company.net) and mailboxes setup on each and id like to get exchange running. So, how would i and how does it work?

    The emails (stored on the host, which we currently download to the laptop via POP3) would be downloaded to the server right, and then Exchange would dish them out to the clients?

    I dont see how it works. Does it act as a mail server (ie does the mail go straight to our server and do we ditch the current hosts?)

    Are there any good guides as to what it does / how to set it up? And what, in your opinion, would be the best solution to my situation, or how do most businesses have it set up?

    Sorry for that rambling post... basically any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated. So dont be put off by my incoherent post!

    Thanks for any help.

    Cheers.

  • #2
    Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

    Its SBS, therefore you don't have to do anything much yourself. With SBS the wizards do everything for you. Therefore the first thing you should Se doing is running the Connect to the Internet and Email Wizard which you will find in the Server Management Console. That will guide you through the config of the server for email, including fetching email from your existing POP3 mailboxes.
    SBS can work in two ways for email.
    1. Pulling email down from your ISP using the POP3 connector. That is not designed as along term solution you should be moving to SMTP delivery where the email is delivered to your server direct.
    2. Direct SMTP delivery. That is how Exchange is designed to work. Requires a permanent connection to the internet and ideally a static IP address.

    There are numerous articles on how to setup the server on the Internet, plus books etc. There is also the online help in the product because SBS is designed for non-technical people to setup.

    Another option would be to get a good consultant to cone in and do it for you. If the server is already installed then it shouldn't take more than a day to set up correctly.

    Simon
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

      Cheers for the response (appreciated), and sorry for my slow reply (router died - grr)

      Ok, after a bit of looking i think i understand more what Exchange server is... it IS a true mail server right? I mean, if i set up (MX?) records with my domain host i can direct all our emails straight to the SBS server... so this would mean i wouldnt have to pay for email hosting services right?

      Just wondering, as one of the accounts is catch all, how would exchange handle that? I mean i know you can route [email protected] to joe blogg's outlook, but what about joebla[email protected] (for example). This is not spam, just a typo, and exactly what catch all is for. Does exchange stick all the "non assigned" mail into a special folder (postmaster / administrator?) or does it put it as junk, or delete it?

      Finally, is it easy to share information across all users (public folders yes?) I say this as at the moment, the stand alone laptop has around 400 contacts stored. Would i be able to share these across the whole network and could i have a shared mail box that everyone could email through and access (say [email protected])?

      Thanks again for the help and any further help.

      Cheers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

        Exchange cannot cope with catch all mailboxes without third party tools.
        However I would not advise that you use a catch all at all. They are nothing but a spam and virus trap and actually mean that any email address is valid at you server. If you are then subjected to a directory harvest or mass spam attack, then you will come in one morning and find a server on its knees and a mailbox with 100,000 items in it.
        The best option is to enable recipient filtering on the server. That will cause the server to reject the message at the point of delivery. That will deal with spam addressed to non existent users and ensure that legitimate users get an NDR immediately.

        Is Exchange a true email server? I haven't been asked that before. If it isn't, then an awful lot of people have been wasting their time. Exchange can (and should) replace whatever email services your ISP is providing. You may have to purchase additional software for antispam and antivirus protection, but if your ISP is providing that then you are paying for it somewhere.

        Shared contacts is possible, through a public folder is my usual method. Anything else is a pain to manage. However Exchange is not a CRM, so don't treat it like one.

        Shared mailboxes are also possible. Again you could use a public folder for that purpose as well.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

          Thanks for the continued support.

          So would recipient filtering reject all the names that werent registered on the exchange server (either by default, ie [email protected], or by an added alias ie, [email protected]) effectively allowing it to use catch all account as usual? So with my example of joeblaggs, Exchange would just send a failure report to the sender?

          As i understand it, i need to go to my ISP and change my records to point to the IP of my server, causing all emails to be routed there? (Looking at my ISP's control panel now, i have the option to change MX Records, Address Records and NS Records - ive got everything there i need right?).

          I would really appreciate your glad eye over this query: i was looking at a guide here and saw that in the Internet and Email Configuration Wizard, they used "mail.company.com" - what does that actually mean? That they have created a new subdomain (mail) and are routing all email to there? That they have a server named "mail"? Im generally confused by this step as different sites advise differently, and was wondering whether you could explain what this step actually does (i wouldve thought you just put in the domain name, ie company.co.uk?)

          Thanks again for the help

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

            If you change the MX records then the catch all becomes redundant. Forget about it.
            To have email delivered directly then you would potentially need two things.

            1. An A record pointing to your external IP address. This could be mail - therefore making mail.domain.com
            2. The MX record can then be changed to mail.domain.com . MX records cannot be IP addresses.

            You should also speak to your ISP (ie who provides the Internet connection) and ask for a reverse DNS or PTR record to be set on your IP address that matches the A record that you created above.

            Recipient filtering drops email for any address that does not exist on the server. If the address exists, on a group, mailbox, public folder, whether primary or secondary address, it will allow the message in and deliver it.

            Simon.
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

            Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
            More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
            Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
            In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

            Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

              Cheers for sticking with me... i realise it can be like talking to a brick wall!

              Im still confused with these different records. Whats the difference with A records, MX Records NS Names and CNames? You're saying i would only need to worry about A and MX?

              So, this mail.domain.com - what is it? Is mail what i should be calling the server in original setup (nor SERVER01 for example)? Is it a subdomain or what?

              Could you give me a quick overview of the steps i need to complete in order to get Exchange going? ie Setup A Record, Set Up MX record etc.

              Finally, with exchange what happens to the other domains, ie company.com, company.net (and company.co.uk). Will all the email addressed to [email protected] get routed to company.co.uk and then distributed from there? Would users be able to send out, and receive email as [email protected]/net/co.uk?

              Thanks again for the help

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

                Im still confused with these different records. Whats the difference with A records, MX Records NS Names and CNames?
                An "A" record translates a name to an IP address. For instance the zone "com" contains a domain called "microsoft". Within the domain "microsoft" there are several "A" records for a host called "www". Each "A" record lists an IP address which is valid to access a resource called "www".

                An MX record tells internet servers about a Mail eXchange server. An MX record will be examined by a server which wants to send mail to a particular domain. The MX record gives the internet name of the mail server for that domain (for which there should also be an "A" record) and its IP address.

                NS records are there to designate the Name Servers for a domain - i.e. the servers which are capable of translating names to IP addresses for a given domain name. So for instance the "com" zone has a number of NS records for the "microsoft" domain; these refer to servers which can tell a querying server which DNS servers can tell it about hosts in the "microsoft" domain.

                "CNAME" (or ALIAS) records allow you to use several names for a given "host". So - an "A" record within the Microsoft network for www.example.int might be 172.16.54.38. Within the organisation, you might want users to be able to access the server by the internal name of "ExampleSite". You would set a CNAME record of name "ExampleSite" and the data in the record would be "www.example.int". DNS would then look up the name "www.example.int" and the result would be 172.16.54.38.


                Tom
                For my own and your protection, I do not provide support by private message under any circumstances. All such messages will be deleted and ignored.

                Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

                  Things are further complicated by some domain name registrars calling something like mail.domain.com a sub domain. Technically they are not a sub domain, but a host.

                  domain.com is the main domain.
                  www is a host in domain.com
                  mail would also be a host in the domain.

                  Hosts can be either a CNAME or an A record.
                  A CNAME (aka alias) points at another host. A CNAME cannot be an IP address.
                  An A Record is host with an IP address.

                  An MX record points at an A record (it can point at a CANME, but that is not recommended).

                  While you can have Exchange accept email for any domain that you care to put in to recipient policy, if the email addresses are applied to the account then users can only reply from the default email address. Any additional email addresses are for incoming email only.

                  Simon.
                  --
                  Simon Butler
                  Exchange MVP

                  Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                  More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                  Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                  In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                  Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

                    Thanks again for the replies, i think im going to have to read your posts a couple of times, but it is kind of sinking in.

                    One or two of the domains we have arent really accessed at all, so im going to try to set up exchange with that first (by the way, does anyone recommend a good web host. Freeola where this domain is currently, does seem to allow you to control the DNS records?)

                    The way i see it, i have to:
                    1. Install server 2003, in the Internet and email wizard enter "mail.domain.co.uk".
                    2. Add an A record for "mail" pointing to our external static IP.
                    3. Add an MX record, pointing to the A record (to mail.domain.co.uk).
                    4. Add a recipient policy for the new domain in Exchange.

                    Is that the gist of it?

                    Nearly there, only a couple more questions!
                    1. So for the other domains, i just need to do the exact same steps above for each domain? (And just set my main @domain.co.uk as primary address?)

                    2. To set up OWA, i should:
                    * Add a CNAME owa, pointing to mail.domain.co.uk

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: SBS Exchange - Newbie wanting to learn and ask some questions

                      Any thoughts? Im basically there now, just want some help with that last post before i feel confident to do this thing.

                      Thanks

                      Comment

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