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Installing hosted Exchange

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  • Installing hosted Exchange

    My boss wants to do provide hosted email services for our customers. We have customers spread over a large rural area and most of them are using POP3 from the ISP. Well, due to regulations it needs to be more secure and the POP3 must go away.

    Hosted Exchange seems like a viable option as long as we can keep the costs reasonable. I can't find very much information on how to set it up, just where I can purchase hosting from someone else.

    The main issues are:
    Cost restrictions prevent putting an Exchange server at each location
    Remote travelers need access to their email though Outlook, not OWA
    How do the customers connect to us? VPN is expensive. TLS? HTTPS? Can this be done at a desktop/laptop level for the traveling users?

    Any idea on where I should start? Is Exchange 2007 the best option or can I should I use 2003?

    I know I am asking a pretty vague question but this is the best source of info on the web, I think. Might as well ask the experts. Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Installing hosted Exchange

    You mean something like this....?

    It depends, what is the budget like?
    Last edited by hyeongkim; 7th December 2007, 17:31. Reason: syntax error.
    MCP, MCSA+messaging, MCDBA, OCA.


    • #3
      Re: Installing hosted Exchange

      The problem you will have is that the hosters don't share their information. You will find very little on the subject elsewhere and they don't tend to post in community forums.
      The other problem you have is making it pay. I have been approached to build hosted sites a few times and unless you have 10 - 12,000 mailboxes it doesn't pay.
      You cannot really put it on one server, you will need multiple servers and some kind of clustering. Then there is the permissions issue, interfaces for managing the servers etc. You can buy some interfaces off the shelf, but most hosters have either built their own or customised it heavily, with the associated development costs.

      Exchange 2007 hosting is still in early days, Microsoft don't have their solution available yet, or if it is out it is only in the last week or so.

      Technically, most hosters use RPC over HTTPS (E2003) or Outlook Anywhere (E2007) for Outlook access, with OWA as an option. Those features were practically designed for the hosting market, to allow remote access to the server without the need for a VPN. Autodiscover (E2007) is another feature aimed at hosting.

      Your best option, at least to begin with would probably be to outsource it. There are a number of providers who will do "white label" solutions which you can brand as your own. That will minimise your outlay and investment while you see if there is a market and you can generate the business. It also means someone else has to worry about maintaining the server and you can get a look at how it works.

      Simon Butler
      Exchange MVP

      More Exchange Content:
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      Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.


      • #4
        Re: Installing hosted Exchange

        I have to respectfully disagree with Simon on this one. We host email using Exchange for about 50 companies comprising about 600 mailboxes totalling about 500GB of email. We also host Blackberry and Goodlink for about 200 users. We run only a single Exchange server with an external direct attached SAS storage array configured with 1 RAID1 for the OS and Exchange binaries, 1 RAID1 for the SMTP queue and Temp directories, 1 RAID1 for the transaction logs, and 1 RAID10 for the databases. We have a second "offline" server running Doubletake software that replicates the data in real time from the primary and handles all the failover tasks (rehoming users, etc.) if the primary server fails. We have no performance issues and hosting multiple email domains isn't much more complicated than hosting a single email domain. There are several articles that describe how to do this at


        • #5
          Re: Installing hosted Exchange

          have a read in this direction

          "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan