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  • Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

    Hi

    I want to build a standalone server running Exchange 2007/2010 with the purpose of running it as a Backup MX server for multiple domains.

    The idea is to provide this as a valueadd service to my clients as all of them (Small companies) only run 1 exchange server (mostly sbs) and have nothing in place in case their main email server goes offline.

    I have only ever dealt with Exchange 2007 in SBS2008 scenario's so I am unfamiliar with the licencsing and build side of it.

    Is it possible to configure Exchange 2007 to put all mail for a domain (regardless of
    the specific recipient) into one account?

    Basically I want to offer 2 options - a single account to catch all mail for a domain (free) or specific user accounts setup (i.e a mirror of their main domain) for a fee.

    Comments?

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

    There is no catch facility in Exchange natively, and you shouldn't use one anyway. Catch Alls are nothing but a spam and virus trap.

    I don't use Backup MX services at all, what I do is use a dynamic DNS service instead. I have outlined how I work on my blog here:
    http://blog.sembee.co.uk/archive/2007/02/02/38.aspx

    You could then configure Exchange as a relay point as a temporary measure (although I prefer to use an IIS server as a temporary measure).

    If the client suffers from large amounts of email to non-valid recipients, then you may want to look at using a third party tool to maintain a list a valid users so that you can filter them out.

    The problem with your second option is how do you get the email from your server to theirs? If the account is configured inside Exchange, then Exchange is going to use it. Therefore anyone on your server sending to their email domain will find the email doesn't go anywhere.

    Nice idea, but in practise, a lot more difficult to setup and removes a lot of functionality for very little, if any, gain.

    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: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

      Hi Simon

      With regards to Anti-Spam / Anti-Virus, wouldnt this be ok if I had something like McAfee Groupshield on the server?

      As fo getting their email from mine to theirs - I was actually going to use a VPS with a completely detached domain. During any outage users could OWA in to pick up mail, in the event that the outage is for longer than a couple days they could use Outlook Anywhere.

      As I dont expect these outages to be very often, and even if it happened, quickly resolved - users could either download these emails via PST or in the event it is literally a few emails, just forward them on to a seperate email account.

      At least this is how I planned it in my head - thoughts?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

        Hi Simon

        One more thing - using your Dynamic DNS way, what do you do if the client's line/server drops during the night?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

          You have 48 hours to make the change before email is lost.
          Therefore a drop during the night isn't a problem. If the systems are down, you make the change first thing and email is delivered to the standby server.

          As for AV/Antispam, relying on something GroupShield is too late - the most effective point to drop email is at the point of delivery. On my blog I have a screenshot from a client who dropped 8 million messages in 11 days and they only have a few hundred users.

          As I have said, the gain is very limited. The loss of functionality is significant.
          If you are using secondary MX records then the secondary MX server (ie yours) will get more spam - spammers target them. The second server will need to pass the email across. There is this misconception that if you have two MX records with two different costs that the higher cost will not have email delivered to it - that is not the case.

          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


          • #6
            Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

            Originally posted by Sembee View Post
            There is this misconception that if you have two MX records with two different costs that the higher cost will not have email delivered to it - that is not the case.

            Simon.

            Hi Simon,

            just to clarify in case if both the mx records one with higher value and another with lower value and if send is using dns not smart host and server is up and running then ideally mx with lower cost will be picked up ... is it ?
            Thanks & Regards
            v-2nas

            MCTS 2008, MCTIP, MCSE 2003, MCSA+Messaging E2K3, MCP, E2K7
            Sr. Wintel Eng. (Investment Bank)
            Independent IT Consultant and Architect
            Blog: http://www.exchadtech.blogspot.com

            Show your appreciation for my help by giving reputation points

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

              Thanks Simon.

              Ok, so I set each one of my clients a dynamic DNS which is easily changed (and fast). If their mail server was to eve drop I could flick it over to my server.

              mail.domain.com cost: 10
              client.mydomain.net cost: 20
              mail.domain.com type: A IP Address: 123.123.123.123
              client.mydomain.net type: A IP Address: 123.123.123.123
              Note that both IP addresses are the same at this time.
              In the event of a failure, I simply switch the dynamic DNS IP address to the address of the alternative server. That IP address change is live in less than 20 minutes, usually within two or three minutes, as the dynamic DNS services are configured for frequent changes to the IP addresses and make them accessible across the internet very quickly.
              As the host is already in the DNS for the client's domain, I don't have to wait for any DNS changes to propagate.
              When the primary server is available, the dynamic DNS host is switched back.
              Thing is, there IS no alternate server for any of my clients at this point in time - so I can still provide this as a service as I originally described, albeit with the MX implemented with the way you suggest, correct?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

                Originally posted by v-2nas View Post
                Hi Simon,

                just to clarify in case if both the mx records one with higher value and another with lower value and if send is using dns not smart host and server is up and running then ideally mx with lower cost will be picked up ... is it ?
                As far as I am concerned, all MX server addresses are equal. The cost is meaningless. If the server that is listed cannot accept the email and deal with it correctly at all times, then it should either be blocked from receiving SMTP traffic or not listed in the MX records.

                If you have the dynamic DNS service setup correctly, then you will simply need something to queue the email. An Exchange server is not really a good choice for this. I use a regular Windows 2003 system with IIS SMTP installed. The email is then queued on the server.
                I am not worried about giving them access to the email, because alternative arrangements can be made in a good time. If the server has failed then it needs to be rebuilt, if the Internet connection has failed, then alternative connection methods can be used.

                You need to be realistic about what can be provided - particularly given that in an ideal world it shouldn't be used. Investing too much money in hardware, licences and other items is often not worth it unless being done on a very large scale (many 10,000s of mailboxes protected).

                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


                • #9
                  Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

                  Originally posted by Sembee View Post
                  I use a regular Windows 2003 system with IIS SMTP installed. The email is then queued on the server.
                  Do you have any documentation about how to do this? Definately hit the nail on the head with this - if I can get IIS to just queue the mail until the/a server is back online thats great!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

                    Its basically an SMTP gateway with a smart host configured - the smart host being the static IP address of the other server.
                    http://exchange.sembee.info/network/smtp-gateway.asp

                    Simon.
                    Last edited by Sembee; 15th July 2011, 12:31. Reason: URL Correction
                    --
                    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


                    • #11
                      Re: Exchange 07/10 Backup MX

                      Thanks Simon - I'm going to try this!

                      Comment

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