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Old 08-18-2008, 09:07 AM   #1
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Default Hosted Exchange

I am an intern at an IT department, and we are looking at Outsourcing our e-mail to a Hosted Exchange Service. I know what exchange is, but I am looking for some more information regarding this technology. Some of the information I am looking for are as follows:

1. Where are they located? Do companies house their own datacenters, or are they simply middle man and many companies use the same datacenter?
2. Has anybody used them? Are there any pitfalls to them? IE: slow retrieval time of e-mails
3. Any information, or sources of information that can help me.

Please no advertisers here. That is why I am posting here and not in the Hosting Section, as most of the people there are advertisers.
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hosted Exchange

I've not got experience but I have looked into this before.

1, usually data centres, most likely using rented space in a public data centre. I'd imagine only companies like 1&1 or rackspace would be offering the service with the machines hosted in their own private data centres.

2, not used them as I said, retrieving mail will always be slower at a remote location compared to onsite over a fast lan, but it's not stupidly slow.
whilst our mail servers at the company I work for aren't outsources, the mail servers are in a datacentre off site, access is quite speedy, regardless of whether it's in the office or working from home. you'd generally find the same.

3, unfortunalty not.

one thing I would add to the pitfalls is that this can be quite expensive, usually hosted exchange service is charged on a per mailbox basis, so if you want the bonuses of fire controlled environment fast links temperature controled environment then you should look at the cost in doing it yourself, server+exchange+rackspace.
or possibly even renting a dedicated server that runs windows so you can do what you like on it, (in this case they'll likely sort out backups for you as well!).
compared to however many users you have using individually bought mailboxes.


also what are the bonuses of using exchange over a cheaper sendmail service? just calendars probably, are these actually used in your business?
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hosted Exchange

Quote:
Originally Posted by root View Post
I've not got experience but I have looked into this before.

1, usually data centres, most likely using rented space in a public data centre. I'd imagine only companies like 1&1 or rackspace would be offering the service with the machines hosted in their own private data centres.

2, not used them as I said, retrieving mail will always be slower at a remote location compared to onsite over a fast lan, but it's not stupidly slow.
whilst our mail servers at the company I work for aren't outsources, the mail servers are in a datacentre off site, access is quite speedy, regardless of whether it's in the office or working from home. you'd generally find the same.

3, unfortunalty not.

one thing I would add to the pitfalls is that this can be quite expensive, usually hosted exchange service is charged on a per mailbox basis, so if you want the bonuses of fire controlled environment fast links temperature controled environment then you should look at the cost in doing it yourself, server+exchange+rackspace.
or possibly even renting a dedicated server that runs windows so you can do what you like on it, (in this case they'll likely sort out backups for you as well!).
compared to however many users you have using individually bought mailboxes.


also what are the bonuses of using exchange over a cheaper sendmail service? just calendars probably, are these actually used in your business?
We are currently using Netware/Groupwise as our mail system, and its getting ridiculous the amount of time we are spending managing it. Mail getting lost in the digest, etc...

As for calendars, yes. We use them VERY much, if it wasn't for that we would have found another alternative ages ago. The price of outsourcing the e-mail doesn't seem to be that bad, ($500/month). As a company we are willing to pay that kinda cash to not have the headache anymore. All in all, it'll probably be cheaper doing when considering the amount of time we spend working on the e-mail system.

The place we are looking at getting the e-mail from is located only about an hour away from us, so the latency shouldn't really be that bad. I was more refering to downtime associated with maintenance, hardware and software failures.

Thanks for your input Root. It's been helpful.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hosted Exchange

a hosted service will rarely go down.

there will be something of a guaranteed uptime, I'd imagine something like 99%.

hardware failures will be minimal, besides which, I'd imagine that the exchange servers at a hosted place will be in a farm so that any one hardware failure will have another bit of hardware on standby to take over immediatly.

software maintenance downtime is an undefinable quantity, that really depends on Microsoft, though, I'd imagine that most downtime will be pre-arranged and out of hours. though that does depend on what your business hours are.

certainly for one business we support they are a global company stretched across all time zones, so the business week starts on Sunday evening and ends Friday night. when you consider that backups start running on Friday night and go through to Sunday afternoon that generally only ever leave about 6 hours of out of hours possibly downtime available on Sunday afternoons. -I should imagine that any provider that is worth the money that you are paying them will work roughly on the same time frames.
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I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian…
Im sick of people saying 'dont waste paper'. If trees wanted to live, they'd all carry guns.
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hosted Exchange

1 - most serious exchange hosting services run their own datacenters. Just ask them if they colo with somone else.

1&1 and rackspace are not exchange hosts, they are general datacenter and colo hosts .. yes they have hosted exchange servers but small players.

Some big players are
http://www.123together.com
http://www.intermedia.net

2 - they run their exchange servers on clustered san networks. They will be as fast or faster then your own local server, if you have enough bandwidth at your site.

3 - I have used hosted exchange before .. its quite nice. Prior to exchange 2003 it was painful. Had to only use OWA or a site vpn to the datacenter. With rpc over http it works flawlessly. If you have a decent internet connection for your office it will be great.

Price is generaly $8-13 per user per month.

Similor uptime for 100 users would cost around 16k for software and licenses and atleast another 20 to 30k in hardware.

2 copies of exchange 2007 ent and server 2008 ent
2 servers
1 SAN

If a non clustered solution is good enough ... uptime not required you can get away with 5-9k
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