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Cloud Services Thread, Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange 2013 in Technical; Hi Guys, I had a thought in my head about reducing the cost of our email expenses. Currently all students ...
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    Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange 2013

    Hi Guys,

    I had a thought in my head about reducing the cost of our email expenses. Currently all students and all staff have emails hosted on our local LEA. I would like to move to an onsite exchange as the cost savings in quite significant but the cost of hosting ALL students and staff would still be high.

    I've looked around and I couldn't see any information about a question I had. Is it possible to put all of our students onto Office 365 and all staff onto a local exchange server. Will that work? All students and staff have the same email alias, etc? If not, could you have staff on @school.county.sch.uk and then students on a separate one. And the ability to share address books? If so, that would be incredibly useful but for some reason I have a doubt that this will work.

    Many thanks for your help!

    Sam

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    zag
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    Why not put all users on Office 365?

    We've been using it for a few years now and it works perfectly for staff and students. I couldn't imagine running our own email server again, it seems totally pointless to me.

    And the best bit is Office 365 is free with 25gb for every users. You would have to spend a lot of money to match that with a local server.

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    Well for our staff, we would want a 99.9% uptime, for students it is not important but for staff it is. With our 125 staff this cost will be around £5,000. Similar to how much it would cost with our current LEA.

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    fairm010's Avatar
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    We use Office365 having moved from the LEA last month. It is great! (Minus having to learn powershell in a day!) You will get 99.9% uptime!

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    supawat1's Avatar
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    I actually agree with Zag, before I used to pay £2,500 for an e-mail system, but now, it costs £0 for Office 365.

    Office 365 uptime is excellent so far.

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    To the best of my knowledge uptime for Office 365 has been 99.9% the past few years with very few issues. You also have to think Microsoft have huge datacentres, whereas you'll just have one server and probably just one internet connection. It's no comparison really.

    You can put students on A2 and staff or some staff on A3 or A4, which do include 99.9%, all managed from one central console.

    To be honest, I really don't think you need to buy in to A3 or A4 just for this, but you have to remember it's not 'like for like'. A3 and A4 also includes full versions of Office.

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBennett View Post
    Well for our staff, we would want a 99.9% uptime, for students it is not important but for staff it is. With our 125 staff this cost will be around £5,000. Similar to how much it would cost with our current LEA.
    As others have said, you will get far better uptime with Office 365 than a local server.

    We've had it 2 years and I think it went down once for around 5mins.

    There really is no need to run local exchange servers any more. Its time to move on.

    EDIT: forgot to say Office 365 email is free for Staff and Students.
    Last edited by zag; 3rd April 2014 at 03:31 PM.

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    Wow, a lot of support for Office 365. It's amazing how much this forum can vary :P Has anyone tried running Office 365 and MS Exchange?

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    I've not ran a local exchange but it is not a task to take on lightly. There is a lot to manage with it.

    If you are wanting to go down the local exchange route i think you will have to have a separate domain for staff and students as you need to set the MX records on your external DNS.

    you could however do as we do and set @school.lea.sch.uk for staff and @students.school.lea.sch.uk for students. or you could use @school.co.uk (if you own that domain).

    As far as address book in office 365, unless you can do a hybrid deployment with only some accounts with email in the cloud and other on site you will need to use an external address book which require you importing the contact list, so that will need updating when staff join/leave.

    with the added cost and complexity of running a hybrid deployment i can again only mirror the above comments with love for office 365.

    But DO learn powershell, even if you are going for local exchange as i assume you'd deploy 2013 which needs lots of attention with powershell too.

    Here are a couple of links

    Plan an Exchange Online hybrid deployment in Office 365

    Hybrid Deployment Prerequisites: Exchange 2013 Help

    Exchange Server 2013 Hybrid Deployments: Exchange 2013 Help

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    We moved from LEA email to Office 365 a year ago. So far its been perfect! Free, great uptime etc etc. Also, if you implement address book policies you can separate out your contacts list for staff/students so they can't see each other.

    A quick point of note - if you decide to implement single sign-on using Federated Services, you do have the possibility of losing logon ability if your local ADFS / Active Directory servers go down at all (i.e. power cut). This means loss of email connection even if you are at home!. There are workarounds if you want to setup Azure cloud servers though to host these services

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    You can definitely have students in the cloud and staff on-premises. This is exactly what Hybrid deployments are for (see docs above).

    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall_IT View Post
    If you are wanting to go down the local exchange route i think you will have to have a separate domain for staff and students as you need to set the MX records on your external DNS.
    No, you can have them all on the same domain. With a hybrid deployment you have all the mail delivered to one place first, and it forwards on the mail for the mailboxes it doesn't host. Best option is to have it go to Office 365 first and it will forward on the mail it doesn't host to your on-premises Exchange.

    If you're mad enough, you can even have some of your users on Google Apps mail and some on on-premises Exchange (yes, we actually do this at the moment). And all on the same domain.

    All that said, I would echo what others have already recommended: go fully cloud now. If I wasn't tied up with other projects I'd be migrating our on-premises Exchange to Office 365 this Easter. The only reason for a school to install on-premises Exchange these days is if you have large amounts of internal mail and a low-bandwidth Internet connection.

  12. 2 Thanks to AngryTechnician:

    Marshall_IT (3rd April 2014), zag (4th April 2014)

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    Just for the record, Office 365 has a 99.9% uptime target as part of the SLA, which for the paid-for elements is financially backed.

    Office 365 Service Descriptions

    Obviously, if you're paying $0 you can't really get money back, but it's not like we host the Office 365 Education free components on some ropey kit at the back of the data center!

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    It's also worth pointing out that Office365 Microsoft technical support is fantastic, I logged a call during a weekend evening and got a call back within an hour.

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    One quick point - you get a 50gb mailbox per user too

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