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Hardware Thread, restructure of exchange server in Technical; Dear All I just wanted to find out other NM and technicians view on this and offer any advice and ...
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    restructure of exchange server

    Dear All

    I just wanted to find out other NM and technicians view on this and offer any advice and find out what type of setups you have in your school.

    We currently have an exchange server which has about 90 staff users with mailboxes. I am under pressure to get our students on email as well. We have about 700 students.

    I just wanted to get some feedback on our schools have their exchange setup.

    For schools who have all their users on exchange email. Do you have 2 separate servers, one for staff and one for pupils or do you have 1 server with all the mailboxes?

    Our current server which hosts exchange is a dual intel xeon 2.8ghz, 4gb RAM and 700Gb RAID 1. Currently for our mailboxes size it is currently at about 19gb and slowly growing. I dont think thats too bad considering we have it running for about 2 and half years. I just recently did the sp2 upgrade as we running standard and there was apparantly a limit on the size of mailboxes on standard, since the sp2 upgrade we can allow our mailboxes to grow no more than 80gb in size.

    So I currently deciding on what I should do. I looking for a reliable, redundant/fault tolerant solution, would i better off having 1 fast exchange server with all mailboxes and separate groups for students and staff or separating this over 2 servers.

    Is it possible to set 2 different security policies as well for two different mailbox groups? I would want to a more stricter policy for our students e.g. students cannot add attachments over 5mb,

    Currently the server data is in a RAID 1 configuration and touch wood we have no problems with regards to performance, considering this server also does dhcp, dns, print server and DFS. I normally prefer RAID 5, would i be silly in changing this in the new configuration or shall i leave it on 1 bearing in mind performance is usually better on RAID 1.

    Also if someone could suggest the the type of spec of server I would require if I had all mailboxes on 1 server, that would be most appreciated. I understand that Microsoft has a lot of this information on there web site, but on something like this I would value your opinion as well as you can never understand how the performance would be until someone has actually implemeneted this type of solution.

    Also would I be advised on upgrading to 2007 rather than stick with 2003. I really love the benefits on the new OWA for 2007. If i brought a new server I was thinking maybe I use 2007, add all the students to this server, and then migrate all the staff from the old server onto the new server so all users are on 2007. Does anyone recommend this?

    Your advice is much appreciated.
    Last edited by ranj; 13th March 2008 at 09:35 PM.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    We put all our users on one server, not as good as yours though with similar amount of users. Your current setup will be fine. I would stick with 2003, it works pretty well so why change?

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    zag
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    Yes stick with 2003, 2007 offers nothing new that I have seen, infact I prefer the webmail for 2003 as its much more locked down by default. Perfect in a school environment.

    We use 1 server for everyone as well. works great.

    We limit all users to 50mb for their email storage so we dont have any problems with it getting much larger.

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    One server with two mailbox stores, this enables you to set different limits for staff and students amongst other things.

    2003 works well, why change?

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    ranj's Avatar
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    thanks for the reply guys.

    I have one more question though, we currently use OWA so that staff can access their emails at home and at work.

    I have been advised maybe to look at an alternative client for our pupils as OWA can be resource hungry and can place more demands on the exchange server.

    Does anyone have any reponse to this. My advisor advised a client called round cube which is basically an IMAP client which is compatible with exchange and is siumilar to OWA but less demanding.

    Has anyone used this, if so would you recommend it, do you have this connected to an exchange server. Are they any alternative IMAP clients (pref free ones) which you recommend that I should look into?

    Your advice is appreciated.

    many thanks

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    I use OWA for students about about 90% of staff. Its not that demanding and TBH with that spec you have it will be fine.

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    Indeed - I wouldn't be worried about it being resource hungry. I work in many schools that use OWA for students - not seen a problem yet!

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    we have 1 one exchange server running exchange 2007 with 2 mail box stores we did a upgrade to 2007 as we liked it better than 2003, plus you can do a bit more with the powershell commands in 2007 if you like that sort of thing

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranj View Post
    thanks for the reply guys.

    I have one more question though, we currently use OWA so that staff can access their emails at home and at work.

    I have been advised maybe to look at an alternative client for our pupils as OWA can be resource hungry and can place more demands on the exchange server.

    Does anyone have any reponse to this. My advisor advised a client called round cube which is basically an IMAP client which is compatible with exchange and is siumilar to OWA but less demanding.

    Has anyone used this, if so would you recommend it, do you have this connected to an exchange server. Are they any alternative IMAP clients (pref free ones) which you recommend that I should look into?

    Your advice is appreciated.

    many thanks

    Do you have Microsoft Office? If so i would use Outlook.

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    I would only use Outlook for desk based staff, and that what I do. The students have to use OWA and non-desk based staff as well, and with Exchange 2007 the need for people to be using Outlook is reduced as the extra functionality like better address book access in 2007 removes the biggest moan we have about OWA 2003.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    I would only use Outlook for desk based staff, and that what I do. The students have to use OWA and non-desk based staff as well, and with Exchange 2007 the need for people to be using Outlook is reduced as the extra functionality like better address book access in 2007 removes the biggest moan we have about OWA 2003.
    Iím not questioning what you do but just out of curiosity what are the reasons you do it that way please? Do you use Exchange 2007?

    Here everybody uses outlook and soon we will enable OWA is used for accessing e-mail from home for staff only.
    Last edited by FN-GM; 18th May 2008 at 03:31 PM.

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    Because outlook is a fat client and uses resources up, needs configuring (unless you set it via GPOs etc) allows kids to mess with settings like sharing calenders, inboxes and settings like taht which you don't want. It also allows them to make PSTs and other files that we don't want them to have.

    Office staff need them and need to use those features kids don't hence why Kids don't get Outlook. Staff manage with with Web Access though its just not as flexible for those of us who actually use Outlook a lot.

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    Ah right, we have pretty much stopped them from doing all that. Most of our machines now have 2 gig of ram so perforce isn't an issue.

    We mainly use outlook appose to OWA so we can restrict the kids contacting others in the forest and wasting time in lesson, they use it as a chat room. Plus I personally like a program better.

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    Sounds like your being a nanny state TBH, there are reasons for kids to contact everyone in a school be they other year and or teachers / support staff and its all about teaching them the bigger picture in life which is be sensible and respect privaledges but clearly your place don't.

    OWA is great as they can't mailbomb the entire school due to its only showing you when searched for users. (and before im yelled that Exchange has max no. of recipients per messages, yes we have that set but sometimes we can email 80+ users in an email for a valid reason so setting the limit lower isn't an option really.

    We use 2003 with SP2 and its great , the kids have learnt respect and its teaching them about the bigger world out there and that just because they have the headmaster in there address list doesn't mean to say he wants to get a copy of the latest chain mail, its all about thought and teaching them limits and when to use and know them.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    No, they where contacting students in other schools across town (there are around 5 schools/domains using exchange in the forest) This had to be stopped due to complaints from teachers at both schools. There is no need to talk to other students from other schools, just to say "Hi"

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