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How do you do....it? Thread, Webmail VS Exchange in Technical; ...
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    Mark182's Avatar
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    Webmail VS Exchange

    At the moment our webmail server is over at county and is managed by them. I only have access to create new users and distribution lists. Over the last few months our webmail service from the LA has been poor and has finally gone AWOL. After SLT expressing their concern at the slowness and giving me an earful I have said let’s get it on site then. I’m just after a bit of advice really. I’m 100% keen on buying a new server on site here for this role.

    • Should we carry on with Webmail or Exchange (would have to change rolling profiles ect)
    • Anyone ideas on costing?
    • Users have 2GB mail limits at the moment
    • Migrating all the data over


    Thanks in advance.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Migrate to Office 365 and Microsoft manage Exchange for you for free. All users get 25GB each

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    Mark182's Avatar
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    Yeah, that is something we have been looking into with the different plans MS offer. Do you use office 365?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark182 View Post
    Should we carry on with Webmail or Exchange (would have to change rolling profiles ect)
    If you want a local mail server, it doesn't have to be Exchange- if you don't currently use Exchange you're not tied to it for any usage, so I'd use something else. You can make your own webmail server for free - I use SquirrelMail, which has a very simple interface, you might want to use something with a few more features.

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark182 View Post
    Yeah, that is something we have been looking into with the different plans MS offer. Do you use office 365?
    Yes I use it at many schools. The latest Exchange 2013 is without a doubt Microsoft's best solution to date offering lots of options. Staff also like the shared calendars and Push Mail to phones and tablets.

    It doesn't really make that much financial sense for a school to buy a server or servers just for Exchange, along with the license, the CALs and keeping it up-to-date. It's a big job, so let Microsoft do it.

    I think the biggest headache is upgrading Exchange on a locally installed server. Although upgrading to Office 365 wasn't painless, it was compared to a local install. I regularly see many admins trying to upgrade from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 and there are many problems, it isn't straight forward.
    Last edited by Michael; 13th June 2013 at 11:38 AM.

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Lancs are currently investigating Office365 and Google Apps for replacement of their service (or they certainly were at the start of the year when I started to look into this myself).

    Personally, I'd look into running either yourself, as others have pointed out, they're free for education these days, just a case of filling a few online forms out, if they feel they need to verify you further they will do, but mainly it just get's the rubber stamp within a week or two and you can get on with setting users up and such.

    It saves you investing in the hardware to run exchange or similar, and is all looked after and costs you no more than you currently pay effectively. Also, having it as your main thing gives you additional control that I'm pretty certain Lancs probably aren't going to filter down to everyone despite things being there. The only thing you'd need to do is get county to update the MX Pointers for you on the domain, assuming you use the schools main domain as provided on the lancs.sch.uk, to point to either the MS or Google Servers, and probably open a few ports to your school as well in terms of email access if you want people to use desktop applications such as Outlook as well, if you're looking to push just webmail, then you don't need to bother with the ports.

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    I run office 365

    I've taken out exchange servers at a couple of schools now, to be replaced with office365. Have been really impressed with it

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    We have Office365 for students and Exchange 2010 for staff. Whatever you choose to do i'd always suggest managing things internally / yourselves. It gives much greater flexibility

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    Mark182's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, I know the LA have been looking into Office 365 since December but I’ve heard nothing back. I have been looking at office 365 and the different plans MS offer. Are you all using the free plan or the £2 per student per month plan?

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    The free A2 Plan

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I use SquirrelMail, which has a very simple interface
    SquirrelMail looks very dated though. It's as if the webmail interface has never been updated since it was first written in 1999.


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    Geoff's Avatar
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    If you don't like the retro look of squirrelmail (this can be a benefit, it's lightweight and works on any device) then there are alternatives. For example Roundcube.

    Roundcube - open source webmail software
    Last edited by Geoff; 13th June 2013 at 12:39 PM.

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