We're currently running Exchange 2007 but often experience downtime either at the weekends when the ADSL line drops (and we can't do anything about it) or during the day when some configuration or another doesn't do what its set to and the email tries routing itself round in circles.
As staff use email more and more for students submitting work and as students need more and more storage I'm considering "outsourcing" the provision of email servers so we can focus on other support issues.
We've considered moving to Gmail for schools before but at the time we were on Exchange 2003 and thought moving to Exchange 2007 would be the better option. When it works well its great but...
Has anyone else moved to Google mail? What are the drawbacks? Are there any ongoing problems? What limitations are there? Has anyone made the move and regretted it?
Initial quotes from google for email services including 7gb storage per user, positini services for esafety etc are around £4.25 per user which to me seems exceptionally good value. However with 1600 pupils and 200 staff its considerably more expensive than the cost that I can quantify for managing our own internal email on Exchange 2007. Whats difficult is working out how much technician time we need to look after it and how much the downtime costs the school in terms of lost productivity.
What value can you put on a reliable /dependable email? If staff lose confidence in using email then this has long term effects on the use of "e-communication" tools such as email.
Please let me know your thoughts on this.
I tried searching for previous threads on the subject of googlemail but its showing loads so I'm presuming its picking up people's email addresses.
Isn't there an issue with the DPA and possibly 'sensitive' email being held on a service that scans all of the mail on it's servers for it's own purposes?
I may be wrong and Google does not do this for school email, but I would look into this.
I have Exchange 2007 and have found it almost flawless, (certainly very reliable). Why is your ISP connection being cut at the weekend? Do you not have a JANET\RBC connection?
We think it was the router dropping the line but as we're not in to test we can't be sure. A reboot on a Monday morning almost always cures the problem.
I think one of the problems with Exchange 2007 has been the changes we've had to make to allow for the additional space everyone is using. New servers have been added and old ones removed but the GUI tools don't show the full picture The memory requirements on each box are going up too and according to MS recommendations we need 4 maybe 5 Exchange servers, an edge server, an external CAS server, a hub server, and a Storage group server. We'd thought of having to SG servers to split staff adn student data onto separate boxes to spread the load. That's 5 servers that need looking after!
The comment on DPA is noted although surely all spam filters do the same looking at peoples email and Phorm does the same with every web page. As part of esafety we need to scan every email for "inappropriate content" too. I thought there was someting about looking at emails that was different in the eyes of the DPA if it was a machine doing the looking as opposed to a person....
Setting up a smtp connection through our Janet connection has not been tried yet but is on the list of things to consider.
The adsl is really just a backup for our leased line. As the restrictions on traffic on the leased line are more restrictive (originally we could only get outgoing on port 80!) we set up email to go out over the other link.
I've not looked. Do you know if this does this allow us to scan emails for inappropriate content, quarantine them and forward on to a moderators address for action? Does it do spam and virus filtering? My hotmail spam filter doesn't give me confidence in this service when compared to my gmail account!
The memory requirements on each box are going up too and according to MS recommendations we need 4 maybe 5 Exchange servers, an edge server, an external CAS server, a hub server, and a Storage group server. We'd thought of having to SG servers to split staff adn student data onto separate boxes to spread the load. That's 5 servers that need looking after!
I think by MS standards we SHOULD have the same, however considering our students have tiny mailboxes and the mailflow isn't that big one old server (2X2core, 4gb ram) was fine (except for the C drive space).
The memory requirements on each box are going up too and according to MS recommendations we need 4 maybe 5 Exchange servers, an edge server, an external CAS server, a hub server, and a Storage group server
No you don't. Depending on your setup you will need one or perhaps 2 (depending on your internet connection\firewall arrangements). I have just one server (Server 2008 x64) running mine, but be sure to get a quad core and LOTS of RAM and you should be fine. As for storage OWA now will tie directly into your user areas, so storage will be AD controlled if you have your policies set.
tbh mailboxes should never be big. Quota it and get people into using archive files. Exchange/gmail/anything is not meant to be a big storage platform even though it can be used as such. We have 40mb mailboxes here for everyone, no exceptions and have taught people how to archive mail and manage their mailboxes and it works well. With remote access as well accessing archives is simple and MS are adding some form of remote archive access into exchange 2010.
I would look at getting a upstream mail hoster to route through such as messagelabs. If your net dies it caches all your mail until your net is restored and it could easily be cheaper but you need to beat down mailbox sizes as their really is no excuse.
What we do is use gmail as an upstream hoster/spam filter and then download all the mail via pop to our exchange server.
This means the mail is always going somewhere when our ADSL lines go down and its provided fairly decent spam/virus filtering.