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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, How easy is it to manage Microsoft Exchange in Technical; I am looking at getting MS Exchange into the school and was wondering what amount of expertise/effort we will need ...
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    How easy is it to manage Microsoft Exchange

    I am looking at getting MS Exchange into the school and was wondering what amount of expertise/effort we will need to devote to running it. We are quite tight on resources here so we would not want to take on something that could become a monster!

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    mattx's Avatar
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    It's a monster - 'nuff said. [ And I don't work in a school anymore ]

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    Getting Exchange here was the best thing we ever did 5 years ago and causes us very little trouble - it just works!

    We are an RM network and it comes under the RM support contract but little time have we needed to resort to RM to address issues. Neither of us are particularly exchange-savvy but once it's setup it just works!

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    If it is Exchange 2010 you're looking at, it is incredibly hungry on resources, so be sure to buy the highest spec server possible to run it on. Otherwise, you WILL run into problems.
    Aside from the initial configuration, it can be left pretty much untouched whilst it is in operation. The only reason I ever access my server now is to create new mailboxes.
    I have attached a useful guide that I used. Although I used this to migrate from 2003 rather than a clean installation.
    In my opinion, nothing comes close to exchange for in-house email management.
    Hope this helps.

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    JonWPS (29th June 2011), pwaddington (29th June 2011), stevenlong1985 (29th June 2011)

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    we ditched exchange because it was becoming too cumbersome and expensive to manage (it only had 200 staff accounts, Zimbra held 1700 and was easier!).
    We now have a google apps email domain and haven't looked back

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    Hi Steave what version of Exchange would you be going for ?

    At the moment we running server 2008 with exchange 2010. The management console is really easy to use.

    Once set up the management side of it is really easy.

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    Yes, it is a monster and not for the faint hearted. But when you get it right, running an Exchange system is very satisfying and allows a great deal of control over the flow of email in and out of the school, especially using the newer features of Exchange 2010. It's not a quick fix and requires a very good understanding of how email systems work and particularly how Exchange works. If you don't have anyone who has Exchange experience on your team, it may be a better idea to look at an alternative mail system.

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    Agreed - it's a real beast of a system. I've had the unfortunate experience of administering three exchange servers and two of them completely lost the configuration settings and had to be reinstalled.

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    We're on Exchange 2003 here and I find it easy to manage. Sure the setup is harder to sort out, but luckily it was in before I arrived. 2010 looms on the horizon though, so that PDF a few posts up makes for interesting reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Getting Exchange here was the best thing we ever did 5 years ago and causes us very little trouble - it just works!
    Same here, we're now running 2007. Initially it was 2003, I did the migration myself with no issues. I would recommend testing on a non-production box first as if you have an error during the install it can mean an O/S reinstall. I had this issue on the 2003 install. I do very little on a day to day basis other than creating accounts.

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    Exchange is nice to use, but the set-up is simply awful. I had to re-do it 3 times once because it faulted at the same point, and the guy on the phone from MS said all I missed off was a " : " symbol which corrupted the entire install.

    Management console interface is lovely, but the whole thing will eat RAM as a snack. We had it limited to 16GB and it used ALL of it and wanted more.

    If you dont want hassle etc of the set up and the like, ZIMBRA would be the way to go as it is less resource hungry and is a decent system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonWPS View Post
    We're on Exchange 2003 here and I find it easy to manage. Sure the setup is harder to sort out, but luckily it was in before I arrived. 2010 looms on the horizon though, so that PDF a few posts up makes for interesting reading.
    I would have struggled without it.

    From what I gather, a clean install is straight forward in comparison to a migration from an older version of exchange. Just make sure you have good, and fully tested backups of your public folders. Exchange 2010 does not like them, and I believe Microsoft are trying to phase them out.

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    Provided you set it up correctly, pay attention when it tells you something important (use the syslog Luke), and feed it the occasional y7 in blood sacrifice, it's a doddle.

    If you don't RTFM, then yes - you and your AD may quickly disappear down the brown river.

    Also, learn powershell and read the patch notes.

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    1. PF will still be around for some time, there are too many customers using them and they will still be around on the next release of exch.
    2. Setup is fairly simple, but it depends on your requirements, and what you want from it, it starts to get abit difficult when you start lookat at HA/FT.3
    3. Migration can be easy too, depends what system youre migrating from and the exisiting setup, some can be complex others straight forward.
    4. You have more control over your messaging env than having it hosted, and there's issues with hosted email be it MSFT, Cisco, Google etc...It's still not mature.
    5. Exch will utilise all the RAM avaliable, however you should plan for this and your mailbox roles - Updates to the Exchange 2010 Mailbox Server Role Requirements Calculator - Exchange Team Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs - Use the calulator to help you.
    6. Overall exch is my opinion is a good systems and it is a leading messaging system in the industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sukh View Post
    1. PF will still be around for some time, there are too many customers using them and they will still be around on the next release of exch.
    I'm afraid that might not be the case. Microsoft are encouraging users to use Sharepoint rather than public folders.

    Migrating from Public Folders

    Public Folders continue to be whittled away - BeingExchanged

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