How to switch MSOL Exchange Hosted from External Relay to Authoritative mode.

 How-To, MSOL Exchange Hosted, W2K Migration  Comments Off on How to switch MSOL Exchange Hosted from External Relay to Authoritative mode.
Mar 262010
 

Authoritative OK. Of the approximately 6 people who have seen this site, everyone bailed about halfway through that headline except the guy I worked with who wrote this how-to. No problem, I’ll just press on. :)

So, what did that headline mean? In one of my previous articles on Exchange Hosted, I mentioned ‘email coexistence’. What this means, is that we weren’t ready to shut our Exchange server down. There were accounts on that server that either has not been migrated, or were not ready to be disabled. So what Exchange hosted allows you to do is set up your Exchange server as an External Relay.

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Using MSOL’s Exchange Hosted with Outlook 2003/2007

 MSOL Exchange Hosted  Comments Off on Using MSOL’s Exchange Hosted with Outlook 2003/2007
Mar 142010
 

MSOL Hosted ExchangeThis article is covering my thoughts on the usability of Outlook using MSOL’s Exchange Hosted, I will cover the administration in a later post. If I was going to throw a rating out there it’d be a solid 8/10, with a perfect 10 being a local connection to a healthy Exchange server. Keep in mind as I review this service, I’m looking at it from the point of view of a user in a small business who is migrating from an Exchange server.

Pros:

  • Your data can’t get any safer. It’s locked away in a Microsoft data center, not on some tapes that you’re supposed to bring home, but in reality you just leave them on the table by the server. OK, you take them home and stick them on the table by the door so you won’t forget them.  Either way, Microsoft is being safer with your data than you likely are. Or at least I hope so.
  • Universal accessibility. Your Exchange server is now outside your company’s little walled domain. No VPN required, users get the same email experience at home as they have at work, and it all stays in sync.  This means calendars, free/busy time, email, public folders that are hosted by MSOL, OWA and ActiveSync connectivity for mobile devices, everyone gets easy full access to it. This is huge, and outweighs many cons for us.
  • Easy to set up. You install the Microsoft Online Sign In tool, give it your login and password, then press two simple buttons to set up the machine. A user who is not technically adept can be sent a link to the download with simple instructions, and they will not have a problem getting it up and running. Well, on second thought, no guarantee on the prior statement.

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MSOL Exchange Hosted Migration

 MSOL Exchange Hosted, W2K Migration  Comments Off on MSOL Exchange Hosted Migration
Mar 102010
 

MSOL Hosted ExchangeSo, What is the process like, you ask?  It’s a lot to describe, feel free to ask for more details, I’m skipping over a lot to keep this post from becoming a novel. I also have a little amnesia from the night. Not everything went as smoothly as we’d hoped, and it was a little too crazy to take notes.

The first thing I want to make clear is that if Microsoft offers $500 to hire the firm that helps you migrate your data, take note: This is a coupon. (This was not made clear to us by Microsoft, which was no fault of our consultants’) The actual cost of the consultants that you hire to migrate your data varies greatly based on the level of involvement you require of them.  In our case, we have a pretty technically adept IT dept, and they still quoted us $2000, even after the $500 discount.  Not an unreasonable fee when you look at the services they were offering and the amount of time they were going to spend. But our proposal to our boss was written based on the quote that Microsoft gave us, that had us believing $500 was covering the complete cost of the migration. After a little negotiation, we were able to get the quote down to under a grand, and had it based on hours instead of a flat fee.

So, what did these people do?  The biggest part is they help you plan. We had a great plan from the start, but they make sure you cover all of your bases.
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MSOL Exchange Hosted

 MSOL Exchange Hosted, W2K Migration  Comments Off on MSOL Exchange Hosted
Mar 072010
 

MSOL Hosted ExchangeAbout six months ago…

With the end of W2K Server looming, and failing hardware, it was obvious that we needed a plan to replace our aging Windows Server 2000/Exchange 2003 mail server.

Our original thought was to build a new mail server.  We spent a few weeks looking into how to properly recover an Exchange server from disaster. While my supervisor and myself are not lacking in the day-to-day administration of an Exchange server, we recognized that what it takes to learn to run an Exchange server when things go terribly wrong was well out of the available amount of time we had. (I had a favorite chapter from a book we read on the topic. It was titled: “How to lose your job with Exchange“) With that in mind, costs were calculated. The backups, the testing, the dev environment, the need to keep replaceable hardware on hand, the power requirements, and of course, the cost of downtime every time there was a problem at our building.  I work for a company who only has about 50 employees, but half of those employees work in offices outside of the office that would house the exchange server, and many of them are on the other side of the globe.  When our internet service went down, so did email.  When the power went out, so did the email.  When we rebooted for Windows Updates, down went the email.
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