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.