Is Exchange Required / Must Have?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by cmgrubb, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. cmgrubb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #1
    I'm a newbie to this forum, thanks in advance for understanding.

    Mac Mini 2GHz w/2GB DDR3 and 320GB HD (via Craigslist - $450).
    Also purchased SL Server (via Apple @ Bridgeport Village - $499).

    Attempting to use an all-Mac solution, if possible.
    Goal: Want to host website, email, calendar, contacts.
    - Website is static and not changed more than 1-2x year.
    - Email currently hosted on Exchange through iPower. Don't like spending $10 per account, per month.

    IT consultant I have contracted ($45/hr) has recommended: "From a business and future scalability standpoint I’m going to recommend Exchange for your email, contact management, and calendaring needs. If setup time and initial cost is a serious road-block - then Exchange is probably not a good choice, and the OSX server can certainly handle email in-tandem with MobileMe for synchronization, but will require you to use a ‘@me.com’ account as well as any other user’s using ‘@yourbusiness-name.com’ email accounts."

    I am under the impression Apple and many other large/mid/small companies do not utilize Exchange for their email, contact management and calendaring needs - but rather use all Apple / Mac software. How do I convey this and demonstrate this to my IT consultant?

    I have 7 people in my organization (family + small business) that need access to email/contacts/calendar on multiple devices (desktop, laptop, iPhones) and want all to be synchronized accordingly. Is Exchange really a must have? As I have family that works for Microsoft, the Small Business Exchange 2003 software was relatively inexpensive and already purchased (back in 2005). More or less, I'm trying to understand if I even need the MS SBS w/Exchange box in the attached diagram.

    Thanks for your help and suggestions!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    For seven people, you definitely don't need Exchange. SL Server on a mini would be okay for that kind of load.

    SL Server does not use MobileMe for OTA synchronization. And you don't use @me.com as your domain in OS X Server! (Even MobileMe can use your own domain if you set it up to do so.) Would be nice if your IT consultant knew a little more about the product he's dismissing so he can get you to pay him more.

    Too bad you didn't get the new mini SKU from Apple with the 2x500GB drives and SL Server preinstalled for $999.
     
  3. cmgrubb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #3
    @ Silencio - Thanks for confirming. Yes, would have been nice to know that Apple was planning on releasing the 2x500GB w/SL Server pre-installed.

    Now, need to find another Apple pro who will setup SL Server on my Mac Mini with the services I need, including OTA synchronization. Thanks!
     
  4. shentonfreud macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    #4
    Can you explain how Mac mail can do OTA sync to a user's iPhone (or crackberry, or android)? And is this something that's an extra-cost or uses an external service?

    Thanks.
     
  5. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Plymouth, MN
    #5
    The mail server has no additional costs or external services since it just uses IMAP
     
  6. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #6
    First: Did you know there is a mac mini version SPECIFICALLY for server? It has two hard drives instead of an optical drive, and comes shipped with OS X server.
    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_mini?mco=MTAyNTQzNTk
    look on the right, for the mini server.

    Second, why are you doing email in-house? Go to Google, sign up for google apps for your domain, and let them host it. You get email @ yourdomain.com, you get calendar, contacts, doc collaboration, wave (when it comes out of beta) and don't have to worry about something going down. You can even pay $50/user/year and get their professional version which gives you 25GB per user, plus support and some other things. In my opinion the last thing you want to worry about is setting up email. Use your server for files/VPN/firewall/intranet. Let someone else handle email. Plus, google has great spam filters, almost 100% uptime (and when it has gone down for a couple hours, it is only the web version. email was still flowing to phones and mail applications over IMAP). If you have something go down as critical as email and you have to call someone in at $45/hr (or more) to troubleshoot it, you're wasting time and money.
     
  7. cmgrubb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #7

    Thanks Fo! Yes, I learned that there was a Mac Mini w/SLS installed - after I had already purchased the Mac Mini a couple of months ago via a third party on Craigslist and then purchased a copy of SLS from Apple when it became available. Had I waited just a few weeks, I could have had a better Mini. Timing is everything.

    Your suggestion to use Google is a good one. I heard the same from a couple of friends that I asked yesterday. I'll look into it. Thank you!
     
  8. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #8
    No problem. I forgot to mention that the reason I suggest Google, is because I am admin at a medium size company (30 users). We have exchange, just upgraded to exchange 2007 (because they've been a ms company forever, don't want to make any changes no matter what I say). The time I spend making sure email is up, backing up, out to BB devices, etc. is a waste in my opinion. Leave it to someone else, you have better things to worry about. Plus email access can be from any device (phones, laptops, netbooks, other people's computers, etc).

    however, the mini will be perfect for you to setup a VPN, intranet, file sharing, etc. But I'd suggest leaving email to an outside hoster.
     
  9. abates25 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    Stick with what you've got...

    Yes, it sucks that Apple released a Mini Server after you purchased the other one...but you purchased it months before it was released and are only setting it up now? If the server software is unopened, you might be able to return it, hawk the current mini on CL, and just get one of the mini-serves. But, anyway, that is all digression...

    There is no need to use anything more than you already have purchased for what you want to do. I've used Apple mail servers for years, and they are fine. Now, with both CalDEV support for calendaring and LDAP for contacts, there is no great benefit to using Exchange, especially if your desktops are mostly mac. Also, you should be able to find a tech who can do all the setup for you within 3-4 hours. It is easy stuff, and SL server really made it as friendly a process as a server setup can be. Any person recommending Exchange is a PC tech and shouldn't be working on your mac network ;-)
     
  10. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    I actually use Kerio Mail Server instead of OS X Server's built-in mail and calendar services. Much more robust and mature product, easy to administer and pretty affordable. ActiveSync support is great for iPhones and other devices that support it; Blackberries work fine with the addition of overpriced, annoying middleware like NotifySync.

    I too would recommend hosted mail (e.g. Google Apps) for most people in most cases, especially for smaller companies. But if you've got the time and the hardware to dedicate to running Kerio, it's well worth it.
     
  11. abates25 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #11
    To be fair, we use Stalker Communigate because it was more robust than the mail server in OS X 10.2 (current when I switched). And hosted mail is a lot easier if you don't want to manage things much. But I still think having everything in house is very nice...
     

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