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  • #2252239

    Bringing email in-house, What to use?


    by ncsu wolfpack ·

    Our company is thinking of bringing email in-house. We?ve setup a test environment and used Mail-Enable and it worked. We used 10 user accounts to test to make sure we had our MX records, A records, and DNS settings were configured correctly. I?ve looked around for opinions, and of course there?s Exchange. Kerio seemed to have a big following. I need something that doesn?t need a whole lot of administration since there is only two system administrators, and we have to travel quite a bit. We?ll start with 250 email users but will grow to about 400 email users. I?m looking for any experience that you may have with your environment that you either administer or use. I searched the forum, but I couldn?t quite find what I was looking for. If this topic has been discussed (most likely it has), I apologize for not finding it. B-)

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    • #2490792

      E-mail tends to require…

      by kjell_andorsen ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      …quite a bit of administration no matter which system you use. There are few things users (ab)use more, and once it’s brought in-house you’ll find it will become a big part of your daily workload.

      My main experience is with Exchange, and I like it because of the easy integration with Active Directory. It sounds like you would be able to get by with a relativly simple setup. IF you have decent hardware a simple Frontend/backend server solution should work, with the front end providing OWA access and relaying of messages to the internet, and the mailboxes being stored on the backend. Of course there may be many other factors on your network that would influence this desicion, if you would like to share a bit more detail we might be able to give more targeted advice.

      • #2490767

        thanks for the reply

        by ncsu wolfpack ·

        In reply to E-mail tends to require…

        Dell Poweredge 2650 will be the server. The OS will be Windows 2003 server. My network is multi-frame with 24 remote sites each with 512K circuit.

        Our email now is hosted by deltacom which has no spam protection availiable with their servers. So, each client is connecting via pop/smtp, so any migration should be pretty straight-forward. When we bring it in house, we want the mail to be stored on the server (imap, I assume), so if there are any local pc crashes, no problem. I guess the most important info is that the mail will be stored on a server.

        • #2492296


          by nathan ·

          In reply to thanks for the reply

          We’ve used Mdaemon from for 7 years, and we have been very happy with the product.

        • #2492233

          re: Mdaemon

          by scope ·

          In reply to Mdaemon

          We also use Mdaemon and have had it for 8 year. Performs well at a good price!

        • #2492230

          Mdaemon is great!

          by jiffy_jon ·

          In reply to Mdaemon

          I too have used Mdaemon. It is a great program, and it is inexpensive comparitively speaking.

        • #2492119


          by peter.milne ·

          In reply to Mdaemon

          Mdaemon gets my vote for a small mail system. Notes just isn’t a real mail system. Exchange with Outlook does have the advantage of PIM but needs expert support, as others have remarked.

        • #2490957

          If using AD, use Exchange

          by thelilmickster ·

          In reply to thanks for the reply

          Since the Dell server will run Server 2003 I would recommend Exchange 2003, that is if you are using MS Active Directory. Exchange integrates w/ AD great. Use Outlook 2003 w/ RPC over HTTPs for the clients. When you purchase Exchange server licenses it includes Outlook 2003 licenses. For spam/anti-virus use a Barracuda Anti-spam/virus firewall. I used Debian linux w/ Postfix, ClamAV, and spam assassin for Spam/anti-virus before the Barracuda, Debian required too much maintenance. I love the Barracuda. Exchange is low maintenance too. I sleep better at night because of them. If you are buying a new server get 64-bit hardware and OS and use Exchange 2007.

    • #2490783

      Use what the pro’s (ISPs) use…

      by tachyon ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Once setup, these servers tend to be reliable, secure performers.

      Go to
      and pick out what information you need.
      I’ve got users over 1000 e-mail boxes on setups like this. We had one that ran several years on a Pentium box with 400 users before they finally had us upgrade the HW out of the new manager’s disbelief that it could do the job.
      Another nice option is SuSE’s OpenExchange server.
      UNIX type systems really do excel at this type of job and IMO are a better choice than Exchange which requires constant maintenance and administration. Not to mention it’s way more expensive in HW, SW, and licensing costs.

      • #2490766


        by ncsu wolfpack ·

        In reply to Use what the pro’s (ISPs) use…

        I’ll check out the link you provided. Unix based systems are not an option (not my choice).

        • #2492659

          Do not have choice of platform? Sad!!!

          by atulasthana ·

          In reply to thanks

          I guess, you need to do a little selling about Linux and qmail/open exchange etc. to your organisation. This will not only save you money and resources, it will also save you hassles of instability, hacking and virus/worms hitting the server.

          I have used Exch, Lotus Notes and Qmail based mails servers and can vouch for the Linux/Qmail (or whatever else) combination.

          Check out other Linux distros too. CentOS, FC6, Debian are all a very good choice. They will all run you mail for years without problems (also without keyboard, mouse and monitor).

          All the best.

    • #2492657


      by cbrown ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      I have used Mailenable at 2 different companies and have great success with it. They also include bayesian spam filtering built in to their Pro version. Currently I run a mailing list with Mailenable that services over 26000 users running on a single cpu machine. There are 250 email accounts associated with this server as well. I have used exchange in the past and it works great, but for the cost difference, mailenable for me was the way to go. Mailenable also has built in web admin utilities and Active directory integration as well making user/password administration much easier.

    • #2492647

      The obvious choice is

      by thatboy ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Postfix on Linux. Hands down.

    • #2492623

      Do you want lots of external Support availability?

      by john.scarborough ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      The number of support professionals out there for Exchange and Lotus Notes probably outnumber those of the others mentioned in this trail by some margin, and both products are used extensively by millions of people worldwide, so if you need help there is plenty of it. In addition, this large base provides an incentive for 3rd parties to write add-ons for gadjets and software to entend the core mail – You’ll need this at some point. For the small organisation (400ish), Notes is often much more containable (ie. needs less servers) than Exchange, when you try to extend its capability, and additionally, it can run on a whole host of different platforms beside Windows, like LINUX, UNIX flavours or OS400 (AS400). Seriously recommend you look at platforms beyond Wintel for stability and lower admin.

    • #2492604

      Domino for security and scalabliltiy

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      You have the choice to run this on a Windows or Linux server.

      If you will be doing scheduling and shared calendars, Domino is far superior to Exchange, and is more secure.

      The windows version even has Instant messengering between members when a more interactive conversation is required than email will handle. They are suppose to have this available soon for the Linux version.

      We were one of, if not THE first in the state to run Domino on Linux, and it has worked out really well for us.

      They even have a linux client available now, and can also be accessed via a web browser as well as syncing to your palm or blackberry.

      • #2507445

        second this

        by mike woolsey ·

        In reply to Domino for security and scalabliltiy

        Domino is known for stability, security, and speed.

        Notes is rich — even revolutionary — for more than just email. It integrates email, instant messaging, and situational applications that you can customize or build from scratch for your particular business.

        There’s a Web Access system too for more lightweight access to email. There’re also Web services for the situational apps as well.

        The client runs off more than one OS, as well as the server.

    • #2492595

      Here’s what we did a year ago:

      by dechevarria ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      I researched all kinds of stuff and ended up using a “mail scanning company” MxLogics. Their service includes keywords, spam, and virus checks. Our MX record points to their servers and they securely pass only the clean email to our Exchange Server (low maintenance). Users receive an email each day about any spam and they can review it (accept, delete, always accept or always delete).

      This turned out to be a very cost effective solution that has an extremely low security impact on our business.

      • #2492472

        Front end incoming mail

        by jmounteer ·

        In reply to Here’s what we did a year ago:

        I agree that using an anti spam/virus service to front your email is the way to go. It could save a signifigant amount of bandwidth with 90%+ of email being spam.

      • #2492117

        External mail scanning

        by peter.milne ·

        In reply to Here’s what we did a year ago:

        Having spent some years nursemaiding an in-house anti-spam & content filtering service using Mimesweeper I recently switched to Messagelabs and have a life again. I strongly advocate an external service for this

    • #2492562

      No matter what

      by dumphrey ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Mail server you choose to use, you will probably want to invest in a Barracuda Spam filter or something similar. We have the basic barracuda 200, it was a $1200 initial investment and about $300 a year for virus/Spam updates (daily or more often). At the moment ours is blocking about 24000 Spam and 45 viruses a day. This is before our exchange server even sees any of the mail. IMF catches even more Spam and server based AV catches the odd virus. I can?t even begin to sing the praises of a dedicated Spam filter.

      • #2492551


        by jdiggs ·

        In reply to No matter what

        It makes no sense to host your own without filtering spam at the gateway. We’re using Brightmail, and I’ve been very satisfied with its performance.

    • #2492531

      No right answer. Lots of less wrong ones.

      by rclark2 ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Exchange works, is fully integrated, but has lacks alot of functionality that others have. Some of which it use to have but Microsoft killed for security reasons.

      Lots of open source, free ware, or cheap packages out there to do almost anything. If you are in an industry that does not worry about email, choose and go. You can always switch later.

      For Finance, Healthcare, and anything to do with Lawyers, you have to have something that can be stable. That means exchange or one of the major unix releases.

    • #2492530


      by littlepd ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Lotus Notes/Domino

      If your user name had been CU Tiger, you would already have known this. 😉

    • #2492492

      How about Zimbra?

      by jc ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      Anyone have any experience with Zimbra?

    • #2492482


      by steve.humes ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      We have been running GroupWise for the past 7 years with a customer base of over 1000 users.
      Can run on Windows, Netware or Linux platforms. Choice is up to you. WebAccess is very good and you have multiple client choices: Outlook (with plugin) native client, Evolution. Easy to administer. Check it out.

      • #2492382

        Do research

        by industrial controller ·

        In reply to GroupWise

        MS Exchange does work, kind of. Be prepared to reboot and fiddle with it often. Be prepared for Microsoft to take you where you may not want to go in the future. I hate Exchange but have to use it. Most solutions have their own unique headaches (including email hosting) but do your research. Once you commit, you will probably have to live with your decision for a long time.

    • #2492297

      What are your business constraints

      by greg ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      I have used several email systems (my favorite is groupwise). I now have a exchange system that requires almost no maintenance because I did the homework and set it up for the number of users on a clean well patched version of w2003 server.

      But in all cases listen to the people who say you need a spam filter if you host your own system. This is a critical decision in some companies it can eliminate 90% of the load on an email server by blocking the spam from hitting the server and preventing it from being overloaded (my favorite is ironport). though you may want to consider an outsourced service for spam filtering.

      • #2492275

        If all you need is e-mail on a Windows Server platform…

        by ovidtchr ·

        In reply to What are your business constraints

        …then I’d vote for MailEnable. The price is right, it is
        relatively easy to configure and maintain, and unlike my
        experiences with Exchange it seems run well even as
        hardware ages.

        Consider your future needs, though, especially if you
        think you will need shared calendars and such (in this
        case I’d grudgingly recommend Exchange if you are
        committed to Windows). Also look into redundancy and
        backup solutions – regardless of your organization’s
        business and legal requirements, these are crucial. No
        one notices when a corporate website has a brief outage,
        but everyone seems to notice the moment e-mail goes

        • #2492218

          Also bringing mail inhouse

          by ryan.smyth ·

          In reply to If all you need is e-mail on a Windows Server platform…

          We are also considering bringing our mail system inhouse.

          Considering looking into exchange 2007 and outsourcing the spam and antivirus gateway.

          We are around 200 people spread over 5 sites and outsourcing has just seemed like a easy cost effective solution. Still need to do a cost analysis on bringing mail system inhouse. We will need, Shared calendars, stability, blackberrys and pda mail access, OWA. Also SOX compliance is a big one!

          just to Echo what was asked earlier, Whats the thoughts on Zimbra?

        • #2526723

          Re: How about Zimbra?

          by peter.wilkins ·

          In reply to Also bringing mail inhouse

          I too am looking at Zimbra.

          Like most everyone, I love my email, my instant messaging, VoIP etc…

          However … looking at communications from a data management (DM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) we are creating a nightmare.

          I have a systems engineering background so have always kept my operating systems (OS), applications and data on separate volumes.

          Understandably, I was horrified at the early versions of DOS and Windows when all three were hopelessly muddled. Word Perfect had a default to save documents into its program directory … I could continue…

          Now, I am looking at how to merge email messages, IM histories and other communications logs ~ a huge challenge since each one has its own way of saving data.

          I do my best to keep the file folders in my email synchronized with my data directory structure and save (important) IM messages in either email or on my data drive (sometimes both). This way I can find conversations in context. This is a challenge when conversations get fragmented over various mediums, email, IM (maybe more than one, such as Skype, MSN, YM, etc).

          To cut to the chase, I am looking for my dream integrated communications system:

          1) Conversations, regardless of medium, are saved in a common file system … email, IM, maybe even VoIP (audio files). Why not?!?

          2) Within the enterprise (or a group), system wide folders can be defined by a system administrator to make it easy for everyone to follow a consistent filing methodology (this is not the same as public folders … but public folders could also be system admin defined.

          3) Group members should be able to share messages (email or IM) simply by clicking to share with specific users or groups … rather than being obliged to “forward” messages through SMTP / POP3 gateways … which is not only redundant within the enterprise, it also (often) mangles messages and leads to wasted time typing such messages as “Hi Ken, this just in from Jim…”

          4) The ability to create a alternate subject line or meta tag … particularly valuable when people use meaningless subject lines or, even, recycle old subject lines which have nothing to do with the contents of the email. This feature would help considerably to build conversation threads


          The above four requirements are inspired to address the huge inefficiencies in managing eCommunications these days. Messages get lost, mis-filed, or plain deleted in error.

          A system with the above capabilities would considerably improve communications efficiencies and undoubtedly save huge amounts of time that is currently being wasted.

          Can Zimba do all this?

          Does anyone have any other ways to do this?

          Thanks in advance,


    • #2491185


      by jdesouza ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      I have been using Desknow for just over one year and I am very happy with it. Very low cost, even for unlimited users. Nice web interface or POP or IMAP interface.

    • #2602819


      by liegerm ·

      In reply to Bringing email in-house, What to use?

      I vote for Kerio.

      I used to worship Exchange but became disillusioned with the amount of administration, late nights and early mornings fixing and restoring. I then changed jobs and worked for a company who resold Kerio (I was involved in the product tests against other mail servers for that company) and became an instant convert. Compared to Exchange, the amount of admin is slashed in half and it never, ever crashed (we installed it on Suse 10 at about 30 customer sites). It’s incredibly easy to configure with no hidden options and menus like Exchange. It’s logging is second-to-none which makes trouble-shooting easy. It stores the emails in a plain text eml format in a logical hierarchy of folders so if you change servers, you can take your data with you. You can import user accounts from active directory if you like. It can archive to separate storage as well. The web interface is turned on by default and can be re-configured in a few minutes. Also, it can do 95% of what Exchange can do and has a very stable Outlook plugin that supports calendaring, etc (most users don’t see any difference). Download a trial and give it a go and compare against other servers. Their UK support is very, very good and 99% available during office hours. There’s lots of other plus points but I’m beginning to sound like a Kerio salesman! One final thing: recovery – you can recover from disaster simply by installing Kerio on a spare server and unzipping your backup (I know because I’ve tested it many times) – the base OS doesn’t even have to be the same (ie, you can go from Linux to Windows or to Mac or any other combination).

      Zimbra also looks very good, but I haven’t had a change to look at it.

      Good luck in you choice! Email me if you need any other info about it.

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