Is Exchange useful if your not running a mail server?

By DownRightTired ·
Ive got a guy who is running SBS server. They're running Exchange although they're not running their own mail server; they use a hosting service. They have Exchange set up to sync with this external mail service.

Is their any logical reason to do this that Im missing? Its a small fire protection business, with maybe 10 pc's. All of their outlook clients are set to use the exchange server. Most work well, except for the owners (of course :).

He says at times he will send an e-mail to his secretary, and she wont receive it until the next day. The opposite also happens (she sends to him, he doesn't receive it).
He also has the problem that new e-mails wont automatically show up in Outlook (he has to click off of the Inbox to a diff folder, then click the Inbox again)

I recommended he download Thunderbird and just connect to their POP/SMTP server rather than the Exchange server, and see how it goes.

So is there any reason why they all shouldnt just do this? Is there some other benefit to using Exchange that Im missing? It seems to me they dont really need it and it could be causing some other problems.

This was the first time I played w/ SBS. Im not a big fan, and am pretty glad I decided against using it here at our office.

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All Answers

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There may be a small performance decrease from going direct

by robo_dev In reply to Is Exchange useful if you ...

but also there may be issues, such as the 'next day' email, if the syncronization is too infrequent.

I say keep it simple. I would agree with your thunderbird recommendation.

One word of caution: make sure they are not archiving like ten years of email on the exhange server, or the risk is that something is gonna go poof.

OTOH If these users 'save everyhing forever' then having it on a central server that gets backed up may be a better approach.

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Thanks for the FB

by DownRightTired In reply to There may be a small perf ...

I had not considered if they were archiving or not; Or whether or not they need to be.

Thanks, Ill be sure to check on that.

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the only benefit

by Jaqui In reply to Is Exchange useful if you ...

would be if it was configured to keep a copy of all email so they have an onsite backup of it.

otherwise, the hosted service is more than sufficient for them.

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One or the other, but not both

by Churdoo In reply to Is Exchange useful if you ...

I think if one is going to use Exchange then they should use it, and if they don't need it, then don't use it. But to have exchange and POP from a hosted solution is not only a waste of resources, but it's also prone, as you've identified, to some annoying little issues.

Even a small company of 10 can benefit from Exchange/SBS in my opinion. You and the other posters have already identified message archiving and mailbox backups as potential benefits. Let's not forget about the remote email access features via OWA and having remote access to all of the email and folders exactly as you have them set up in your office Outlook; public folders for creating and sharing lots of info like common company contacts, additional calendars, etc.; and being able to share private Outlook info such as personal calenders, contacts, etc.

So I agree that the existing setup is cumbersome, problemmatic, and a support PIA having to maintain both systems, i.e. the hosted solution plus the exchange organisation. Simplifying the solution may mean dumping the POP mailboxes and learning and completing the exchange setup more effectively, but if they won't use any of the features of it, then sure, dump exchange.

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Sometimes both are better.

by sanctus In reply to One or the other, but not ...

I'm working in an environment that mail is very crucial to me, while the benefits of Exchange gives me more power.
so I decided to use the prior configuration. so in case that my locally hosted exchange went down or failed for any reason, I can fall back easily to the basic pop remotely hosted server.

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