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I've gone through the forum and I've gleaned a lot of information, but I haven't really seen my issue covered. I work in an office of about 15 people, and we've just lost our local IT vendor (literally a medical issue) with whom we've worked for some time and who gave us what amounted to cut-rate pricing for excellent work. I am the most "computer literate" guy in the organization, and I've been asked to take over. Great.

Before this all happened we had discussed the fact that Exchange could be a nightmare for an organization on such a small hardware budget, and that for no more than what we did with email it would make sense to look at a less costly solution. One option was simply hosting our email externally and using Outlook in POP3 mode to store our email. This would give our users the functionality of Outlook without being tied to any particular server. Since we are not really using public folders or sharing calendars or contact lists, it makes sense. Backup was a concern, but it was discussed that we could leave copies of the messages on the POP3 server itself and/or we could use a central backup that would make a nightly copy of the Outlook PST files.

So in a nutshell, we need high availability of email, but we do not need collaboration tools, we can't afford to spend many thousands of dollars on a new Exchange-capable server and a local person to recover the AD and Exchange and everything for us, as well as being down a few days. We are currently running a small business server with Exchange. I have looked over the Kerio documentation for backup and recovery and I'm pretty sure that in the event of a disaster I could install Kerio on a spare Win2K box that we have and get the restore done from a backup within a day. I wouldn't know where to begin to restore Exchange, and I'm fairly certain the hardware costs and down time alone are just prohibitive for us, much less that we'd inevitably have to pay some vendor to come in and do most of it for us.

Is it technically feasible to run Kerio as an in-house email server and have clients connect via POP3, downloading a copy of the messages to their local computer (for searching, etc.) but leaving a copy on the server, so that if their local copy ever died they could still have the version that resides on the server? If we've got users with 500 MB of data in their email boxes across thousands of messages per mailbox and multiple folders and subfolders, does this slow things down quite a bit *in POP3 mode*? (I know the mail server in this case would not be tracking the folders and subfolders per se, but would the sheer volume of messages cause a problem with POP3 style access?)

Also, how would this impact the antispam functions, the junk mailbox, etc.? Outlook's own junk mail filters are completely inadequate.

I guess what we're trying to find out is whether or not we could move from Exchange to Kerio (because we do still want the in-house email server because we have a document sharing system and some other pieces of hardware that require it, but they only need SMTP and POP3 access themselves and they do not store data on the email server), still take advantage of things like antispam functionality, still use Outlook, but not have to use the KOC. (I've read that Thunderbird seems to work without crashes for people, but moving off of Outlook just isn't going to happen here, and we also cannot afford to have the gremlin of the often described Outlook w/KOC crashes going on.)

Thank you.

[Updated on: Mon, 14 May 2007 14:30]


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If there's noone with real IT knowledge taking care of the mail server, backups, etc., I would not recommend running your own mail server. It can become quite technical these days with anti-SPAM mesaures of other mail servers, etc.

Although KMS is not diffucult to setup/maintain as far as mail servers are concerned, you do need some more-than-basic knowledge...

Why don't you simply opt for a hosted mailbox solution? Then there's nothing to worry about at all (just that your Internet connection is up)?

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I don't suppose you are in the UK ?


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