Monday, 28 June 2010

Configuring A Client For OWN Hosted Exchange and SharePoint

Lately, we have been fairly counter-Cloud in many of our blog posts in an effort to offset a lot of the Cloud services hype that we are seeing in our industry.

However, despite our expressing our _opinions_ on all of the hype around Cloud services and the many IT industry “prophecies” that come as part of that hype, we will always do our best to provide our clients with the best possible solution for their needs.


It is obviously no secret that we have partnered with Cloud service provider OWN for our client’s Cloud services needs around e-mail sanitation (ExchangeDefender) and hosted Exchange with hosted SharePoint (OWN product page).

Disclaimer: The signature in this post shows Vlad’s (his blog) appreciation for our support of OWN and their services.

We have partnered with OWN mainly for two reasons:

  1. Vlad and his business provide excellent value in the services they provide with those services being stable and highly available.
  2. If you read Vlad’s blog linked above, then Vlad’s honesty and integrity in business are pretty straight forward to see.

Besides the above two points, OWN’s product documentation is very good and so is the pre-sales and post-sales support provided by the OWN Support Team.

While we appreciate the MacBook Pro gift, we still stand behind OWN’s services because of the excellent service we have received since Partner Day 1.

Client Hosted Exchange and SharePoint

We have a client that is asking to have their Exchange mailboxes hosted. They are primarily on the go with little in-office time other than the office administration folks.

Because most of the business users are on the go, a Cloud based solution makes sense for them. They are looking for a relatively inexpensive solution that helps them step away from any in-house server setups.

With Outlook 2010 in place, they can have their original mailbox up and running and also have the newly created hosted mailbox configured in their Outlook making data transfer a fairly straight forward thing in this case.

So, we are in the process of configuring an Internet domain for them that will be used for their e-mail as well as hosted SharePoint access.

Here is an overview of what is needed to set up a client with OWN’s hosted Exchange and SharePoint:

  1. Internet domain name registered.
  2. DNS either with the registrar if provided or via third party/ISP.
    1. DNS A:  = site host IP.
    2. DNS A: = OWN’s SP IP.
    3. DNS CNAME: autodiscover.ExchangeDefenderServer.
      • The actual ED server name URL will be given after provisioning the mailboxes.
    4. DNS Catch-all removed.
    5. MX pointing to ExchangeDefender.
    6. Proper SPF record configured for the domain using the domain (previous blog post).
  3. Test the DNS.
    1. DNSStuff report:
    2. image
  4. Acquire a list of users requiring a mailbox and any aliases they may need.
    1. Primary:
    2. Alias:
  5. Set up a spreadsheet with the above list.
    1. An example:
    2. image
    3. We place this grid in our client’s audit notes to facilitate managing their services.
  6. Provision the mailboxes via OWN Partner Portal.
  7. If SharePoint is required then:
    1. Initiate a support request to create the SP site.
    2. Either designate a user as site admin or have an account available for OWN to use as site admin.
  8. Configure an Outlook 2010 Exchange mailbox with a provisioned mailbox to test all settings.
  9. Option: Provision an All Users Distribution Group (a la SBS).
  10. Client configures or we deploy/configure Outlook mailboxes for the client.
  11. In Outlook, import the user’s PST if needed.
    1. With Outlook 2010 it is possible to have two or more Exchange mailboxes. This can enable users to selectively copy and paste Outlook/mailbox content.
    2. The multi-mailbox ability also allows for a flexible change-over even if the same e-mail domain is being used.

Once we have the mailboxes provisioned and our client is up and running, we have the ability to create any needed Public Folders or Distribution Groups for their particular needs using.

To keep things simple for our clients we create an All Users e-mail address for them out of the box. This gives them an out of the box ability to e-mail everyone in the company.

Not an OWN partner yet?

An excellent Hosted Exchange and SharePoint Getting Started Guide can be found here:

A PDF copy of the above DNSStuff report is available on our Blog Downloads page on our Web site.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

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