Reasonably alternatives to Exchange/Server2012/Sharepoint?

Discussion in 'Software Stuff' started by WeekendWarrior, May 12, 2016.

  1. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    For business reasons that are more involved than it's worth getting into, I need to have an in-house email server. Agreed that hosted providers provide better security than I can at a much lower price than I can but that is a non-starter for my clients.

    Exchange is an obvious candidate but it gets expensive, especially when I think about running two installations for failover/HA purposes. I'm seeing quotes of $600 for Exchange plus $40/person for cal licenses (I will have several people using this). It also requires Windows Server, which is another $1000 or so. Double this for running on a redundant server for HA purposes. It's a lot.

    After doing some web research, some potentially viable solutions appear to exist. Zimbra and Kerio Connect have come up a few times and offer Outlook integration. Their pricing is better although I haven't tested them yet.

    Are there any really good alternatives to Exchange that don't require Server2012? I don't mind paying $$$ but would rather not pay $$$$$$.

    Edit: I should also mention that I have an interest in having SharePoint functionality due to a particular software package I want to run that operates on SharePoint; again, I can't host that in the web, so I must have SharePoint or preferably a compatible alternative (e.g., Alfresco).

    Thanks
    Dave
     
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  2. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Really interested to see where this thread goes, I have looked myself for small / cheap mail solutions and I just keep coming back to O365 as the cheapest full feature option. I even looked at the Mac server options and synology etc but none of them inspired confidence as s robust solution.

    Roll your own on Linux is just too much effort I think, especially the open source or free versions of think like zimbra need some reasonably decent resources to work which rules out $5 digital ocean nodes etc.
     
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  3. wildchild

    wildchild Active Member

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    had good experiences in the past with Mdaemon with Mailstore
     
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  4. Jannis Jacobsen

    Jannis Jacobsen Active Member

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    zentyal might be a decent choice

    -jannis
     
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  5. aero

    aero Active Member

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    I'm a big fan of Zimbra, but it can be a lot of work to get it running, and customized.
     
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  6. cheezehead

    cheezehead Active Member

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    Really depends on scale...list prices for MS products are horrible, there are many (which is part of the complexity) licensing methods available which can reduce the cost. I rarely have used Exchange specific CALs...they are expensive and generally the organizations are already running Windows & Office on the desktop. At which point they usually consolidate costs by picking up Core CALs (WS/Exchange/SharePoint/Skype/SCCM/Endpoint Proection) instead which cover a number of products in a single SKU...these are purchased via Enterprise Agreements as again list prices are horrible.

    Microsoft Volume Licensing - Microsoft Open Programs

    Depending on the industry there are also some industry specific licensing programs.

    Many Orgs are moving to O365 as it's simple, works, and is easy on budgeting x-dollars per user per month. That being said some of specific corporate policies or regulatory restrictions which would hinder the capability of using O365 or Google for Business. Also running O365 may or may not be cheaper...I'm still running Exchange on-prem due to O365 licensing costs, even with heavy discounting if you have single sku that's $1 per user per month (for example) and have 30k users that's $360k per year or $1.8M over 5-years, now running that on-prem (assuming everyone doesn't really need 50GB mailboxes) is extremely cheap.

    Some other mail/groupware servers out there
    • Zimbra is out there and provides a semi-similar feature set.
    • hmailserver is a free windows-based mail server option
    • Kerio Connect
    • Horde + Imp + Kronolith + Gollem is there as well but each has their learning curves.
    • IceWarp
     
    #6
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  7. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    This type of comment is particularly helpful - thanks
     
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  8. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    Yes, this seems like the initial question. My scale is 5-10 users tops, which strongly argues for hosted email but my clients require me to have my systems within my physical walls. So O365 is out.

    My other goal, which complicates things, is that I want HA/failover. Has anyone configured any of the suggested solutions to do that?
     
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  9. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments - very much appreciated.
     
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  10. aero

    aero Active Member

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    I haven't configured Zimbra for HA/failover, but it looks relatively easy with some scripts to sync data. The webmail portal and ActiveSync with Android phones is great!
     
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  11. Scott41

    Scott41 New Member

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    I am in a similar boat looking for an inhouse solution that uses MAPI so multiple devices can share and sync to 1 mail box. Can't go cloud and Win Server + Exchange is too expensive and over kill for 1 mail box.
     
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  12. cheezehead

    cheezehead Active Member

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    HA/failover can be viewed in two ways these days.

    1) I need HA/failover capabilities for the physical box - if the workload is virtualized, just need to physical nodes setup to auto-restart failed vm's on loss of node. Pretty simple.
    2) I need application HA/failover capabilities for the application - this is where it gets complex pretty quick.

    For most workloads honestly #1 is how I go and in the rare care there is a physical host issue the downtime is <2 minutes. The few workloads that are that business critical for many have built-in HA capabilities (DNS, AD, DHCP, ect).

    Also if #2 is a hard requirement and the application doesn't have a simple HA solution then really any customer needs to understand that level of availability has certain costs associated with it. Beyond licensing up front, the deployment and maintenance takes a more staff/consulting time.

    As an aside, why are they having a hard requirement of on-prem?
     
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  13. Endoftheworld

    Endoftheworld New Member

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    Zentyal is a good option for those coming from a windows background, there's usually no linux experience needed. Version 4.2 gives full native compatibility for exchange clients with webmail and IMAP/POP3, domain control, and VPN. HA clustering was available on 3.4 but later removed, and 3.2 is good if you want a full gateway setup with content control, traffic shaping, gateway failover, web proxy, Layer-7, captive portal, radius, etc. After 3.2 they started pruning down the features to concentrate on the modules that replicate the windows SBS role.

    I've been using it for years in a commercial environment and it works well. Downtime is a fraction of what it was with SBS.
     
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  14. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    Thanks @Endoftheworld, I will give it a good look
     
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  15. WeekendWarrior

    WeekendWarrior Active Member

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    Very understandable question, but I have clients that require me to be able to say that none of their data is in the cloud, including data in emails I may send/receive.

    Setting aside the security tradeoffs between on-prem and cloud-based email systems, my client has a right to dictate what they want or are willing to accept.
     
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  16. RobertFontaine

    RobertFontaine Active Member

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    If the NSA started offering a backup/recovery service for our data I think US based cloud computing might become more popular...

    Only mildly kidding, data capture by governmental agencies is rampant and if they can't get it unencrypted off the wire they go directly after the service providers either overtly or covertly. Many service providers simply hand over the keys. Of course this is rampant globally and not just a US problem. 5 eyes shares data and the others do whatever they do.

    Private agencies have essentially developed markets and economies around data and identity theft.

    Now can an administrator with no skills and no budget outperform a multi-national service provider?

    Nope... But the attack surface is smaller and the desirability for attackers is also smaller. Sometimes being relatively unknown and quiet is advantageous. Obscurity is not a terrible thing. It may not prove security but it does reduce attacks.
     
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  17. NetWise

    NetWise Active Member

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    So as a perhaps 'Microsoft Bigot' - what's 'So expensive' about just going the Microsoft route? Either way you need the hardware and lets assume that's a wash.

    OP commented '5-10 users' - lets assume 10, it's always more than you think.

    Pricing was $40/user, 2x$1000 for Windows Server and 2x$600 for Exchange Server so you can do DAG's. What is not mentioned is Windows Server CAL's which will also be needed. Assume also $40/user.

    So we're at $4000. Or about $400/user. Cost over 36 months is $11.11/user/month.

    Granted, that's not factoring for maintenance and updates and such - but any other 'I've never heard of it before but someone recommended it on the internet so I picked it up for the first time and have no experience with it and no support agreements' solution would ALSO need that.

    The clients want in house. I get that. But they MUST ALSO generally accept that it will cost more and be more difficult than the 'popular' option. Tell me they're not truly sitting there thinking they'll get more control, more options, better service AND it'll cost LESS?? That's not even sane.

    I do apologize that I can't offer alternatives. But I often have this discussion with clients who think they can have everything large enterprises have, better, faster, cheaper - and then also complain about the hourly rate to maintain it. Sometimes, that's just a canary In a coal mine warning about the client...




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    #17
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  18. Jannis Jacobsen

    Jannis Jacobsen Active Member

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    Zentyal works like a charm.
    I used it until recently to have AD integration for Vcenter.

    -J
     
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  19. cheezehead

    cheezehead Active Member

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    That's the big different between cloud (OPEX) and on-prem (CAPEX) expenses. Really for small businesses I've seen many run an install for 5-10 years to get the most bang for the buck.

    5yrs nets $6.67/user/month
    7yrs nets $4.76/user/month
    10yrs nets $3.33/user/month

    Would I recommend to a customer running it for 7 or 10 years, no but i've seen more than a few choose to do it. Even spreading the cost over 5yrs has a yearly average cost of $800 which isn't bad. It just depends on how the business wants to handling their account and asset depreciation valuations.
     
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  20. NetWise

    NetWise Active Member

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    Absolutely true. I have some with a death grip on Exchange 2003/2007 that are now getting painted into a corner (really want/need Office 2016 but can't connect to Exch 2003/2007.)

    But if you can spread out that cost over > 3 years, you gain significantly.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    #20
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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