[unisog] MS Exchange maintenance time

Jonathan Young jon at drboom.com
Wed May 14 22:39:12 GMT 2003

Exchange maintenance isn't a big deal.  Logs should be cleared by your
backup app and there are a variety of automagic cleanup things that run
and probably won't need any tuning in a 900 user environment.
Occasionally (in a school, probably after each semester's account
cleanup) you will need to run an offline defrag and that can take a long
(hours and hours) time.  Depending on what services you offer and how
your exchange server is firewalled, you may need to apply security
patches that will require downtime but hopefully you can avoid running
IIS web (OWA) and skip those constant security issues.

That said, if you are only using exchange for mail and not the groupware
then why use exchange?  In sites we need exchange, we rarely allow
inbound internet access to exchange in any form (biggest exception is a
site that needs OWA and pop/imap).  We are usually able to setup a
smarthost (typically linux with postfix or qmail) that handles the
inbound mail and runs spam/virus filtering.  For remote access, we will
usually open pop/imap to exchange but unless they need the groupware
features of owa then we setup a squirellmail server to allow remote

We've done this at several .edus (and more this summer) as well as
several corps so feel free to email me off list at
jon at network-plumbers.com if there are any specifics you would like to

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Boyer [mailto:boyerj at wsu.edu] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 11:53 AM
To: unisog at sans.org
Subject: [unisog] MS Exchange maintenance time

I am looking at the option of replacing our college Unix Sendmail server
with a MS Exchange server.  We currently have approx. 900 users, of
which most of them are connecting via POP.  Our users are scattered all
over campus as well as throughout the state.  My concern is the
maintenance time required to keep Exchange running, versus the supposed
benefits.  If you have any experience running Exchange with 900+ users I
would appreciate your perspective on the issue.

Please I do not want a MS vs Unix war here, only some good data to make
a decision.

Thanks for your help,
Jim Boyer
Systems Programmer
Information Dept
College of Agriculture and Home Economics
Washington State University

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