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I currently have a small business network set up. Running SBS 2011, and Windows 7. I apologize for my minimal knowledge of the subject, but I am looking for a way to have Outlook connected to each user so when a user logs in, they can open their Outlook and only their emails there.

Is this what Microsoft Exchange is for? If so, does anyone know of any cheaper alternatives? Currently there are only around 10 users who will be using this service.

Any help would be appreciated!

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3 Answers

Yes, that is what Exchange would be for. You could look at other services, such as GMail for Businesses or Zimbra.

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From what ive read Zimra doesnt support Windows? Is it possible or can you recommend anything else? Thanks –  Joe May 15 '13 at 13:54
    
+1 for Gmail for business. It's extremely easy to set up. –  bigbadonk420 May 15 '13 at 13:57
    
I am trying google for businesses. Is there a way to link these to the outlooks? –  Joe May 15 '13 at 14:11
    
@Joe Yes. You can link your Outlook to any POP, IMAP, Exchange, or HTTP email service. GMail uses IMAP/POP. –  Kruug May 15 '13 at 14:14
    
But will this mean each user has their own outlook, set up regardless of which computer they are on. –  Joe May 15 '13 at 14:15
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when a user logs in, they can open their outlook and only their emails there.

If the user each have their own username and password (and they should!) then you can configure their desktop per person. This includes configuring their email.

Is this what Microsoft exchange is for?

Yes. Exchange a option to do this. Note that exchange does not just do email. It is for office support, which includes agendas, mail, address books etc etc.

If you want to use all that then you either need:

  • An dedicated exchange server (expensive software!)
  • Or Windows Small_Business_Server aka SBS. You already have SBS 2011, which seems to include exchange. Possibly limited to a low number of users.
  • Or alternative software such as Evolution. This one is free, but since you already have SBS I would go with that.

If so, does anyone know of any cheaper alternatives?

See the link to evolution.

Currently there are only around 10 users who will be using this service.

SBS 2011 has a 75 user limit. With 10 users you should have no problems.

If you grow beyond those 75 (or preferably if you grow and before you reach those 75) you need to upgrade to the 'real' exchange version. If you do not think that will happen soon then just use SBS. Its price is not bad for the package. (Then again, it is the lure to get you into an upgrade path, so it makes a lot of business sense to offer it relative cheap).

If you do expect to grow then:

  1. Hire someone to configure things properly. Hacking around with 10 users is doable. Manually fixing permissions on 10 PCs is doable (if boring). If you suspect that you will grow consider a well planned proper deployment with automated scripts.
  2. Given on your budget a free mail agent now becomes an option. But only if you have someone who understands how to maintain it.
  3. A third option is not to try to maintain this at all. Move it to the old 1960 client/server method (now sold under the name 'cloud services'). If you do make sure you have a decent internet connection and a backup connection. Else you might up with perfectly working email.... and no way to reach it.
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A downside to SBS is the lack of migration option (unless they've added that recently). Company I work for acquired a smaller company and had to completely rebuild their server using a non-SBS version. –  Kruug May 15 '13 at 14:06
    
Aye. SBS is a 'weird beast'. All sorts of goodies, nicely integrated and quite limited in a way so you still need to real tools now and then. But given the way the OP asked things I expect that SBS and third party support might work best for them. –  Hennes May 15 '13 at 14:09
    
Agreed, just warning for future growth. –  Kruug May 15 '13 at 14:12
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I would take a look at Office365 and more specifically the business options. It's a hosted version of Office that includes other services.

"Office 365" refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services), such as Lync web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with SkyDrive and Skype world minutes for home.

All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.

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