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Re: Exchange 2K3 and Server 2K3 versus SUN One Pros/Cons and Security Pros/Cons
From: Jimi Thompson <jimit () myrealbox com>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 23:01:04 -0600

I'm not going to tell you what you should buy, but I do suggest that you benefit from my experience and my advice is that you should avoid Microsoft, if if the alternative costs more upfront. We are a relatively small (for email) Microsoft Shop running Exhcange 2003 and we have had endless problems with it self-corrupting the JetDatabase Data Store. It's been horrible. We've only got about 300-350 users and we've had to reload (format the drives, reinstall the OS, and restore from a back up) the server 3 times since May, when it got deployed. If we hadn't put a Sendmail sever in front of it to do spam filtering, we'd have lost days of email. Fortunately, we have been able to configure the Sendmail server to spool until we could bring the Exchange box back on line. As things stand, we've lost a total of about 24 hours worth of email. It so bad that even though we are a university and Microsoft basically gives us their products, we're looking at purchasing an alternative. Right now the front runner is Samsung Contact (nee HP's OpenMail), but that may change now that SuSE has released a new mail server.

I can tell you from experience that the "new secure 'out-of-the-box' 2003" products aren't much better than their current counterparts. The service isn't any better, it's just not "on". They also left a lot of things turned on that I'd turn off in a "secure out of the box" OS. I'd be happy to supply you with both NMAP and NESSUS scan results from various machines that we've loaded. We've deliberately done some very vanilla installs specifically so that we could scan them. Our experience indicates that unless you plan on deploying Office 2003 as well, you won't be getting any change in how Outlook (XP and earlier) connects to Exchange in any event. iPlanet's big downside has always been documentation and installation. Regardless of the product, their install process has tended to bite rather severely. Part of what has traditionally made the installs so painful is that their products are SOOOOOO poorly documented. If you guys have worked with iPlanet/SunONE, you know what I'm talking about. However, once installed and working they tend to be rock solid. There's other stuff out there though. I've got a pretty good list, since we've been doing evals looking to replace our Exchange server with something that actually works reliably and has all the groupware features that our users want (namely calendaring). I'd be happy to share my notes with you.

HTH,

Jimi


tawilson () speakeasy net wrote:

Hello everyone,

Our IS group is a current SUN Iplanet shop. We have Win2K3 AD running and the majority of the server infrastructure is 
running on Win2K.

We are looking to upgrade our Email infrastructure. Our current SUN Iplanet implementation is about 3 years old. At the time of deployment it was perfect for our environment. We needed to deploy web mail and at that time there was/is no question that MS Exchange was not mature enough in the web client.
Our environment still has a HIGH demand for a web based client due to our customer base.

We are now talking with SUN about upgrading the infrastructure and moving to their new Email infrastructure. We are 
also looking to determ if Microsoft has come of age and does it now fit in to our environment better then the SUN 
solution.

SUN and Microsoft are preparing presentations as well as presenting SOWs for our review and interactive discussion. I 
am interested in security issues or design issues with either platform. We have users that need to access our email 
infrastructure from around the world. Our clients use UNIX (all flavors), MACs, Win2K/XP and some older MS OSs as well.

So let me have it hit me with the good the bad and the ugly about E2K3 and Win2K3 as well as any SUN items you can come 
up with. Security is my primary focus but I will addressing questions from all aspects to presentation teams.

I have not had a chance to see the new outlook client and the new "secure" way it connects to E2K3 so if anyone has 
input to this I would really love to hear that.

Thanks in advance for any inputs I look forward to reading them.


-Todd




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