for the Joker's comments. I too believe that Windows Servers are pretty solid, they take a bad rap in that area. I have 4 of them and rarely need to reboot them or anything else. All mine are Server 2003 and we also have Exchange 2003 and its running on a 10 year old Dell Server.
Oh, I won't disagree with that assessment. I've been doing Windows servers since NT 3.51. I've got Windows servers running at 99% of my client's offices. (Got a few in my home too!) Starting with W2K they got most of the serious issues sorted out. And starting with W2K3 it's been really easy to work with. Same for Exchange.
And I know they're reliable if/when set up correctly
. With few exceptions, any servers we've specc'ed and installed for our clients only go down for hardware maintenance or required reboots following software installation.
But the problem with Windows servers (at least from my experience) is that major crashes are the least of your worries. Windows servers seldom crash. But they do develop lingering illnesses on occasion - and they sometimes have critical problems (like corrupted backups or some in-house 'expert' admin mucking with them) that you won't know about until it's too late. And many of these problems don't get identified without scanning through all
the server logs rather than just the error messages. So yeah, email alerts are all well and good. I get those too. But I still want to periodically scan through everything
whenever possible. That habit is something that's saved my tail on more than one occasion. YMMV. So feel free to do whatever works best for you or your business. And I'll be sure to do the same.
Regarding the technology, this isn't a technical challenge. Doing Exchange is really no big deal. What is a big deal is the requirements for security, zero downtime, etc. Like Weinberg says: It's not a technical problem. It's always a 'people problem.' And any time you're convinced something isn't a people problem - better look again.
So yes, I could do two Exchange servers with failover. But if I were to go that far, I should probably also consider setting up an additional small DC server so there isn't a single point of failure for the Active Directory since Exchange requires AD. (Zero downtime on email, remember?)
So ok, we're looking at 3 servers...a boost to the HVAC in the server 'room' (large closet actually) because it's already gotten pretty warm with what's currently in there - and it's only winter outside...check the power service lines and likely get a circuit or two added...additional UPS protection for the new machines...spec a backup system for the new machines and probably replace the existing one which isn't that great...hmm...with security, space and other concerns maybe it's better to have one Exchange server in house and co-locate the other?...you'd not want everything in one basket and we could chance not having that second DC if it starts going too far over budget...we'll strongly advise but let them make their own decision on that one...oh yeah, check with Jason and see if we may want to increase our E&O insurance coverage if we do this...pass the additional premium amount back to the client if we do...then there's...what?...they just called?...now they want to know about Microsoft Small effing
Business Server?... oh... I see... his wife's cousin works for GEIS and does some freelance IT consulting on the side...and this prodigy told her SBS is all they really want or need.... called it a no-brainer
You know what? I really think they're better off just going with somebody who already has the plant and equipment in place and paying for it via a monthly service contract. Straight expense write-off that way too - so it's better for taxes.
Again, I'm not trying to play conter-devil's advocate here. It's just that the particular requirements for this project go beyond bringing in some hardware, installing software, and establishing a few operating procedures. If all I had to do was sell them an Exchange server, and set it up, I'd have ordered it for them already.