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My question is that my company is thinking of providing a free email account for each of its customers. As a new company we will assume that our corporate email system will be MS Exchange server which will support about 1000 employees.

They are asking why not adding the customer list to be a part of Exchange users. My suggestion was to separate the two systems, for the corporate we can use Exchange but for customers (around 30000) we have to use a Linux based system. My only argument was that Linux can be used for enterprise services like this and Microsoft may fail.

What do you suggest?

And if you are with me on choosing Linux as the server platform, what do you suggest to use as an alternative for Exchange in Linux?

Thank you.

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Your argument i stupid. Exchange fails for 30.000? Microsoft uses it - more employees. Many other companies are the same. This is logical crap, sorry. At least make consistent arguments. Licensing cost may be one. But "it fails for 30k users" is not a valid argument. – TomTom Mar 11 '11 at 16:08
you've aimed your comment at the wrong person, jscott simply edited your question to make it more readable, it's TomTom who has left the rude comment, that said even though he is rude he is correct, some of the biggest mail systems in the world are Exchange based including my own company's 250k user system, he is still very rude however. – Chopper3 Mar 19 '11 at 11:59
@TomTom i always think that people who think they are smart like you and think that they know every little detail of every category in the science, technology ,.. etc . can understand the sentences that others write and what does it mean. if you think i meant it will fail because of users capacity then i congratulate you, you failed to be from the genius category in this planet. continue your effort next time. call me if you need any help from this – bogha Mar 22 '11 at 9:18
  1. Why do you want to give every customer an email address? Do you think they'll want that? Personally, the last thing I want is another email address... and if a company were to give me one, I'd want it to just forward mail.

  2. Is this going to bring you profit? If not, I'd recommend Linux just because it's pointless to license MS Windows Server & Exchange, etc. if you're not going to get money for the service.

If it were me, I'd run either RHEL (if you need formal support) or CentOS (same software, no price tag). QMail is nice...

University where I work runs Courier IMAP on a few clusters that each handle mail for around 50k users. Very few complaints (and, not to bash MS, but not one of the mail admins would use Exchange).

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+1 on licensing - each of those 30,000 mailboxes would require a CAL license. – Kara Marfia Jan 19 '10 at 20:28
No, not necessarily. SPLA licensing may apply. This though would still be around 40k USD.... per month. Without need. – TomTom Mar 11 '11 at 16:09

Exchange server can scale upto as many users possible ; provided

disk space / speed processor proper structuring of the messaging architecture.

You can go for hosted exchange ; like purchasing a control panel from some company to provide this and to segregate address lists.

It really comes down to the question / point that what you are familiar / expert with, so that you can plan / deploy better and ofcourse manage better.

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+1 - An Exchange system can have just as many problems as a Linux solution if you don't know what you're doing. – Joe Doyle Jan 19 '10 at 16:09

Might be just my ignorance of Exchange, but for our company, choosing an open platform was important so that we could modify the mail server to suit our needs.
I think going with your initial suggestion and separating the two is the wise move. Imagine if one of your customers decides to start sending SPAM using your exchange server. You get added to an RBL and now your corporate email is treated as SPAM as well...

I think that you want to choose an enterprise level linux, such as RHEL and pay for support! I am a personal fan of QMail running on linux because of its flexibility and security.

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Exchange is a robust, reliable, secure, and scalable email system but I will tell you from experience that running Exchange as a hosted email service is often times more trouble than it's worth. We are an email hosting company (as well as being an ISV and an ASP) and we use Exchange. Maintaining separation and segregation of address lists, recipient policies, etc. gets to be a headache and if I were making the decisions I would have chosen another platform for the email hosting business.

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