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I've a client which has Exchange 2010 installed. He is thinking to have POP3 connector to get all emails from his provider as opposed to native redirection of all MX records to this server. He feels safer that emails are never lost there when he occasionally reboot server or do some other stuff on it and theoretically POP3 connector gives him that.

I've told him that we can always do MX redirection to his server and then keep his provider emails MX server as 2nd one so when his server gets rebooted emails will go to 2nd server and we will get his emails with connectors for his safety.

To make it even harder currently this client uses dynamic IP which means we can't use anything else then connector but if he's convinced to Exchange as native solution he would buy out the static IP.

So what are benefits and downsides of having Exchange working in native mode? I can name a few myself.

Advantages:

  • control over how emails are handled
  • using pop3 connectors may not always work
  • access to OWA is much greater probability to work with static IP then dynamic one

Disadvantages:

  • spam / viruses have to be taken care of which means buying a software to do so (but you do get better control over what your email server accept and what they not as opposed to provider email system)
  • have to pay attention to your IP to not get marked as spammer yourself (as for example spamming computer in your network may cause your all emails to be marked as spam later on)
  • bigger costs due to need for static IP and additional software
  • longer downtime can cause emails to be lost (short downtime's usually have no impact on email flow
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I'm not sure that the MX redirection will be a 100% solid solution.

In the past I've routed the MX records via a mail gateway service which then forwards on the Exchange. This gives the benefit of spam/virus filtering outside the permiter (which saves bandwidth) with the added bonus that the gateway provider has lots of redundant kit which can queue up mail whenever the Exchange server has to go down for maintenance or a problem.

When there's a problem with Exchange you can generally still access the queueing e-mails via a web control panel if there's any urgent stuff.

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The POP3 connector will always be slower than a direct MX record pointer to the Exchange server, as the connector only polls every 15 minutes by default. This interval can be increased using the "ScheduleAccelerator" registry value but it's still doing a "pull" of mail versus a direct "push" to the server. I don't know if the POP3 connector functionality in Exchange 2010 has changed much since my past experience with SBS2003 but my vote is still with the direct MX record setup.

I echo Chris's suggestion of a hosted mail gateway for filtering and spooling. We use the McAfee (formerly MX Logic) SaaS E-mail Protection service for our clients with great results. Downtime for on-premise Exchange servers is no problem as McAfee immediately starts to spool/queue e-mail on their servers and holds it until the target server comes back online.

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Matthew POP3 connector is only included in SBS and not Exchange itself so I won't be able to use built-in one. I have to choose external, pay solution. –  MadBoy Jun 4 '10 at 6:41
    
My mistake - as I mentioned my only experiencing with POPing to an Exchange server has been with SBS2003. Either way - 3rd-party or not - you'll be polling for updates on a schedule and pulling them in versus having mail flow directly into Exchange. –  Matthew Flook Jun 9 '10 at 16:54
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