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We are going through a company merger and people want to do things differently!

Current situation:

  • 2 DCs.
  • 1 Exchange Server on 1 of the DCs (not SBS).The other half of the email is handled on a hosted Exchange server.
  • Half the PCs are joined to one domain and half are not joined to any domain (the ones using hosted Exchange).

Currently desired situation:

  • 0 DCs (I know this isn't possible when using Exchange).
  • Everyone's PC not joined to a domain
  • 1 Exchange server on the network that everyone can set up their Outlook to log into with both former domains MX records pointing at it.

I have a clean box to install 2008R2 and Exchange 2010 on. My current thought is to set up the Exchange as it's own domain and just set up the users on it and have them log in. Almost like setting up my own hosted exchange but on-site! This means the DCs can be ignored or demoted as desired and Exchange can sit there doing it's thing without being concerned what happens elsewhere. Is this the best option or are there gotchas that will kill it dead or better ways of doing things? We are a small company (less than 15 users) so convenience and flexibility rather than super-slick administration is more important.

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This isn't the best plan I've ever seen. Can you tell us why you'd like to do it this way? – joeqwerty Sep 13 '10 at 16:26
For 15 users, why not just all go with hosted exchange? shakes head people do things so strangely sometimes.. – GregD Sep 13 '10 at 16:28
I would say super-slick administration is the means to achieve convenience and flexibility. Also, WHY on EARTH would you want ot have 0 Domain Controllers, and NO computers in the domain? – Nate Sep 13 '10 at 16:28
Well, the admin of one of the networks does not want PCs to be joined to a domain. It seems only sensible to have all PCs set up the same way so that implies no PCs joined to a domain. This means we don't get any benefits from having a DC on one machine and Exchange on another, we just tie up one server to allow people to log into Exchange on another server. The other servers will just be used for SQL and file serving. Ideally I would like non-existent version of Exchange that doesn't require Active Directory but as this is not possible, I am looking for a nearly there solution. – Dominic Fitzpatrick Sep 13 '10 at 16:35
The owner of the company doesn't like the fixed cost of hosted exchange. – Dominic Fitzpatrick Sep 13 '10 at 16:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As with the comments left on the main question, I recommend against what you propose. If you want to get off an AD domain, then so be it. (Again, I disagree wholeheartedly, but hey, it's your gig...)

Sign up for Hosted Exchange or Google Apps for Your Domain and live in IMAP and CalDAV

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While this doesn't actually help me, I accept that I am either going to have to change plans or just hope everything works! – Dominic Fitzpatrick Sep 13 '10 at 23:05

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