We are looking to setup a test e-mail environment in the cloud using Windows Servers (Active Directory servers and Exchange Servers) and some Windows Clients (Windows 10 computers with Outlook installed). We want this all setup on a fake domain (one we don't actually own [e.g., my-test-domain.com]) where any of the Windows Clients that join the domain can send each other email via the Exchange Servers. We don't have any particular requirements for the versions of the software used but we prefer the latest versions wherever possible.
We believe this can all be done via proper use of our own DNS server but are unsure of the exact details. Our plan is to do the following:
- Spin up 2 Windows Server 2016 instances
- Set one of the servers as the AD controller and use it as the DNS server
- Set the appropriate DNS entries for the test domain (MX record?)
- Set the other server as the Exchange Server (configured against the test domain)
- Spin up 2 Windows 10 instances and join them both to the test domain and point their DNS to the AD controller
- Install Outlook on both instances
- Create two user accounts in AD
- Send email between the two accounts on the Windows 10 boxes
Our questions are:
- Are the set of steps, at a high level, correct? If not, what needs to change?
- What DNS entries need to be set?
- Which cloud provider would you recommend? We normally use AWS but it seems easier to spin up Windows 10 boxes in Azure and we are wondering if Azure would be easier since this is all Microsoft stuff.
- Anything else we should be aware of?
Thanks in advance!