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  1. Cartman's Avatar
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       #1  
    I was thinking of setting up an exchange server to offer free hosing service for Treo 700w users.

    It would only give you about 5MB of space but would allow everyone to try out AUTD and Direct Push (when it becomes available).

    You would have an email address of xxxx@wmtreo.net

    I'm going to do it for myself anyways but I still need to look into the licensing cost for me to do it for others... what does everyone think?
  2. #2  
    I think that would be a great idea for testing purposes. The 5MB will be a deal breaker for most, unless it automatically deleted old messages so the mailbox would not become 'full'.

    This way people could forward their email to this, and then they would know when messages arrived. Then if they had their regular accounts setup on the 700w in the standard pop3/imap configuration, they could reply from those so the email comes from the appropriate address.

    This setup will give you quick notification of emails, and then the ability to send/reply email from their regular pope/imap accounts...
  3. HalM's Avatar
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    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by gex
    I'm going to do it for myself anyways but I still need to look into the licensing cost for me to do it for others... what does everyone think?
    For every mailbox you setup, you need a CAL. Last I looked, they were about $60-70 per mailbox.

    HTH
  4. Cartman's Avatar
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       #4  
    Yea... thats the normal CAL cost.. there is a hosting providers option which is a monthly fee.
  5. Cartman's Avatar
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       #5  
    Well it looks like there is some really cheap solutions already available.

    There is 4smartphone.net starting at $3.99 per user/month
    and mail2web.com Personal Exchange starting at $1.99 per user/month.

    For $1.99 you get:

    Feature-rich, browser-based interface
    Personal calendar, manage contact, tasks, reminders and personal journal
    Advanced rules for filtering and sorting email
    Email Aggregator - automatically gather email from other accounts - as it arrives - into your Personal Exchange account
    Synchronize with your mobile device (ActiveSync included free)
    Advanced Anti-virus and SPAM filtering (included free)
    Support for POP3 and IMAP4
    200 MB storage, send attachments up to 60 MB
    International support for 26 different languages
    Import your existing contacts
    Pop-up appointment reminders
    Create custom signature files
    Spell check in 13 different languages
    Support for OMA (Outlook Mobile Access)
    30-day money back guarantee
    24/7 Customer Support


    I think that is a great deal but it doesn't give you access with Outlook. For that you need to go up to the $6.99 user/month plan with 4smartphone and $8.95 for mail2web.

    Cheapest I would be able to do this for (full access with outlook) is $4.00 a month. That basically covers licensing costs based on list prices. Doesn't take into account hardware acquisition and internet access fees which i can pay for myself.

    I recommend you look at one of the two options above as I don't see being able to cover the monthly licensing fee's for free

    Thinking of doing it for some corporate clients but I can prob get $10-$15 month/user from them
  6. #6  
    I have 2 POP3 email accounts that I would like to keep somewhat seperate. If I use your service, will my replies come from your domain or my POP3 domain? It's important to me that they come from their respecting domains.
    Palm 700w
    I'm a newbie to smartphones and the like, so be nice!
  7. Cartman's Avatar
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       #7  
    I believe you can select what email account the reply comes from as a drop down in Outlook Mobile (or do they call it Mobile Outlook?..used to be known as Pocket Outlook). It would default to the account that it was sent too.

    Would have to test that feature but I remember doing it in the past.
  8. Cartman's Avatar
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       #8  
    Ok... got an update on the monthly licensing cost to offer this to people. Just for mobile access using the Treo 700w with about 20MB of mailbox space I can do it for $0.99/month with payments done thru paypal as the credit card fees would push this to being a loss.

    That is for mail, contacts, notes, and tasks. For some reason MS charges more in licensing fees for calendar access so that may have to be extra.

    Most of the cost will be subsidized by corp users and I'm thinking of maybe having google adds (on Outlook Web Access) or maybe an additional $.25/month for web access to your mailbox.

    Full blown access with mobile devices, web, and Outlook 2003(including a lic/copy of Outlook if you dont have it) is hard to do below $4. I'm thinking maybe $4.99.

    Additional mailbox space would have to be extra.

    These prices are just about at cost so it would have to be user/forum supported.

    I see a lot of people having grief with the desktop version of Activesync and VZW's Wireless Sync products so I feel like offering this service as a way to help people see how nice an Exchange (server Activesync) solution can be...expecially once the update to "Direct Push" comes out.

    Any interest?
  9. HalM's Avatar
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    #9  
    Very generous of you to do this! This forum is lucky to have you.

    Have you thought about backup / restore capabilities? What uptime can users expect? Are you thinking about requiring any release of liability for lost data? I am not trying to be a jerk, but IMHO, you are taking on a lot responsibility. It just takes one ***** to make this terrific jesture go south in a hurry.
  10. Cartman's Avatar
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       #10  
    Thanks HalM,

    Backup/Restore would only be available to corporate clients...

    You can expect a 95% or better uptime. There will be scheduled down times for maintenance and updates. When it is cost effective I can have clustered back/front end servers so even during the maintenance windows you should not see any service interruptions.

    Release of liability would have to be agreed to for all users of the service

    The hosted solution for Exchange takes a minimum of FOUR servers (for up to 1000 mailboxes) to deploy...and can easily require more. The only way this will be offered is if I can have some corporate clients utilize the service to pay for most of the monthly infrastructure fees and equipment costs. Fairly confident that there are about 50 corporate mailbox clients that will sign up from the beginning.

    Nice thing is that the data center will have two independent internet connections going to it... one is over fiber easily scalable up to 55Mbps and the other one is a standard T1 (1.544Mbps) with a different provider. I have access to this at virtually no cost so I just need to cover the licensing fees to Microsoft and the cost of the servers (HP Proliant DL 360's and 380's).
  11. HalM's Avatar
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    #11  
    GEX, I sent you a Private Message.
  12. #12  
    OK... I like your effort and I'm about supporting innovation... "probably" could stir up corporate and other professional mobile users for you, too.

    From my perspective as an individual user, here are some features I see as critical I'm hopeful you can price it out - whatever that is - and provide this for all clients not just corporate:

    1) More than 20MB storage, say maybe 300 - 500MB, at least 100MB though - lots of email, lots of contacts, lots of calendar entry, file storage, and then there is archiving.
    2) Backup and recovery - daily, some sort of SLA that conditions the frequency and recovery time.
    3) Security - practice and contract clause addressing this, very important; is there a secure server and encrypted Exchange Server option? How can the provider assure someone will not go prying, crack, or use the information nefariously?
    4) Ease of admin facility, ideally web-based, and payment ease - PayPal is a good thought, I'd do that.
    5) ... uhhh... got interrupted... forgot this one

    Taking above in consideration, what kind of price point are we talking about?
    Also, how soon could you do this?


  13. Cartman's Avatar
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       #13  
    Thanks cognetic,

    There are already a few hosting solution providers out there (4smartphone.com) who offer the options and service you list but for a higher cost. My goal is to provide the same level of email service at the smallest amount of cost.

    Backups will be done daily but recovery and support can be difficult to provide for the price point to end users. Of course the corporate users will have the option but I canít see being able to do it for end users.

    Storage is difficult. The higher cost to corp. cust. is mostly because of their storage requirements and support. I will have to work out a cost for more storage.

    Setup and administration is done through a web interface and is one of the best parts of a hosted Exchange account.

    Security is addressed with certificates and SSL.

    I will let you know how it goes... it all depends on moving over a few companies I manage localy over to a hosted solution. Most are small companies with POP3 now but want to get Exchange and their options are to either buy exchange themselves and pay for the equipment, licenses, installation and maintenance (easily over $3K) or pay ~$10-$20/month per user.

    I'm also looking to see how much of an interest there is for this since I would have to take into account the storage needs to support end users. From the looks of it there doesnít seem to be much interest but I see all the issues people are having now with POP3, desktop Activesync and VZW's WirelessSync that a forum supported Exchange solution would be nice.
  14. #14  
    gex - Did you go down this path?
  15. Cartman's Avatar
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       #15  
    Working at it... I have a lot of local small businesses interested in the service. Trying to work out a data center location and see if a failover datacenter in another state is feasible at this point.

    I was thinking of doing a private beta with a few people to get feedback before it went live?

    Have some great servers (HP DL360ís and DL380ís) with super fast storage (15K stripped SCSI-RAID 1+0) but am limited to only about 60GBís at this point on the backend server (the one that stores all the mailboxes) so that will be a problem. Fist investment will have to be in a SANÖ.but for now Iím stuck at only having 60GBís available.

    Have not sat down and worked out any pricing details but am shooting for around $10/month for the local businesses for about 500MB mailboxes. They seem to be ok with that price point.

    For just Exchange Activesync access with Outlook Web Access I was thinking around 99 cents/month for 20MB mailboxes. That may not be too good since mail2web has 1GB for free (they have an ad driven revenue model that I have not looked into doing yet). Although free half the Outlook Web Access screen is taking up by their menu and adds.

    Thoughts?
  16. Cartman's Avatar
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       #16  
    oh.. and OWA on mail2web is SLOW...they must be using cheap/slow hard drives to offer all that space.

    Also you are required to use their email address...
  17. #17  
    Would you consider offering access directly via Microsoft Outlook (in addition to OWA) for non local small business users? i.e. true hosted exchange with outlook access?
  18. #18  
    BTW, using "their email address" is the what kills that for me. I will try 4smartphone as well.
  19. Cartman's Avatar
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       #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by adamt
    Would you consider offering access directly via Microsoft Outlook (in addition to OWA) for non local small business users? i.e. true hosted exchange with outlook access?
    Thats the plan...

    Want to shoot for a $4.99 plan that may not include a copy of MS Outlook 2003 but offer everything else. Like I mentioned before storage space is limited.

    I suppose I could do a server with cheap ATA or SATA drives but performance would suffer for the users on that server(like mail2web).... but it would allow me to provide more storage space. I really don't want to do that since I am shooting for the best performance possible and once a person has a bad experience with slow service its hard to win them back.
  20. Cartman's Avatar
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       #20  
    OK, have the solution built in a test lab... ..Storage space is still the limiting factor as to how many users I can support but performance wise everything is looking great!


    Just curious as to what domain name people might like for the web site?

    At first I was going to use mailhost4.com but found myself constantly typing in hostmail4.com so that got me thinking that perhaps I can shorten the name.

    I have come up with xmail4.com (and also xmailfour.com and xmailfor.com just in case).

    Shorter... but not as descriptive. So what do you all think? Anything else that may work better (and isnít already taken).



    (in case you were wondering the domain name means:

    hostmail4.com = host mail for commercial (.com)

    xmail4.com = Exchange mail for commercial

    It could also apply for network(.net) organizaion (.org), etc...)
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