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Use Mountain Lion server (Mail) as a Microsoft Exchange alternative?

502 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 16, 2012 2:28 AM by COWegner RSS
John (Digital Brain) Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 9, 2012 10:29 AM

Dear community,



I googled for this question (see topic) and I found some threads (also on the Apple Support Communities) of people asking the same question, rather they mention Lion server and not Mountain Lion server. When I look at some reactions to those questions I see replies saying that you should only use the Mail server in small scenarios (30 - 50 people) and some say it would be wiser to stick with Microsoft Exchange.


I am wondering if you guys think about this the same way. I work for a school with roughly 1500 users and 400 employees. So that's approximately 2k useraccounts / mailaccounts. I'm sure I want to get rid of MS Exchange for various reasons, should I give the Mail server a try or should I search for alternatives?


Kind regards, John

OS X Mountain Lion, OS X Server
  • Mark23 Level 3 Level 3 (975 points)

    Postfix (open source) will happily send over a million messages a day and for extra redundancy you can use the XSAN Feature in OS X Server if you have a fiber optic switch with a NAS attached to it.

  • COWegner Calculating status...



    you really can't compare Apple(s) with ... well Microsoft(s).


    It is not up to the number of users, as Mark23 already said, because postfix will be capable of handling more mails than your users will produce any day. Rather it is up to what you expect to get. Exchange can deliver you more services, workflow integration and user experience than postfix/dovecot/calendar/address book (of cause you have to pay a price!). But what do you need?


    Just mail? Shared calendars or address books?


    Maybe you are looking that way just to get mail. Do you need kerberized services? Are your users mainly using Mail app? Do you want the simple configuation interface that comes with OS X server instead of standard files? Then go with OS X Server. Otherwise you might consider a linux box with postfix and dovecot.


    But it's all up to your requirements.

  • bispymusic Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    Mail Server can certainly handle this. It handles Apple's internal mail system for over 60,000 employees and contractors.


    For this many users, I recommend using a combination of Mac mini Servers and Mac Pros setup as an Xsan Mail Cluster, to provide you failover redundancy if/when one of the individual servers fails or goes down.


    But I am a big advocate of Apple Mail. It works well when configured properly in a setup like this and there are no CALs to rack up the costs. IMAP mail will also work on practically every device there is.

  • COWegner Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, the CAL system of MS is worth a second, a third, ... thought!


    One more thing: IMHO configuration of postfix is more straight (easier) than Exchange and tracing problems is by far better and transparent with postfix. This will save you expensive learning courses.


    But as you said, you've already left Exchange behind...


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