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Fully Integrated, Redundant Email Configuration

Finding the perfect set of applications & services to suit my email needs has proved to be an impossible task. I’ve managed to solve it, for the most part, but it’s a bit much IMO.

Where I write Email, Tasks, Notes, send Meeting Invites, add Contacts:

  • Outlook on Windows (recently Outlook 2010 for mac)
  • Mail on Mac
  • Mail on iPhone
  • Mail on iPad
  • OWA / Web based email client

Where I Read all of the above:

  • Outlook on Windows
  • Mail on Mac (recently Outlook 2010 for mac)
  • Mail on iPhone
  • Mail on iPad
  • OWA / Web based email client

Other features that I need to have:

  • Calendar / Meeting Requests – Ability to accept those requests.
  • Tasks
  • Notes

Tools that will be used:

  • Google Apps
  • Hosted Exchange (3rd party or your own server)
  • IMexchange 2 (iPad/iPhone app)
  • Computer with Outlook, Mail, or Thunderbird.. Mac or PC doesn’t matter.
  • Access to your domain host records via your registrar (GoDaddy or whatever you used.

Things you need to do before you get this setup working:

  1. You’ll want to reference this post if you haven’t yet setup Google Apps for your domain. This needs to be done before you continue.
  2. Get your Exchange service ready. If you need to purchase Hosted Exchange Sherweb does a good job.

I’ll post a video to show how this all works. It seems a bit confusing but it’s actually dead simple sonce it’s up and running. Not to mention that with this setup an automatic archive/backup of all your email is automatically created. And, when you switch devices, within 2 minutes you can have all of your contacts, calendars and emails on your new device without having to sync iTunes.

Also, this setup allows full access to Exchange features on your iPhone, iPad or iPod, including the ability to send meeting invitations and accept requests to attend. They are placed in your calendar and all information appears correctly.

Why did I go through all this trouble? GMail doesn’t play nice with iOS. Not all features work correctly, such as meeting requests/invitations. Also, I don’t like the way GMail handles contacts.

Microsoft Exchange is tried, tested and true. However, like all Microsoft products, it’s bloated and needs to be maintained constantly. I tried running my own Exchange server in early 2010, it was a dirty job full of attacks and blacklists. I’d rather pay $10 for Hosted Exchange and know that someone else is making sure that it works.

Another drawyback to Exchange is the mailbox size. Unless you’re running Exchange 2010, anything over 1GB gets sketchy.

Hence, the marriage of Google Apps & Hosted Exchange. The best of both worlds and indirectly you also get a redundant mail setup that you can access from almost anywhere.

The Setup

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