I’ve been using hosted Exchange (via Rackspace) and Microsoft Outlook on and off for several weeks now. I have not integrated Exchange/Outlook into my workflow yet, but I’ve used the services enough to make a comparison with Gmail. I’m not going to write about every single feature of Exchange/Outlook and Gmail. That would be insane. Instead, I will focus primarily on the features that I noticed were significantly different between the two email products.
I’ve been selected by the Microsoft Communications Services (MSCS) team to test some of their services. Their services include hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Office Communications Services. The first service I played with is hosted Exchange with ActiveSync. I signed up for a trial account with Rackspace. Their online sign-up process was relatively simple. However, if you sign up with a free mail account (like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail), then you’ll have to verify your account information by phone.
The next step was to setup the email accounts on the Exchange server. The first step of this process was easy. All you have to do is log into the Rackspace control panel and click on the Add / Edit a Mailbox link. Then click on the Add Mailbox button and fill in the appropriate information (like first and last name, display name, user name, password). After you have added all your company’s user mailboxes, you will need to update the DNS settings of your domain to point the MX records at Rackspace.