This first section will deal with the basic requirements.
Benefits of running exchange server:
1: you are in control of your email and are fully responsible for all assets and issues.
2: if you enjoy active directory this is kind of fun.
3: The active sync to mobile devices works well and is fully under your control
Disadvantages of running exchange server.
1: Expense. you need server licenses or technet subscription, you need solid dns service and redundancy.
2: When something happens its up to YOU and nobody else to fix it.
1: Equipment and Software.
The first item is you need to have an active directory domain environment and an actual domain controller in place. You NEED to decide if you are willing to run a domain, if not then this tutorial is not for you.
There are a few ways to do this but by far the easiest is to use Windows Small Business Server. I say this because it sets up the domain controller and exchange server environment in one fell swoop, where using normal server 2008r2 really requires a separate machine for domain controller and exchange server. using SBS allows one machine to do this.
In my setup, with approx 25 email users, I am using a 64 bit machine (required) with 8gb ram with data files on software controlled raid 1 (mirror) setup. I will be upgrading this to 16gb and raid 5 soon but for now the machine suffices. SBS also includes sharepoint foundation 2010.
SO to sum this up you need a machine that will handle this dual role setup AND you need license for SBS2011, I use technet subscription.
Next you need to make sure your network infrastructure will support it. I have only one broadband option here, dsl with max speed of 5/1 and it suffices but faster UP speeds are better here. I use a netgear Prosafe FVS336G router , you MUST have a router that is business class and the Prosafe line has lifetime no question warranty.
This may seem like overkill.....until your router dies and you have no mail access.
3: DNS and redundancy.
Finally you must setup a reliable dns service, even if you have a static ip its safer to use something such as dyndns Custom DNS service. Along with this I use their DNS Email Gateway and their smtp send service. this provides a mail queue if my dsl is down, instead of giving sender a bouceback with unavailable msg the mail is queued until my server is back online. their smtp service gives you the smtp smart host you will need later in order to safely send mail w/o your isp blocking you and this avoids blacklist issues.
Summary of this section.
As you can see there are a few important questions you need to ask before starting this.
AM I willing to use a windows domain?
DO I have reliable and hardware to support the system?
AM I willing to setup the dns services to protect, harden, and make the system reliable and fail safe?
*** If the answer to any of these is no then this is not for you, but there may be alternatives I will suggest later.
Next I will describe the installation and setup, including SSL, of SBS2011.