An Accepted Domain scenario – a large School District

As you may know, and might even have tried out, Exchange Labs supports Accepted Domains.  There is an article on Technet that describes this feature in some more detail here, and I previously blogged on this, including giving a setup demo here.  Just as a reminder, and as Technet states, "an accepted domain is any Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) namespace for which an Exchange Labs organization sends or receives e-mail. After you configure an accepted domain for an existing Exchange Labs organization, you can create users in that domain. All e-mail that is sent by users in that accepted domain comes from the accepted domain, and e-mail that is addressed to users in the accepted domain goes to your existing Exchange Labs organization."

So I am currently working with a customer where quite an extensive accepted domain solution may be the way to go.  They are a large school district, and the requirements are working out so far to be:

  1. The desire for a single point of administration for all of the school SMTP namespaces as opposed to separate admin accounts for each school.
  2. The desire to have a single identity that can be associated with a student as they proceed through the different schools in the district as opposed to having to create new identities (LiveIDs) as schools change.
  3. A minimum amount of administration required upon transfer to new schools as opposed to students or the district having to ‘migrate’ mailboxes, SkyDrive contents, Live contacts, etc.
  4. The ability to give the students email addresses that are associated with the schools they attend.

Now, I can’t say for sure if the use of Accepted Domains *is* the way to go for this customer just yet, more work needs to be done, but I am fairly confident it is for the following reasons:

On #1: by using Accepted Domains, all of the domains enrolled can be managed by the admin account[s] created in the primary domain.

On #2: student identities will be in the primary domain, e.g. jackjones@unifiedsd.edu, so this does not have to change when students change schools.

On #3: based on #2, contents of mailboxes, SkyDrive, etc will be retained…nothing has to change.

On #4: secondary SMTP addresses (aliases) can be given to the students that are associated with the school they are in, an example may be jackjones@school.unifiedsd.edu, and this alias can be changed as students change schools.  This can be automated.

Of course there are considerations…

  • students may have 2 identities – their email address, and their LiveID
  • currently on Exchange Labs, the Primary SMTP address must be the same as the Windows LiveID, so the school SMTP address is not authoritative
  • the GAL will contain all students from all schools
  • etc

These considerations will need to be addressed through careful application of some of the other administrative features in Exchange such as transport layer rules that restricts mailflow between different groups of users in different schools for one…

I will revisit this scenario soon as new features get added to Exchange Labs, and this project progresses.

Jonny

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