Hamachi:Microsoft Exchange Server connection

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Before You Start

This HowTo will show you how to connect your remote users to your company's Exchange server. This howto is written with a few considerations to keep in mind.

  1. This is more of a small business solution. The setup implies you're running an all-in-one server, such as MS SBS 2003. You'll need Active Directory, DNS, and Exchange on the same machine to follow this verbatim.
  2. Exchange is a talkative application. Ensure your business' internet connection can handle the increase upload capacity. I.E., running 1.5 MB DSL with a 384 Kbit upload cap will not cut it. Stick with OWA in this case, or upgrade your connection.

Preliminary

First thing's first, install Hamachi on your server, and on any client machine needing to connect to it for email. Ensure that everything has green indicators on their Hamachi lists. Also, I STRONGLY recommend running Hamachi as a service on at least the server. This will ensure you don't have to leave it logged in, or in a locked state. Once this part is all set, you can, test the connections.

Make sure you can ping the computers both ways; server to client and client to server. Status indicators in Hamachi should be green on all peers before continuing.

Server Setup

You need to create a reverse lookup zone for the Hamachi 5.x.x.x network. To do this, start the Reverse Lookup Zone wizard in DNS. The network is 5. , notice I didn't put anything after 5. , this is important. Since this is a class A subnet, you need to be able to resolve any possible Hamachi address.

All of the other lookup zone settings can be left as the default. Once this is done, create a PTR record that resolves a pseudo server name to the server's Hamachi IP. DO NOT point the server's real name to the Hamachi IP. This WILL cause issues if you have local Exchange, AD, DNS users on the network.

Now, go into your Forward Lookup Zone and create a host (A) record for the same pseudo server name and Hamachi IP. This should complete the server setup. Use NSLOOKUP to ensure the DNS can resolve the Hamachi IP's to their pseudo hostnames.

Client Set Up

You need to ensure that your computers can resolve the server hostname over the Hamachi connection. To do this, open TCP/IP properties of the Hamachi adapter, and point the default DNS server to the server's Hamachi IP address. You'll also want to make sure you put a manual host entry into your HOSTS file for the pseudo server name/Hamachi IP that does the same, just in case DNS has issues.

Email Application Setup

You should now be ready to launch your email application on the client and point it to the Exchange server. For Outlook, launch it, go to Tools > Email Accounts > Add New > Exchange. Put in the pseudo server name for the exchange server in DNS. It should resolve and allow you to proceed. Everything after this is business as usual.

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