Exchange 2010 for Everyone

In a recent survey conducted by the Gartner Group, 87% of organizations are currently using Exchange 2003 or earlier. Based on this finding, it is apparent that there has been a reluctance to deploy Exchange 2007, which in some realms is often considered to be the Vista of the server platform (though personal mileage may vary). But lately, an upgrade to a modern version of Exchange 2010 is now becoming crucial. This has been aided by the fact that standard support from Microsoft for Exchange 2003 ended in 2009, and technology has progressed significantly since then.
It seems that some companies that are considering alternatives to upgrading or window shopping with Exchange 2010. For this group, it can be assured that Exchange 2010 offers significant improvements in business continuity, business resilience, and embraced adaptation of virtualization. However, this is only the beginning. Here are the reasons a company should seriously consider a migration to Exchange 2010:


Continuous replication
Gartner research shows that companies lose approximately $10,000 an hour due to email downtime. Exchange 2010 enables continuous replication of data, which can significantly minimize service interruptions and essentially save a company from such a loss. In addition, Microsoft estimates that the costs of deploying Exchange 2010 can be recovered within six months. This is due in part to the improvements in business continuity.


Virtualization
Exchange 2010 supports virtualization, allowing for significant consolidation. Server virtualization is not only just a cost reducer. Virtualization will also help in rapidly reducing expenditure related to maintenance, power, cooling, and server footprint space. It also improves business continuity. In a virtualized world, when a virtual machine is down, computers can run on another virtual machine with little or no downtime.
Cost savings on storage
According to Microsoft, Exchange 2010 has approximately 70% less disk I/O (input/output) than Exchange 2007. For this reason, Microsoft recommends moving away from SAN storage solutions and adopting less expensive direct attached storage. This translates to real and significant cost savings.


Larger mailboxes
With the ability to use larger SATA or SAS disks with Exchange 2010 environment for the underlying mailbox database architecture, larger mailbox sizes will become the norm. However, the relative cost to support such mailboxes does not significantly affect the overall cost of service.
Voicemail transcription
Unified Messaging, which was first introduced with Exchange 2007, promoted the idea of a “universal inbox”. This is a place where email and voice mail are available in a single location and consequently accessed from Outlook 2007 (or later), OWA, Outlook Voice Access (access from any phone), and/or Windows Mobile 6.5 (or later devices).
A new feature to Exchange 2010, Voicemail Preview, sees text-transcripts of voicemails being received, saving the time it takes to listen to the message. Upon reception of a voice message, the receiver can glance at the preview and decide whether it is an urgent matter. This improvement along with others such as managing voice and email from a single directory (using AD), offer companies the opportunity to discard third-party voicemail solutions in favor of Exchange 2010.


Help desk cost reduction
Exchange 2010 has potential to reduce help desk costs by enabling users to perform common tasks that would normally require a help desk call. Role-based Access control (RBAC) allows delegation based on job function. When this is coupled with the Web-based Exchange Control Panel (ECP), it enables users to assume responsibility for distribution lists, update personal information held in AD, and track messages. This helps reduces the call volumes placed on the help desk, with obvious financial benefits.


Higher System Availability
Exchange 2010 builds upon the continuous replication (CCR) technologies first introduced in Exchange 2007. The technology is far simpler to deploy than Exchange 2007, as the complexities of a cluster install are taken away from the administrator. It incorporates easily with existing mailbox servers and offers protection at the database level with Database Availability Groups rather than the server level. By supporting automatic failover, this feature allows for faster recovery times than in previous versions of Exchange. This is definite leaps and bounds over the days of ancient Exchange 5.5 disaster recovery practices.


Native archiving
A large gap in previous Exchange offerings was the need for a native managed archive solution. This in turn saw the proliferation of unmanaged PSTs, creative use of Public Folders, or the expense of deploying third-party solutions. All of these solutions, while technically viable, increased the overall messaging cost significantly. With Exchange 2010, and in particular the upcoming arrival of SP1 this year, a basic archiving suite is now available out-of-the-box.


Running on-premise or in the cloud
Cloud computing is big, really BIG, and certainly has its own set of cost saving and advantages for small to large companies. Exchange 2010 offers companies the option to run Exchange on-premise or in the cloud. This means that some mailboxes can reside in the cloud and some on locally held Exchange resources. This offers companies very competitive rates for mailbox provision from cloud providers for key mailboxes, in addition to the ability to decide how much control to relinquish by still hosting most mailboxes on local servers.


Easier calendar sharing
With Federation for Exchange 2010, employees can share calendars and distribution lists with external recipients easier that ever before. Exchange 2010 allows them to schedule meetings with partners and customers as if they belonged to the same organization. This might not appeal to every company, but those investing in collaboration technologies will see the true value Exchange 2010 offers.