Email Server: Cloud or Pillow?


Your Email Server: it’s crucial to your success.

Email is critical to businesses, it is as crucial as gas is for your car. In years past organizations hardly realized how crucial email is until they heard that dreadful phrase “The email server is down”. In those days your mail server usually lived in a glorified closet in your office, running Microsoft Exchange, or Sendmail. Nowadays there are other options such as Office 365, which is Exchange in the Cloud, or Business Gmail. There are so many options, and deciding which to use can get complicated. Before we get all worked up let’s remember one thing, email is essential for businesses to run………so what do you do?
The cloud scares a lot of business owners since they have to take all their internal communications for their company and have another company control and have access to their information. However, we are at the point where Email is a vital commodity. Does it matter to you where you buy your gas from, or is that a decision based on price and convenience?

I am currently working on two Email Server projects; one is for a company with about 75 users and the other 400 users. Both of these companies require a mail server with redundancy and both CEOs have told me that their email is critical and they cannot afford any downtime. They also informed me that they are currently using Exchange but are interested in newer versions.

As a consultant, I can either buy them servers and migrate their mailboxes, or I can buy them a cloud service Exchange account and move mailboxes to the cloud. The tricky part is what is more cost-effective for my client, yet still provides all the functionality they want, and even more important, won’t go down.

This led me to seriously look at Microsoft Office 365 for larger organizations. I have used it before for 20-30 companies, it makes sense and is a lot cheaper than running their servers. I thought once you get to 100 users or so, in-house would be more cost-effective, so with my two current projects I ran the numbers.

Understand, that in-house exchange means buying servers, storage, software, and licenses per user. With Hosted Exchange this means buying an account at a set price per month, on average is $8-10 dollars per mailbox. Now my belief is any technology investment should be looked at as a 5-year purchase, meaning if you buy a server or storage infrastructure its life cycle is roughly 4-5 years before you essentially have to do it again.

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