Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save Money

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Microsoft today announced the public beta of Exchange 2010. This product is a natural extension and improvement over Exchange 2007 (and anybody on Exchange 2003 should really be looking at it), but it also introduces at least one important new capability: email archiving.

But I'll let my colleagues explain that in more detail. I want to focus today on one aspect of Exchange 2010 that should matter to information and knowledge management professionals at large firms: saving money by moving occasional users to the cloud.

Microsoft's Software + Service strategy has rapidly matured and is native to Exchange 2010. This architecture of a single environment that spans on-premise and cloud-based gives large firms an opportunity to leave some mailboxes on-premise and host others in the cloud to save money without incurring admin hassles.

Exchange 2010 is the first product that Microsoft has engineered to run as well in the cloud as on-premise. That means it will be easier to split your domain and run a single managed environment (meaning one admin console, one archiving management tool set, one legal hold implementation, one message filtering solution) across an on-premise and cloud-based implementation.

And that means a Fortune-class company can keep its high-volume mailboxes on-premise while taking advantages of the higher degree of automation, direct-attached storage, and new functionality of Exchange 2010. But it can also move occasional users that can get by with a small mailbox and Web email client (which they are probably using at home anyway) to a cloud provider (Microsoft itself, or a provider like USA.NET, AT&T, or LiveOffice.com).

With Exchange 2010, you can provision those occasional users for $2/user/month. (Well, you can do that with Exchange 2007 as well, but it might be easier to do the wholesale transition to a hybrid environment with an overall server and tool refresh.)

Based on our fully loaded costs of email historically, that can save you $100/user/year. And that ain't chump change.

(You can of course move all your mailboxes to the cloud as companies as large as GSK with 100,000 users have done. But you don't need to take that leap in order to get the benefits of cloud economics.)

Thoughts, questions, concerns, disagreement, experience? Please comment.

Comments

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

Ted,Indeed Exchange Online, one of the ways for organisations to 'deploy' / use Microsoft's email platform. Exchange 2010 will far more enhance the experience ...An organisation can ofcourse migrate some or all of their Information Workers' email to the Online environment and also choose to provide some of the with a 'light' version of email which Microsoft calls the Deskless Worker.Besides that an equally important opportunity is the fact that around 40% of employees worldwide have not company email(box). This is largely because the costs for 'normal' email licenses and HW/SW/Maintenance are to high for occasional users ...So imagine to be able to provide ALL employees with the same email system (and SharePoint Online) for a low price per month. The busines case is rock solid on just the savings you make on sending internal hardcopies of documents and poststamps ...

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

Microsoft is trying to hold its business and customers on its current model and delay a change that is waiting to happen -and with the help of current economy crisis- soon.Microsoft overcharges its customers dividing products that should be one. E-mail, documents, and tasks management -Exchange, sharepoint, project- should by now be one. Even Office and crm offerings should be integrated. Microsoft intends to charge 10$/month/user for each of those services, plus a lot of 'integration costs' from partners.Companies like Salesforce (+ Google Apps), FengOffice and Zimbra already offer these services integrated, and at much lower costs per user.2009 will see Microsoft losing a lot of sales to this new and faster players, specially so at non Fortune-class corporations. 2010 news might be too late for Microsoft to hold its monopolies.

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

Larry, you ask a good question: Should these workforce tools be integrated? There is a good argument to make around the value of consistency of the interaction model, the easy flow between synchronous and asynchronous communication, easy document movement between communication and collaboration, a consistent use of presence, integration through widgets to corporate data or other assets, etc.These would all be delivered through a well-integrated solution. I'm not sure any provider has a really well thought out solution yet, though. It feels to me that the integration is largely imposed rather than built in.Perhaps its time for a complete rethink of the collaboration & messaging stack that embraces a holistic view of documents, contacts, documents, assets, modality, and devices.Who's your favorite out there today?

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

I do not entirely agree.The user*experience* should be integrated based on the user's requirements / desired device etc.Creating a one fits all solutions is not the way to go. Functionalty / information requirements are very user / role dependend and devlopements such as webservices / mashups are becoming more and more the way to go when it comes to combining different information soures into new "applications".I am biased but do think adressing the need of deskless workers with a reduced feature set rather than an all up integrated tools for a low price is a pretty good innovation ...

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

Peter, I think we're talking about different things.I couldn't agree more that IT professionals should provision but not overprovision information workers with the tools they need. Historically, because of the licensing policies of companies like Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft, it has been difficult to give lower-need employees a lower-capability product.Microsoft has clearly changed that equation with the deskless worker sku. As a Microsoft employee, I'm sure you are having those conversations frequently. I believe that's a good thing as my original post says.I was referring to something different: the benefits of an integrated toolset. If IM, email, access to team sites, productivity tools, and presence were integrated (as is indeed Microsoft's strategy), then we might see some productivity benefits.My point is that perhaps that toolset should be designed as a single package from the ground up rather than as an integration of existing and enhanced products as every vendor has done so far.I am waiting to see if a new provider that starts with a clean slate will emerge with a collaboration and messaging toolset that has been designed from the ground up as a single experience.

re: Exchange 2010: Tier Your Workforce, Split Your Domain, Save

Ted,Sorry for missing that point. Do agree that it would be interesting to see different approaches indeed.