Exchange 2010 released worldwide on November 9th. The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog has the announcement.

There”s a lot of blogging out there about Exchange”s capabilities (the Exchange Team Blog announcement, especially). We beta-tested it, so I could give my opinion too (a positive one) if I wanted. But there”s plenty of good writing about that already.

What I will write about stems from this article at the ZDNet “Microsoft Report” blog:
“Why I”m Letting Someone Else Run My Exchange 2010 Server”

The author, Ed Bott (who”s great to read if you like keeping up on MS software), lays out a series of reasons why going the hosted option makes sense for Exchange 2010. It”s the sort of conversation you might overhear at the coffeemaker between a VP and his IT manager.

I wanted to weigh in on this because Exchange 2010 helps out OCS 2007 (and the new 2010 when it”s released). Because our hosted 2010 services are getting a lot of attention already. And because I think Ed”s points deserve restating for the OCS crowd.

“Big Reasons” Why Companies Opt for Hosted Exchange (and how it helps OCS)

No need to manage it yourself
Ed said it himself. “The biggest objection to a complex but powerful server product like Exchange is the hassle of managing it locally.” By far this is the biggest reason people use our Hosted Exchange. It”s also a big reason people like Hosted OCS too.

No migration scrambling
How much time could a small business lose if they did the Exchange 2010 migration themselves? Figure at least a couple days” worth. As in the total day. And then you”re dealing with management (see above).

Security handled for you
“Is it safe to outsource our email?” = Most common worry we see. Sure it is. No more dangerous than running email in-house.
Probably even safer than that, since hosted providers have to maintain stringent security for ALL their servers. We refer to our security setup as “The Labyrinth” sometimes. Hackers get lost before they get anywhere.

Affordable by Small Business
Buying one Exchange Server 2010 Standard license costs $699. As opposed to hosted plans, where both Exchange and OCS become more economical. Then you”re looking at a monthly rate that usually starts around $20. The only factor is how many user accounts you need.

Sync with non-Microsoft equipment
A hosted environment has to incorporate different hardware & software. Which makes it easier for them to include the option of connecting other software to your Exchange account.
Ed mentions connecting a hosted Exchange 2007 account to his Snow Leopard mail client and an iPhone. We connected two office iPhones to our Exchange 2010 server, so we know this particular value has carried over. (They don”t like working with OCS though – we mentioned it in a newsletter article comparing smartphones recently.)

The comments on Ed”s article went back and forth over Exchange. Debating its stability, concerned about security on outsourced servers…many of the issues I mentioned above, in fact. If they had questions, our readers would too. If you”re looking to migrate to Exchange 2010 in the future, read Ed”s article (and the comments) and consider the hosted option.

Ed Bott”s Microsoft Report Blog:

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Why it''s a Good Idea to Let Someone Else Run Your Exchange 2010 (or OCS) Server

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