Should We Move to Exchange Server?
Hello All!I have recently taken over IT operations for a small (22 users total) CPA firm. We currently use an outside source for our email, web, and FTP hosting. We also use an Outlook plugin (Group Calendar) that allows for a full group calendar as well as individual calendars and another outside company for paperless faxing.We currently have 4 servers, the DC and two others are Server 2000 and a new server with Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005- we are in the process of implementing a document management package.I am hoping to get some feedback from folks who have been in a similar situation. I am interested in moving to an Exchange Server solution to bring all our outsourced functions in-house. Can anyone provide any insight on the difficulty of this as well as the improvement (if any) this may provide? Thanks in advance, Douglas C.
September 18th, 2006 10:13pm

Obviously the difficulty is based upon your know-how. For 22 people, my suggestion would be keeping your email hosted elsewhere. This usually provides antivirus/antispam protection as well as 24/7 uptime and backups of your data. If you plan to run your own in house Exchange, you have all the costs associated of purchasing a server with RAID drives, Windows license, Exchange license, your email antivirus and antispam programs, as well as getting backups to tape. Actually installing Exchange and creating user mailboxes seems easy to me. Its the extra overhead(listed above) is what you need to decide is it worth? What happens if your Exchange server fails, or the data becomes fubared? Can your company handle the time while you fix, or worse yet, figure out how to fix? Will you have the ability to backup and restore mailboxes quickly as to not affect the company? Keep in mind, any decision you make to move the email local, most likely you are to blame if there is any outage. Just the nature of the beast.
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September 21st, 2006 7:55pm

Thanks for the response. You brought up some great points on the "blame game" that I had somehow failed to identify. I will definately include this and the potential downtime in my proposal to the company partners. Actually, with our current expenses for the outsourced functions, the Exchange server would decrease actual expenditures in the long run. It will likely be a question of the cost of continuing in the current process with more reliability versus the potential downtime due to lack of redundancy.
September 22nd, 2006 5:09pm

Hi Douglas, Did you ever make the decision to upgrade to the exchange server? If so what are you finding in terms of success and or failure and what are the associated costs - even for the software, can you remember what it costed? Thanks if you are able to reply, Jeff
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March 16th, 2007 5:39pm

Jeff, The final decision has yet to be made. Due to the nature of our business we make no major changes during Tax Season. I am leaning toward keeping our email outsourced but will be looking into better/different options in the next month. My biggest concern with bringing email in-house via Exchange is the potential of downtime. We do not have the resources for redundant servers and such so if/when there is a major problem the downtime would be very detrimental to our business. Thanks, Doug
March 16th, 2007 7:30pm

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