eWeek: Exchange Equals Profits

This week eWeek ran a story about Microsoft Exchange and it seems the story is intended to illustrate how much of a burden Exchange is to its users and why this is a big market for ISV’s. These ISV’s intend to make the life of Exchange users easier …

… One of the best and tried-and-true strategies for any solution provider is to find out where the customer has the most amount of pain and then offer a solution that promises relief.

Within the land of IT, nothing is a bigger pain to own, manage and run than Microsoft Exchange. Everywhere you go customers have horror stories about the installation, maintenance and, above all, uptime of their Microsoft Exchange implementations. And worse yet, they will all tell you they are paying top dollar for the privilege because the expertise needed to successfully run a Microsoft Exchange server is some of the most expensive in the IT labor pool. …

What I don’t like about stories like this, is the fact that the accusations are unsubstantiated. What’s the cause of these ‘horror’ scenarios ? Is the product / solution really to blame or is it caused by a wrong implementation / lack of knowledge / poor maintenance ?

Furthermore, if I were an ISV, which product would I target / build tools for ? Would I build software to complement an email platform with limited marketshare or would I target a market leader ?

… Often, the IT department resists handing over control of Exchange, in which case you might want to look at OpManager from ManageEngine. The tool makes it possible to remotely monitor a locally installed Microsoft Exchange server. The tool allows the IT department to save face by appearing to only supplement its expertise with third-party help. …

?? I really don’t understand this scenario. The IT department not willing to hand over control of theír Exchange environment ? Duh … A tool that allows the IT department to ‘save face’ ? Is Exchange really the problem here or is there a ‘little’ powerstruggle going on here ?

… E-mail is considered the most mission-critical, a simple fact that is only going to become more evident once more organizations begin using Exchange as the underpinning of a unified communications architecture that is going to tie voice and video to the Exchange server. And if you think people get upset when they can’t access their e-mail, imagine what will happen when they can’t make a call because the Exchange server is down. …

Mr. Vizard is not very well informed about the role of Microsoft Exchange in relation to Unified Communications. Voice and Video ? wait a minute, isn’t that the role of Office Communications Server ?

  • Office Communications Server 2007
    “… Office Communications Server 2007 manages all real-time (synchronous) communications including: instant messaging, VoIP, audio and video conferencing. It works with existing tele-communications systems, so business can deploy advanced VoIP and conferencing without tearing out their legacy phone networks.
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 also powers presence, a key benefit of Microsoft unified communications that unites all the contact information stored in Active Directory with the ways people communicate. …”

Just to be clear on what Microsoft Exchange is:

  • Exchange 2007
    “… Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 manages all asynchronous communications and delivers unified messaging (e-mail, voice mail, faxes, and calendaring) to users’ Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 inboxs.

    The 2007 release includes a new voice attendant so that users can dial in to access everything in their inboxs. Users can hear and act on their calendars, listen to e-mail messages and voice mail messages, manage their personal contacts, or call anyone listed in the company directory.

    Exchange Server 2007 also includes Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, a powerful Web mail client that helps users stay connected when they are on the road. Users can also access a rich Outlook experience on their Windows Mobile-powered devices. …”

… What all this means is that the complexity surrounding Microsoft Exchange, no matter what Microsoft says, is not likely to be reduced any time soon. As a result, solution providers that make the investment necessary to master the intricacy of Microsoft Exchange are going to benefit from that investment for years to come. …

Complexity ? of what ? What’s the context of the solution we are talking about ? Do we want to ‘control’ the remote sites because we don’t trust the IT department ? Or is the environment complex because we have an Exchange environment supporting 150.000 users in 60 countries ?

This story is inaccurate in some area’s and hits on Microsoft Exchange for the wrong reasons. Funny thing is that the competition is on these type of stories immediately to justify their Exchange bashing …

.. Wow, that surely blows away some supposed truisms in the Microsoft world — I hear all the time how plentiful and inexpensive Exchange talent is compared to Notes/Domino. …

The competition should know better. They hired Ferris Research to create a TCO comparison between their platform and Microsoft Exchange. This shows a different starting point for laborcost. So which one is right then ?

The Ferris report, comparing the TCO of Lotus Notes Domino 7 vs Microsoft Exchange 2003 states the following on support resources :

1,000-mailbox ND7 system typically requires 3 FTEs of support.
A low-support system would have just 1 FTE, and a high-support
system would have as many as 6 FTEs.

A 10,000-mailbox ND7 system typically requires 5 FTEs of
support. A low-support system would have 2 FTEs, and a highsupport system would have as many as 15 FTEs.

A 1,000-mailbox E2003 system typically requires 2 FTEs of
support. A low-support system would have 1 FTE, and a highsupport
system would have as many as 4 FTEs.

A 10,000-mailbox E2003 system typically requires 3 FTEs of
support. A low-support system would have 2 FTEs, and a highsupport system would have as many as 8 FTEs.

So the only way the Exchange support costs can be higher is when Exchange admins earn about twice the salary of a ND admin … I guess that’s not the case, at least not in the world I live in …

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gedreven door de eindeloze mogelijkheden die technologische vooruitgang biedt. Met een scherp oog voor het herkennen van oplossingen waar anderen slechts problemen zien, is hij een expert in digitale transformaties. Peter zet zich met volle overgave in om individuen, teams en organisaties te begeleiden bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van innovatieve oplossingen.

Artikelen: 3817