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Gérald Danais www.danais.ca

As many of us are aware, hosted exchange providers are popping up everywhere...and with good reason as there are tremendous benefits to this model.

There are two models of hosted exchange. The first one has been in existence for a long time and is also referred to as managed exchange server. Essentially this is a dedicated Exchange server or server farm that serves only one organization. Many large entities have been using this model for ages through providers like Ceryx (winner of Microsoft’s 2008 Impact Awards as the Hosting Solutions Partner).

The second model of Hosted Exchange services is a multi-tenant facility for Hosted Services. It would be like a mall instead of a single occupancy building, all occupants are separate entities that share one large facility. This allows providers to pool and consolidate resources and use them to reduce the delivery costs of Exchange Server. Consolidate resources like hardware, infrastructure, staffing, configurations, etc. Microsoft's introduction of Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) allows providers and clients to rent licenses on a monthly rental plan instead of outright purchasing all licensing.

The latter option is now also being offered directly by Microsoft; however SPLA Licensing is making it easier for providers to offer Hosted Exchange to their client base through their own implementations. This will help Microsoft maintain its market share against alternates like Google Apps.

The allure of Google Apps is gaining amongst many as a trendy alternative for business email; however there still exists a very large gap in functionality and more importantly the feature rich client capabilities of Outlook combined with MAPI. Google Apps might suit the techies well, however the business crowd might push back when they are forced to use Outlook (or something else) with the archaic IMAP protocol (which I thought was dead a long time ago), or a web interface. As they continue to find that they have lost functionality they might question the reasoning and commitment to providing proper tools.

One main reason for the adoption of Google Apps and Hosted Exchange is the ability to outsource business email while reducing email costs and gain stability. A traditional In house Exchange implementation requires a knowledgeable IT person, a maintenance cycle, upgrades, third party applications for antivirus, spam and backups, not to mention an expensive infrastructure. For this alone the multi-tenant hosted exchange providers can usually outperform and build at a higher tier of fault tolerance than most in house implementations while enjoying the benefits of specialized IT staffing to maintain a full proof Exchange infrastructure.

Not all Hosted Exchange providers are the same. There are a variety of providers out there, the features offered by each can vary slightly; however the most importance differentiator is quality and reliability.

When I set out to find a provider to partner with to complement my brand, I tested a few. My first experience was one that economically priced, however brought on some stability issues. After using this provider for one year for myself I decided that the experience is not one that I would want to offer my clients. With the first experience in mind I set out to find a provider that had more stability. I found a more experienced provider that boasted a Tier 4 datacenter, Microsoft Gold Certified staff, and geographical redundancy for their front end server and private links between data centers for fault tolerance. With these low tolerances for failure I set out to use this provider for one year and am very pleased to say that I have not experienced any downtime or failure of any kind. I am fairly confident that most Hosted Exchange providers do not have an infrastructure that could match or even come close to this one. This provider is Ceryx.

My brand of Hosted Exchange server is called ZoomOffice.com, I have partnered with Ceryx to provide the best Hosted Exchange solution. ZoomOffice.com allows you to capitalize on the benefits of Hosted Exchange without compromising on quality and performance. ZoomOffice.com is available globally. If you want to try it ask me for a 30 day free trial, email me at info@zoomoffice.com or +1-204-272-8938

Below is a chart that details our plans:

Exchange 2007

Full Exchange

Exchange Lite

Ultra Lite

Storage

2GB/1GB/500MB

250 MB

100 MB

More Storage and Pooling Available

BlackBerry Server Available

   

ActiveSync Available

 

Access

     

MAPI (RPC over HTTPS)

   

IMAP

 

POP3

OWA

Outlook or Entourage included

   

Global Address List

 

Collaborative Calendar

 

Email Firewall

     

7 Factor Antivirus

99.9 % Antispam

Flexible Spam Management options

End User Support

SLA

99.9%

99.9%

99.9%

Backups and Offsite Storage

Maintenance and monitoring 24x7

Free Upgrades

Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 4:45 PM | Back to top


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