Long ago, when Email was the favourite child of the internet, Microsoft Exchange gave us many features for email that had not been seen previously.
- Calendars, tasks and contacts that synced with outlook
- Mailbox stored off the device (POP)
- Mail system controlled from one place
- Integration with Active Directory
- Complete integration with custom domains
Running on Exchange server, a business would normally need some dedicated hardware, and in may cases, multiple servers.
This was considered for a long time to be the best way to host company email, as there were many features, including mailbox syncing, calendars, contacts, notes, public folders, and resources. But there were also several issues with it:
- When using a single server or SBS, the Exchange was a single point of failure, and between updates, server crashes and other maintenance, it usually was!
- Many times, because of the cost of an exchange server, maintenance and backup was overlooked, and in many cases, disaster resulted in complete data loss.
- Mailboxes sat on one Mailbox database and mailbox maintenance was often overlook / impossible. Due to known issues with how servers stored stuff and file systems, mailboxes would often have tiny bits of corruption. This meant that between server moves, there would be a small amount of data loss (<1%).
- It was difficult to provision external access and often would rely on additional technology to make it work.
In many ways, these are invisible issues because the end users don’t see them but believe me, they were very real issues.
So here is where Exchange Online came in.
In 2012, Microsoft decided that in the small business market at least, there were too many of these problems still floating around, and announced the retirement of the small business server, which included Exchange as part of the single server.
This might have been one of the best decisions made by Microsoft in recent years, however unpopular it might have been.
Why is that?
My personal experience with this (although anecdotal) has been extraordinary. Before Office 365, I would receive somewhere between 4-10 tickets per month, across my many customers, about email issues. This could have been the exchange server being down, to mail flow not working and many other potential issues.
We started moving our clients to 365 in 2015, two years after the introduction to Office 365. We started to move all our existing customers to the cloud instead of replacing their exchange servers.
We completed our existing customers with 18 months and when we get new customers with Exchange server, we do everything we can to migrate them to the cloud.
Since this transition, we have had 1 ticket about an exchange problem in the last year, seriously I had to look it up!
We still get some issues with Outlook, and that is still par for the course, and hopefully one day, Microsoft will sort this out as well, but by and large, the email service holds strong and we have virtually no issues with it.
So, what does this mean for our clients?
We have a wide variety of clients over a broad spectrum of business types and categories, we always try to introduce these customers to the best technologies, that either improve on what they have, give them better reliability or are simply going to enrich their experience.
Exchange online gives our clients many or all of these things.
The experience for our clients has been great, with Autodiscover and outlook, the setup process is very simple these days. We just point people to Outlook and tell them to log in, that’s on mobile, Mac and others too!
QIC Systems have completed many migrations using many different methods, we can manage your migration from start to finish, even managing the end users and performing the cutover.
To learn more, get in touch on 01962 711000 and we can discuss your needs.