Computers and Internet

Hosted Exchange

I attended a tech swap recently on Hosted Exchange where we discussed the pros and cons of moving to a hosted system and what to look for in a vendor. We also talked about what is involved in implementation and migration.


We came up with a list of questions that we would ask a potential vendor. Many of these are basic administration and storage questions but they need to be addressed and should be included in any contract.

What are the size limitations

What is the maximum size for attachments

What are the Quotas on Mailbox sizes

Number of users

How does the vendor address aliases

Shared calendars


24 7 availability

Remote access – OWA


      Integration with other services -Third party software and devices support

                        Blackberry or other PDA’s


Live Meeting



Unified messaging

Administration – ease


Spam Filters, Virus/Malware




The cons we considered with Hosted Exchange were:

Lack of control and privacy

Cost of external hosting Expense

Uptime – when are patches scheduled?

How do you make sure there is good helpdesk support?

Internet Access – bandwidth onsite

List of users – updating user info



The benefits of Hosted Exchange were


Data centers have the power systems and backup in place for uptime that a small company cannot replicate in an office building


Data centers are secured with guards and key card for entry.  Servers in an office building can be compromised and are difficult to secure since many of the staff need access for emergencies.

Expertise available

The vendor can stay up to date on the software and hardware which saves time for internal staff to work on other projects


Greater than on site due to the hardware and software licensing costs

Disaster Recovery

Data centers have multiple redundancies built in with generators and special power supplies.

Data Speed

Most Data centers have multiple carriers for data vs an office building for anywhere access.  They have the ability to switch to other carriers quickly if an outage occurs.


You can add people without having to change hardware or software – when you purchase hardware you have a major expense that you must depreciate and hold even though it may be outdated and newer equipment is available

Fixed cost

Fixed expense per user easier to budget and control expense




We talked about the Service Levels and what you should look for in a hosted system

Shared vs. Dedicated

Blended Solutions – can you have some servers on site and some hosted?


Look at ratio, techs to mailboxes

Where are their facilities?

Do they have a backup facility?

References – Try to get the last three installs that the vendor did


Bandwidth charges?

Quota charges?


SLAs   – service level agreement – have a lawyer check all contracts before you sign

Response time

Escalation Procedures

Last time they tested



What is involved in the Implementation?

What’s their plan for implementation?

How will the integration work?           

Are they relying on PSTs? This is not a reliable method to migrate exchange

How long to complete?

Active Directory integration




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