Many businesses feel that they are gaining more value by hosting their own dedicated solutions. It is not uncommon, to see medium and large business running their own backend web servers, ISPs, and e-mail solutions. When contemplating adding a messaging platform, such as Microsoft Exchange, it is a good idea to give some serious thought as to whether or not it is appropriate for the company to host it, or have it hosted for the company.
Microsoft Exchange is a Mission Critical Service and when a company chooses to host its own Exchange Server, that places a lot of responsibility on the company. While having it hosted for the company may cost a bit more, it serves to relieve the company of certain obligations and commitments.
This scenario is similar to having a fully-managed web server: it costs a bit more on a monthly basis, but you are assured that one of the hosts trained service professionals will handle the specifics of running the server on a day-to-day basis- though you can opt to install various scripts and additions, you will not have to worry about updating the software, restarting the server if it hangs, or ensuring that it is operating properly.
Traits of Self-Hosted Exchange Server
- Large initial investment – You will have to purchase the hardware, software, acquire IT engineers and resources, and properly train all of the staff that will be managing your Exchange server. You may also experience a significant amount of time from when you make the initial investment to when the server goes live and becomes functional, especially if your staff is not completely training on how to handle the server.
- Ongoing expenses – The responsibility of maintaining and upgrading the Exchange server is yours, and after a while it can prove to be a surprisingly expensive server to maintain and run.
- Complete freedom over the customization and performance of your exchange server – Where managed servers have to deal with specific limitations placed upon them by their providers, running your own server will allow you to have total control over yours. You will be able to add, remove, and customize features as you see fit.
This will allow you to offer enhanced mobility services, VoIP, internet faxing, Outlook Web Access.
- Large personnel commitment â€“ Take a moment to analyze the size of your company. How many staff members are you willing to dedicate solely to your Exchange server? Large companies may already have a large IT department that it can use to assign resources to the Exchange server with, but if your business doesn’t, you will have to bring on the staff to do it.
It is not that a self-hosted Exchange solution is always a poor choice or a bad option, as it certainly can fit the bill if a business has the resources to allocate to it. The reality is that you will have greater control and freedom when hosting the server yourself, but you will also have to dedicate more time and resources to it.
Traits of a Hosted Exchange Server
- Low start up investment – You may have to pay a small startup fee, but compared to the large investment required to purchase the server, software, and hire the appropriate staff, it is a drop in the bucket. As well, Hosted Exchanges are often set up in a matter of minutes once you’ve paid your startup fee, giving you access to your new toys quicker.
- Financial predictability – You will generally be given a monthly, quarterly, or yearly price. This makes budgeting a much easier task as there are fewer variables to consider and less guesswork involved. On that level, it’s nice to know exactly what your financial obligations are.
- Completely managed server – Just as the advantages of a managed web host include the fact that you don’t have to maintain the server or the software, a Hosted Exchange server generally comes with maintenance included. This absolves you from the responsibilities of monitoring security, uptime, server resource usage, and software upgrades.
- No outside commitments – You will not have to worry about staff allocation or the hiring of additional staff with a Hosted Exchange server. The company that owns the server takes care of all of the support obligations, including staff training and certification.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of hosting solution. If you prefer the control and knowledge knowing that you and you alone handle the processes and maintenance of your server, the additional expenses and requirements shouldnâ€™t be much of an issue. However, if you prefer for something to ”just work” and don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of maintaining it or making the large initial purchase, you are going to want to use an exchange server that is provided by an external company.
Regardless of who hosts it, the advantages that it will offer you are immense and numerous.