Is Microsoft right to pull Exchange Server from Windows server 2012 Essentials? Interesting question this as it depends on which side of the fence you sit. To answer it we first need to understand the logic behind it.
Microsoft has decided that it is going down the cloud route and are trying to position themselves (and their technology) as a major cloud player. To this end they are pooling all their resources into developing a seamless path into the cloud (Office 365, Exchange Online etc) which they hope small businesses (and the enterprise) will take advantage of. Just one problem many small businesses are not ready to take the leap into the cloud just yet with many liking to keep their data (emails included) in house.
So how exactly does this effect small businesses and what choices do they now have?
1. Small Business Server 2011 Standard will be supported until 2015. This means that you don’t have to make the painful decisions just yet (I would start thinking about it though!!).
2. If you decide to keep Exchange Server inhouse after 2015 then you are going to need Windows Server 2012 Essentials installed on one server with a separate server for Windows Server 2012 Standard and Exchange (you can’t install Exchange Server on Windows Server 2012 Essentials by all accounts). That is now three licences instead of the usual one. It might work out cheaper to go for one Standard version instead of Essentials but either way it means more licences and more systems running.
3. What is the expertise of internal IT staff. Small Business Server 2011 Standard makes setting up Exchange Server very easy. If you had to deploy Exchange Server on its own would your staff have the experience to do it? If not you would have to outsource meaning more overhead costs.
4. You could go down the cloud route and have your email hosted (either by Microsoft or someone else). This would probably be the cheapest option but it means your data would be held off site.
5. Move to Linux or Mac instead. Both Linux and Apple offer server options but again how comfortable would you or your staff be in setting up and maintaining the server (have you ever tried to set up an email server on Linux – not easy).
Interesting choices hey?
To answer the question though personally I think Microsoft is right to pull Exchange from Windows Server 2011 Essentials and the main reason for this is that the IT landscape is changing. Everything is moving to the cloud in some shape or another. Small Business Server was never a standalone product but essentially a group of already established software (Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint, Exchange Server etc) and took time and money for Microsoft to continually support it. Yes this will hit small businesses hard and will probably make money for Microsoft (it already has the small business market pretty much sewn up) but Microsoft had to go with the changing landscape. If people like it or not the future is the cloud.
People wiser than me will have their own opinions so lets get the conversation started. Do you agree?
About the Author
Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.
For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.