Migration to the newest version of Microsoft's e-mail server software, Exchange 2010, seems to be picking up, according to a vendor's survey of the market.
Azaleos Corp. today released the results of a survey conducted for it by Osterman Research, which revealed that 44 percent of respondent organizations said they planned to move to Exchange 2010 within 18 months. Azaleos described this as "significant momentum" for the product.
An obvious caveat, of course. Azaleos provides managed services for IT customers running Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Office Communications Server OCS), among others. It would like nothing better than to provide more services moving clients to Exchange 2010, although Osterman is an "independent" research firm.
Still, taken with that grain of salt, the research does reveal some insights into what enterprises are thinking about regarding the new Exchange, which was released to manufacturing in October 2009. Those enterprises (with 10,000 or more seats) most interested in Exchange 2010 cited a desire to make their e-mail infrastructure more flexible, as well as the need to drive down the cost of providing e-mail in their organization, said Michael Osterman, president of the research firm.
"E-mail infrastructure flexibility will become extremely important over the next two to three years as organizations implement unified communications systems," Osterman said in a prepared statement. As the concept of unified communications evolves in enterprises in the next two to three years, such as OCS, he said they will want to integrate e-mail with collaboration software such as SharePoint, especially if they are all-Microsoft shops.
But a couple of factors are causing some customers to hold back on a migration. The survey showed that 51 percent cited budget constraints as a reason they're not migrating while 37 percent cited the difficulty of migrating to Exchange from a non-Microsoft e-mail program.
Azaleos is touting Exchange 2010's new features and capabilities as attractive to survey respondents, such as large mailbox support (cited by 50 percent), improved storage utilization (50 percent), built-in archiving and retention policies (48 percent) and improved high availability and disaster recovery (40 percent).
"Exchange 2010 has largely overcome the traditional ‘wait for SP1’ attitude among enterprises," claims Scott Gode, vice president of marketing for Azaleos.
A different view on Exchange 2010 comes from Network World reviewer Joel Snyder who spent some time with the new product shortly after its release to manufacturing. He identified one bug: "Outlook wouldn't let someone read their own mail -- even though Outlook Web App would," Snyder wrote, then added, "Maybe wait for SP1 before giving this to everyone."
To be fair, Snyder's review is pretty well balanced, citing nine features he thought were positive and five he thought were drawbacks. And Microsoft may have addressed the Outlook flaw since his review.
What are your plans to migrate to Exchange 2010? Is it must have new technology or is it something you can wait on until your budget allows it, you do a major migration or don't have it on your wish list at all?
Robert Mullins is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. He has been writing about technology from Silicon Valley for more than a decade. He has covered such beats as network security, servers, storage, software development, telecommunications and, of course, Microsoft, for a variety of publications, most notably the IDG News Service and Network World.