Do You have Small Business Server 2008?
If your organization has less than 70 staff, then you are probably running Exchange Server 2007 as part of Small Business Server 2008 (SBS2008). As its name suggests, SBS2008 was a low-priced but fully featured version of Windows Server 2008 for small businesses that also included Exchange Server 2007. From both a software licensing and hardware cost perspective, replacing SBS with Windows Server 2012 and Exchange Server 2013 is an expensive exercise and is definitely not recommended for ANY small business.
Your best option is to migrate to Office 365 sooner rather than later. Moving your email system to the cloud now will free up valuable resources on your aging file-server and will have the significant side-benefit of extending the useful working life of your server hardware by another year. This assumes that you’re running a leading brand server that is covered by an extended warranty (like HP and Dell).
Are You Running Exchange Server 2007 Standard?
For most organizations running Exchange Server 2008 Standard Edition, migrating your email system to Office 365 is definitely a sound business decision. Almost certainly this server is running on physical server hardware that can then be decommissioned fully or perhaps re-utilized as a data backup or test server. Moving to Exchange Server 2013 instead of Office 365 is worthy of some consideration, but the biggest factors weighing against this are the capital cost of new hardware and the DRP implications of being without your email server in the event of a site based disaster.
Are You Running Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise?
Enterprise Edition by its very name suggests you are working for a very large organisation that has an Exchange email server solution spanning multiple locations and that has clustering configured. Upgrading such a solution will require considerable investigation and specialist consulting skills. Office 365 is absolutely capable of scaling to thousands of users per organisation and thus needs to be carefully considered. Decisions on whether to upgrade to an on-premise solution based on Exchange Server 2013 are likely to be based on perceived fears of privacy and commercial considerations about whether it is possible to back out from Office 365 at a later date should business circumstances change.
It’s Time to Upgrade to Office 365.
Migrating from Exchange Server 2007 to Office 365 makes significant sense from both a business and technical point of view. Having said that, it is vital that the migration is performed in a timely and cost-effective fashion. With that in mind, you need to carefully consider whether it is worth using internal staff to learn and perform a one-off multi-step project. It may well be that the best way to assure your organization of a successful Office 365 migration is to use the services of a Microsoft Partner that has Office 365 certifications and real-world experience in performing Office 365 migrations.
Darryl McAllister is a Consultant at NetCare365 – http://www.netcare365.com – a company which specializes in taking all the stress out of migrating your email and your data across to Office365. And if you’re already on Office365, he provides free monthly Ask the Expert webinars and free advice on SharePoint apps to help you get more business value out of your Office365 subscription. To learn more about Darryl, follow him on Twitter – http://twitter.com/darrylmca
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