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Mar 11, 2008

How to reduce the TCO of your messaging and collaboration infrastructure

Businesses usually adopt a commonsense approach when it comes to spending the IT budget with cost being a major influencer in purchasing decisions. However, when it comes to choosing a mail server, many businesses seem to pay less attention to the costs and, as a result, end up spending far more money than is necessary.

This white paper will explain how businesses can significantly reduce the costs of their email communication while continuing to provide users with a best-in-class messaging and collaboration solution.


Today, email is absolutely mission-critical. Communication and collaboration keep your business running. Email and electronically enabled collaboration have become so embedded in normal day-to-day operations that many businesses simply could not function without them. These services enable everything from productivity enhancing collaboration between employees to external communications with customers and business partners and demand 24x7 availability.

Many businesses, however, have found that the cost of providing employees with the latest in messaging and collaboration technology is rapidly escalating. To meet modern business needs, mail servers have had to become more complex – and with that additional complexity come additional management burdens and costs. Furthermore, some mail servers have an upgrade process that is both extremely complex and extremely costly and which may necessitate the purchase of replacement server hardware. Combined, these factors place a considerable drain on corporate resources. The problem is especially severe for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) which usually do not have access to the same financial or technical resources as large enterprises. In fact, the cost of upgrading has forced many SMBs to expose themselves to risk by continuing to use an older and unsupported version of their mail server.

The escalating cost of email

Road warriors armed with the latest communication weaponry demand anywhere-access to their email, busy executives need to be in touch 24/7 and remote workers need to be able to communicate via corporate email. And they all need non-stop email availability.

Today, empowering workers with sophisticated communication and collaboration technology is not a luxury, it is a necessary cost of doing business. However, it is also a cost that has escalated to a point that many businesses are finding difficult to bear. Take Microsoft Exchange Server™ 2007, for example.

Exchange Server is the most widely used business email platform and is undoubtedly an extremely capable product – but it is also highly expensive:

  • The Standard Edition costs $699 and the Enterprise Edition $3,9991. Additionally, for each user or device accessing Exchange Server requires a Standard client access license (CAL) is needed which costs $67 per user or device. Furthermore, if you want to be able to use features such as Forefront Security and Exchange Hosted Filtering, you will need to purchase an Enterprise CAL that costs $25 per user or device per year – in addition to the $67 for the Standard CAL.

  • Exchange Server 2007 is the first Microsoft server to be exclusively 64-bit and, to be able to run it, you will need to replace your 32-bit servers with 64-bit servers.

  • Exchange Server 2007 requires that a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 R2 be installed2 and, if you are not already running it, the upgrade will cost from between $999 for the Standard Edition to  $3,999 for the Enterprise Edition plus the cost of the necessary CALs.

  • Because Exchange Server is a 64-bit application, you cannot transition via a quick and easy in-place upgrade; instead, you must install a new Exchange Server 2007 server and then move your Exchange data to it.3

  • Exchange 5.5 cannot be directly upgraded to Exchange Server 2007. To get from 5.5 to 2007, you will need to migrate to Exchange Server 2000 or 2003 and then transition to Exchange Server 2007.

Exchange Server 2007 is a drain on the resources of a business of any size, but the problem is particularly acute for SMBs – and especially SMBs still running Exchange 5.5. To upgrade from 5.5 to Exchange Server 2007, an SMB would need to purchase new 64-bit server hardware, migrate from Windows NT or Windows 2000 Server to Windows 2003 R2, migrate to Exchange Server 2000 or 2003 and then transition to Exchange Server 2007. To put this in some perspective, it would cost an SMB with 50 staff more than $7000 to license the standard editions of Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Server 2003 R2 with 50 CALs. Add to that the cost of the time needed to carry out the project and the cost of replacement server hardware, and you are looking at an amount that is well beyond the budget of many smaller businesses.

Watch a video presentation on how Axigen proves to be an excellent Exchange alternative:
Exchange Alternative

Should you outsource to combat costs?

Increasingly, businesses are considering outsourcing as a method of reducing costs. Hosted mail solutions do have the potential to reduce costs, but it is a step which businesses should consider very carefully. Does it really make sense to outsource something as mission-critical as email? What would happen if the hosting company were to go out of business? What backup arrangements are in place? What level of support is offered and is that support available 24/7/365? What about redundant network connections and backup power supplies? What security is in place at the data center?

Outsourcing is not necessarily a bad option, but nor is it necessarily the best option and prior to deciding to delegate their email to a third party, businesses should explore other possibilities, such as switching to a mail server that enables them to keep their email in-house without breaking the bank.