Microsoft Exchange's challenges: partners, the cloud, and (still) Lotus Notes
From Computerworld: Microsoft Exchange's challenges: partners, the cloud, and (still) Lotus Notes
A number of things caught my eye in this article, both good and bad...
But Microsoft hasn't fully answered questions about how Exchange Online won't hurt its loyal army of partners, nor how the service can overcome some of its limitations and aid the war against IBM's Lotus Notes.
"Microsoft may in fact succeed with Exchange Online," said analyst David Ferris of Ferris Research. "But they have aggressively rolled out similar offerings in the past that have failed."
Ferris recognizes that Microsoft doesn't necessarily have a great track record in following through with significant new architectures. On the other hand, Workplace didn't fare so well, either...
Today, Exchange is used by 65% of workers in developed economies, according to Ferris Research. Lotus Notes is used by 10% of workers.
10%??? I think that's the lowest number I've ever heard for Notes seats percentage. And Ferris is a bit more reliable than Radicati (who gets quoted later on in the article also). I'd love to know the methodology behind those numbers.
That may not be easy. Despite Microsoft's rhetoric, migrations from Notes to Exchange have slowed, said Ferris.
"Every Notes user says their strategic direction is to migrate to Microsoft, but as a practical matter, those who could have easily done it would have already done it," Ferris said. "Migrating is too much hassle, the porting costs are too great."
Another case in point of once the money's been spent, you have... email.
And there are limitations in Exchange Online. Mailboxes default to just 1GB. Every additional gigabyte costs $2 per gigabyte per month. The maximum size is 4GB, despite the service being built with Exchange 2007, which supports mailboxes up to 16GB.
The 4GB limit is "to ensure the best performance in Outlook," said Betz. "Customers we talk to tell us that overly large inboxes create many problems for their organizations," which have to comply with rules around compliance and e-mail discovery.
Betz suggests customers with large e-mail accounts should move them to Exchange Hosted Archive or store large attachments on SharePoint Online.
I'm betting THAT little gem isn't mentioned up front...
In a blog posting last week, Jha said he plans no major strategic changes for Exchange.
Tea leaf readers will view that as implicit confirmation of predictions by Gartner Inc. analyst Matt Cain and others that Microsoft will still use the Jet storage engine in Exchange 14.
Jet is the reason for a hard 16 GB cap on e-mail account sizes in Exchange 2007.
Cain predicts that Microsoft will switch to the more-scalable SQL Server for the subsequent version of Exchange, due about 2012.
So *how* long has Microsoft been saying they'll switch to SQL Server in the "next release"?
Overall, there's lots of eye candy with the announcements, but at the same time there's some significant limitations and lack of direction on where you go in the future. And given the announcement about dropping more Live Services features, I'm not sure that's a safe direction to take.