It’s time to throw a retirement party for Exchange 2003!


Exchange Server 2003 came into this world on September 28, 2003. It brought with it a host of new features, including improved migration tools to ease the transition from older versions of Exchange, enhanced heuristic message filtering to help direct spam into the Junk folder, and, if you had Service Pack 2 installed, a database size limit of 75 gigabytes. This was unimaginably large for the time.

That was eight years and eleven months ago. In that time, we have also seen Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2010 come into the mix as well. If your organization is still running Exchange Server 2003, here are some reasons why it is time to upgrade.

  1. Microsoft created a handy chart to break down the differences between Exchange Server versions.
  2. Modern desktop mail clients like Outlook 2010, Outlook for Mac 2011, and Apple Mail all require Exchange Server 2007 or later, and they won’t talk to Exchange Server 2003 at all. So if you get a new Windows machine with the latest version of Office or one of those shiny new Macs, those users will be stuck using Outlook Web Access webmail to access email, calendars, and contacts.
  3. Outlook Web Access on Exchange Server 2003 forces browsers other than Internet Explorer to use “Light” mode, which just means that many of the features and options beyond simple sending and receiving email are disabled or invisible to anyone running a different browser (such as Firefox, Chrome, or anyone on a shiny new Mac).
  4. The 75 gigabyte size limit I mentioned before applies only to Exchange Server 2003 Standard, but there is a lot more email being sent today than there was 9 years ago. It does not take very many users with large mailboxes to hit that size limit, and when you do Exchange Server 2003 will shut itself off to prevent database corruption or data loss. That means no more email until the size of the database is reduced. The newer versions of Exchange Server do not have this limitation.
  5. If the software package is nearly 9 years old, chances are that the hardware running it is on its last legs too. While it might be running just fine, it is most likely out of warranty and may even be in End Of Life status, making replacement parts hard to find, making disaster recover more difficult, and increasing costs and downtime.
  6. The prospect of replacing an Exchange server can be a daunting one, costing many thousands of dollars. One way to avoid this expense and to simplify your office network is migrating to a hosted Exchange system in the cloud instead. By getting rid of your old office server, your business can keep running if there is an internet service failure or power outage in your building. Take a look at Everon’s own cloud email and business continuity solutions.
If you are considering retiring your old server hardware running Exchange Server 2003, there has never been a better time. And Everon can help you do it. Call us at 888-244-1748 if you have questions about server migrations or our cloud email solutions.

Does your small business need “The Cloud”?


For the last 10 years, owning a small business server (SBS) was a mark of legitimacy for small companies. A SBS meant you could have your own customized email addresses; you could run your own custom applications—database, office productivity, CRM, finance, etc; you had a secure place to store files; you had a central resource to manage and safeguard your network; whatever your business need was, there was probably a SBS-based application for you. In 2012, SBS still offers these valuable features and is still a great solution for many small businesses.

But there is a downside to SBS, and that downside is maintenance. Servers require updates. Security threats to SBS systems require that additional software and hardware be purchased (antivirus, firewall); computer hardware can fail at any time, making performance and support costs unpredictable; data loss is a constant concern, which requires SMBs to purchase and maintain backup systems. Because everything has to be managed by the server, systems integration is a challenge, and the answer to the challenge is conformity, compelling most SMBs into use only a narrow band of features and devices. When you think about the IT costs that go into owning a SBS—backup, hardware replacements, security services, warranties, tech support—and then compare that to the amount of money that was actually spent on productivity software, that ratio, in and of itself, explains why the SBS era may be starting to wane.

Now, imagine a world where you didn’t have to pay for all the other hardware and maintenance, and you only had to pay for the solutions that made your employees more productive. Well, that, in a nutshell, is what Cloud Computing is all about.

If you’re the average SMB owner or manager, at this point you’ve probably already heard about the Cloud and you probably have a basic grasp of its significance. If not, feel free to watch our recent webinar “Cloud Computing for Small Business” here.

But as Cloud-based services continue to develop, the question has quickly changed from, “what is the Cloud?”, to “should I move to the Cloud?”, to “when should I move to the Cloud?” And the answer to that question is, probably sooner than you think.

Cloud-based email services have already exploded in popularity (email being, actually, the most complicated internal service the typical SMBs runs). Cloud-based CRM systems are also well-established, led by early innovator Beyond that, Cloud services are developing fast, and at Everon, we are constantly reviewing new products in hopes of finding ways to improve the value of IT services for our clients. In the past I’ve advised clients that the time to move to the Cloud is when their existing hardware is at retirement age. But I think we are getting to a stage now where the right time to move is simply when a service is available that can help your business. It’s not going to get any less frustrating for business owners when they receive service bills in the thousands for issues like hardware failures, virus infections, or accidental data loss. The sooner we move to the Cloud and make those sorts of issues the thing of the past, the sooner we can focus on what matters–value and productivity!

Everon Technology can help move you to cloud today. We’ll work with you to see what solutions may be of benefit to your business and we’ll even give you your first month of cloud services for free with any cloud implementation. Register here to contact one of our cloud specialists.


Hosted Exchange vs. an Email Server


In my work, I’m often asked by clients if they should set up their own email server and manage it or have it managed in the cloud and pay monthly fees to do so. This is an excellent question with no one answer for all businesses. The real answer is, what works best for your business is what you should go with.

Here are some things to think about when trying to decide.

1) Infrastructure - if you have your own email server then you’re going to need to invest in a server. You’re going to have to care for that server as you would any other. It must be in a place that doesn’t get too warm and always has a supply of electricity. You’ll need a UPS to keep it running when the power goes out for a few minutes and contingency plans if it should ever stop working.

2) Backup - In addition to the server, you’ll need backup software that is aware of your email server’s specific database. You’ll also need a place to store those backups such as tapes or USB drives. You will also need a backup and disaster recovery plan which would include your keeping a copy of your backed up data in a location not too close to where your server is stored.

3) Availability - If you host your own email server then you’re going to have to make sure that it’s always reachable. Email has entered the realm of mission critical in most organizations. To have it be unavailable will cause some or all of your staff great angst. You’ll need to make sure that it’s sitting on a very reliable Internet connection and that it’s running on a server with redundancy built in so that if any one component of the server breaks down, the email is still functional.

4) Anti Virus - You’ll need a good corporate based anti virus solution. Even if your email is running in a non-Windows environment, you’ll still need this to prevent viruses from spreading to your users or their recipients.

5) Spam concerns - You’ll have to take spam controls very seriously. If your server is flagged by others as a spammer, then some of your email will be refused by a large portion of recipients. There are databases of known spammers and many companies subscribe to these lists. If your company’s server is on the list - your email won’t get through.

6) Supporting Smart Phones - If you want to do more than just have emails delivered to your user’s Balckberrys (i.e. contact and calendar synching) then you are going to have to install some additional software by the makers of Blackberrys. This software known as a BES Server. Depending on how many users in your organization, you may be able to download the software for free. This is something you’ll have to explore with RIM.

The alternatives to all of the above is to use a hosted service. Because of the overhead involved, many of our clients opt for a hosted solution and its relatively low monthly fee per mailbox. This fee takes care of all of the above issues for them. Some figure that they’re not in the business of running an email server and would rather outsource the function rather than manage it themselves. For some clients, they already have an infrastructure capable of handling one more server and opt to simply invest up front and avoid the recurring charges.

Again, there is no right or wrong answer. It is just a matter of what you prefer and what works for your business.