The Magic Beanstalk and Exchange 2010

So with all this choice and drive to push you to Cloud services, should you be jumping out of the plane without a parachute to get to the Clouds?

Confused about where to take your Microsoft Exchange architecture?

I mean let’s face it, it was less than year ago that Exchange 2010 SP1 came out and the Exchange world breathed a collective sigh and started upgrade planning. In that time we have seen the rise and replacement of Microsoft BPOS, a major increase in the number of Hosted Exchange providers and Microsoft's and shiny new baby – Microsoft Office 365 with Exchange Online. You also can't pick up an IT journal today without it being pasted full of talk about Cloud being "the future".

Obviously not (without your parachute), but some organizations will be able to transition all the way to Office 365 from their locally deployed Exchange 2003 deployment, while others will see the value and be tempted, but will not be able to migrate quite as easily. Don't forget there are also scenarios where a hybrid deployment that includes both on-premise and the cloud really makes sense. For example, users who previously didn't have email can now have corporate email for as little as $2.00 per user per month!

So there are lots of options, but also some pitfalls - so what to do?

Jack's beanstalk was the ultimate "Cloud Enablement Service". It got him off of the ground and to his destination in the clouds safely. Not only that, it was there to support him when he no longer wanted to be in the clouds. So is Exchange 2010 the magic beanstalk for our email Jack?

Exchange 2010 has a number of really nifty capabilities; among them is a native ability to be configured as a fully local, or part local - part Cloud (hybrid) deployment. There is still some heavy lifting to be done, however, to get to this utopia…

Firstly with data: moving large mailboxes around takes time and effort. We have come to a school of thought that says the data should be archived before you migrate, so that hardly anything needs to be moved; and that applies to a migration from an older version of Exchange to Exchange 2010 as well. The less data you move, the more you reduce the time the migration takes, the risk involved in the process and the potential of  unplanned downtime.

Secondly, with routing: out of the box the routing capabilities in Exchange 2010 are excellent and numerous, but it still relies on having emails routed to an Exchange Server, either on premise or to Exchange Online. In an ideal situation, you want the right email delivered to the right location, without having to route traffic over WANs to the right location. In addition, a lot of people want to apply consistent security policies, inbound and outbound, to ensure their compliance and security requirements are being met.

Thirdly, continuity: hey we're biased! But seriously - nobody wants email to go down… it's always the nightmare scenario! Provisioning real time Cloud based continuity enables the IT admin to remain fully in control of the uptime across their email estate, be that Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid.

After these points it becomes clear that Microsoft Exchange is Jack's house, the Giant's castle is Office 365 and Mimecast is in fact the magic beanstalk!  An infrastructure that is architected to be as flexible as possible without exposing risk is what IT departments so desperately need, and the Cloud is an excellent way to deliver just that.

There are already ways to leverage the Cloud to deliver more flexible, responsive messaging architectures, even if you don't want to put all your mailboxes there right away.

Don’t wait until the giant has built higher walls. Plant your beanstalk today!