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Mimecast: IT Managers’ Migration Fears are Slowing Adoption of Exchange 2010

September 2010 by Mimecast

Mimecast®, a supplier of cloud-based email security, continuity, policy control and archiving, today announced the results of The Exchange Report, an exclusive study examining the IT department’s attitude to Microsoft Exchange and plans for future email strategies. The Exchange Report, sponsored by Mimecast, is based upon a survey of 250 IT decision makers at large UK organisations.

The report reveals that, while the majority of businesses (77% of all respondents) are planning to upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2010, most respondents are expecting to experience significant issues during migration. Of primary concern for IT departments are the server and operating system upgrades that the move to Microsoft Exchange 2010 will require. Replacing these legacy systems involves significant capital investment, and this is causing IT departments to stall, despite the significant savings that the switch to Exchange 2010 can bring. Fear over disruption to the core business while migration takes place is another key concern.

Highlights from the research:

Future looks bright for Exchange 2010:

• Exchange dominates the enterprise - More than 80 percent of organisations surveyed currently use Microsoft Exchange

• Majority will move to Exchange 2010 - Over three quarters of respondents (77 percent) are planning to move to Exchange 2010 at some time in the future

o 15 percent will make the move in the next six months, 38 percent in the next year and 51 percent within the next eighteen months. 25 percent say they will upgrade but cannot commit to a schedule for the migration

o Only 12 percent of Exchange users were not planning an upgrade, with just one percent planning to move away from Exchange entirely

• However, uptake has been slow so far - Only eight percent have already made the jump to Exchange 2010, with the survey finding that the majority of IT departments are using Exchange 2003 (55 percent) and Exchange 2007 (35 percent)

o Since Microsoft no longer offers mainstream support for Exchange 2003, and because 2007 was not able to run on Windows Server 2008 until the release of SP3, this means a large number of businesses are running systems which are in danger of obsolescence

Concerns over legacy systems could slow uptake:

• Investment in hardware required - just 41 percent of respondents are currently operating on 64-bit hardware, which is a requirement for the move to Exchange 2010

• Software is also a problem - 61 percent of respondents are running either Microsoft Server 2003 or Small Business Server (SBS). Since Exchange 2010 only runs on Windows Server 2008, this means that many companies face a potential dual-upgrade scenario

• Cost is a barrier - Funding this dual upgrade is likely to eat significantly into the IT budget. The survey found that expense is a significant obstacle to adopting Exchange 2010, with 36 percent of respondents citing this as a factor in their reluctance to make the move

IT fears disruption to employees:

• Migration likely to disrupt the business – After the cost of upgrading, the disruption that migration will cause to services is the biggest concern. Disruption to staff and migration downtime were concerns for 28 percent of respondents

o With awareness about migration problems high, it was no surprise that many IT departments were considering safety nets. 66 percent said that they would archive all of their data before moving

• Third parties crucial to support migration - 46 percent of decision makers predicted that they will opt to work with a continuity service or third party provider to ensure consistency and availability of service during the migration process

o A further 15 percent have already decided that it will be necessary to turn to third-party assistance on installation and ongoing management

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