What To Look For in an Exchange 2010 Hosting Provider

With the launch of hosted Microsoft Exchange 2010,  Intermedia commissioned two white papers from industry research firms in order to provide additional tools to the marketplace regarding Exchange 2010 and in particular, hosted Exchange 2010. The below is the third in a series of excerpts from the white paper, “Why You Should Consider Migrating to Hosted Exchange 2010” by Osterman Research, Inc. – available on Intermedia’s web site.  

Not all hosted Exchange providers are created equal.  There are often important distinctions between even leading vendors, and so decision makers should evaluate providers based on their specific requirements.  Here are some of the key issues to consider when evaluating providers of hosted Exchange services.

MULTIPLE DATA CENTERS

Does the provider operate multiple data centers?  If so, are these data centers served by multiple, Tier 1 Internet providers?  These are important considerations for disaster recovery purposes, but they can also permit greater levels of uptime compared to a provider that operates only one data center or that does not use highly available Internet providers.

Further, the use of multiple data centers allows the use of a data center that is geographically closer to users and so can provide better messaging system performance.  Related to this is the ability to specify which data center serves which mailboxes, something that not all hosted Exchange providers offer.

THE PROVIDER’S TRACK RECORD

The provider’s track record is another important consideration.  How long have they been in operation?  What are their long-term uptime numbers?  What is their past and current financial performance?  How many customers do they have?  All of these questions should be answered satisfactorily.

THE PROVIDER’S LONG-TERM ROADMAP

A provider’s long-term roadmap of planned feature and function enhancements is also an important consideration in choosing a provider.  When will they migrate to the newest version of Exchange?  Do they offer hosted SharePoint or OCS?  Do they offer hosted archiving?  What other services, features and functions are on their long-term roadmap?  How consistent have they been in deploying new services, features and functions in years past?

THE COST AND PAIN OF MIGRATING TO A NEW PROVIDER

Another important consideration in choosing a provider of hosted Exchange 2010 is the tools and services they offer to help in the migration of data, either from another hosted Exchange provider or from an on-premises deployment of Exchange.  This is an important issue, since the migration can be time-consuming and somewhat onerous if the wrong provider is chosen.

THE PROVIDER’S SUPPORT CAPABILITIES

It is also important to understand the specific support capabilities that a hosted provider offers.  For example, how long will the provider’s support organization take to respond to an inquiry during business hours?  After-hours on weekdays?  At 3:00am on a Saturday night?  Further, what other support capabilities does the provider offer for tech support staff and end users?

About The Intermedia Team

Intermedia's Office in the Cloud™ delivers essential IT services for SMBs and the partners who serve them — including hosted Exchange, Hosted PBX, SecuriSync file sync and share, security, mobility and more.