Exchange your busted email system for Exchange - it's the best
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 26, 2019

Exchange your busted email system for Exchange - it's the best

Score 10 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft Exchange is used as our e-mail, calendar, and task-management application. The entire organization uses it, we run two servers in a redundancy and failover configuration to maintain uptime. In the current environment, all businesses must have e-mail, and most should have shared calendars or other ways of scheduling meetings with multiple people. Exchange allows for that pretty seamlessly.
  • E-Mail: The primary function of Exchange, I'd argue, and it does it well right out of the box. There are a thousand ways to customize the way e-mail works - mail flow, rules for types of connections, group or shared boxes - but even with a minimal, almost default setup, e-mail works perfectly.
  • Shared Resources: Shared calendars, public folders, and rooms are a few of the resources you can add to Exchange for tracking. We prefer shard mailboxes rather than public folders in most cases, but Exchange supports both, which gives it some versatility.
  • Active Directory Integration: If you run Active Directory, Exchange is very easy to manage. Automatic rules can be set up for new users, group emails can be managed within AD instead of logging into Exchange, &c. And it means only one password.
  • Mobile Access: Users can access their email on their phones or via the web, which is especially useful for employees who travel. But even internally, it means users don't need an additional application to use most of Exchange's feature (although Outlook is extremely useful, too).
  • No Management App: Microsoft decided to most administration of Exchange to a web portal instead of a separate application like older editions. This does allow an admin to log in from anywhere, but it's not as clean as a dedicated app. For example, if a browser update breaks compatibility, you have to wait for a fix, whereas a native app would just work regardless of browser functionality.
  • Less GUI/More Powershell: There are a handful of things you cannot manage in the management web portal. They require Powershell commands. Powershell is useful in many cases, but usually for advanced features, not regular, every day type things like running reports.
  • Cost: Exchange is not an inexpensive product, and with the licensing model, the more users you have, the more expensive it becomes.
  • Cost: While the software is expensive, having an on-site implementation was more cost effective for an organization of our size. Our usual cycle is 5 years, so with our user count it was cheaper - even with hardware and two sites - to maintain in house.
  • Training: We did have to train users on a few new things. The older edition we had (2010) used public folders, but those are being deprecated with each edition. So we had to teach users how to use shared mailboxes instead, but those end up being far more robust in the long run.
  • Efficiency: Exchange 2016 is much faster and uses less overhead for us than 2010 did. And using replication makes recovery during an outage must faster as well.
The only other solutions I have experience with are generic/hosted SMTP servers, usually using POP3 and/or IMAP. While these were okay back when that was how all e-mail was being sent, the management usually required a lot of command-line or customized tools. It was always clunky, and always required a lot of time to set up as well. They were certainly not robust, and they did not integrate well with applications (e.g., out-of-office replies only worked in the e-mail application was left open).

Because we're an Active Directory environment, because we already use Microsoft Office (and therefore Outlook), and because Exchange has versatility and a large library of documentation, it was an easy choice.
Exchange is well suited for just about every business, except perhaps the smallest (in which case Office 365, which is essentially a hosted Exchange implementation, would probably be more cost effective). It's extremely scalable, flexible, and still easy to admin and maintain. It's also an industry standard with many experts out there, and tons of documentation in case you run into issues.

The only scenario I can really think of where Exchange would be inappropriate would be a sole proprietor or two- to three-person small business, where maybe personal e-mails would be acceptable. Or, as I mentioned before, some place where an on-site server may make less sense, so a hosted solution like Office 365 would be better (perhaps you have poor Internet service).

Microsoft Exchange Feature Ratings

Data Loss Protection
Threat Detection
End-to-End Encryption
Management Tools