Microsoft Exchange Server is alive and well and Office 365 is here to stay.
Roughly 70% of my customers and partners are EXCELLENT candidates for Office 365 and I am very vocal about my support for the move. How many of us have witnessed a crashed database due to excessive logs? How many times have you fought with the load-balancer to figure out why connections are being dropped? How many days do you spend a year debating, fighting, monitoring or discussing Exchange backups and disaster recovery? With thinning IT departments and greater messaging loads, it is far more difficult and costly to maintain a healthy Exchange environment than ever before. BUT, if BPOS was re-branded to “Office 365” in 2011 and it was the 3rd iteration of Microsoft’s Hosted messaging then why are 80% of the mailboxes still On-Premises in 2015? Why is there such a gap between Hosted and Local mail populations?
The Radicati Group (www.radicati.com) has indicated that in 2014, Office 365 accounted for less than 20% of Exchange mailboxes worldwide. (“Microsoft Office 365, Exchange Server and Outlook Market Analysis, 2014 – 2018”). This paper goes on to identify that Microsoft’s On-Premises market share will increase from 64% to 76% in by 2018 “as it continues to gain market share away from its competitors”.
Confused yet? The explanation is pretty easy when you remember that we are human and not machines.
We are in a transitional gap right now with Microsoft Exchange. The industry wants us to be in the cloud, Microsoft wants us in the cloud and most of us want to be there but we all move at different paces. It took me three years to ramp up on Office 365 due to my subdued interest and the complete lack of interest by most of my larger customers. I have since made the transition but very few of my larger customers have made the same mental shift. THIS is the reason for the gap and the reason Microsoft will continue offering the On-Premises version of Exchange until 2018 or even later.
We are creatures of habit and most resist change. Fears about security, privacy and resilience have slowed the adoption of Office 365 but eventually we will all be there. When the On-Premises mailbox population decreases to a number Microsoft is willing to sacrifice then the Exchange Server product will be forever retired. Until then, I will continue to close the gap with bridges or catapults depending on the need.