IT Pros Resist Moving Messaging to the Cloud

In a recent Instant Poll on the Exchange & Outlook page, I asked the question, "How will the addition of Exchange 2010 to Microsoft's Exchange Online offering affect your decision to choose hosted Exchange?" Here are the results:

  • 69% It won't; we're not interested in hosted Exchange under any circumstances
  • 7% We might look into Microsoft's hosted offering to get the benefits of Exchange 2010
  • 13% We would like to move to Microsoft's hosted Exchange 2010 provided it has all the features of on-premises Exchange 2010
  • 2% We're already using hosted Exchange from Microsoft
  • 9% We're already using hosted Exchange from a different vendor

From these results, it looks like most of our readers are still highly opposed to messaging in the cloud. I have to wonder what the resistance is based on: Traditional security fears? Lack of trust in the cloud infrastructure? Fear of outsourcing your own job? Or perhaps something more complex or a combination of elements? It also makes me wonder why, if the IT pros are still so set against cloud computing, the industry analysts and tech speculators continue to tout this as the next big thing.

When it comes down to it, though, I wonder how often the decision to move to cloud-based messaging systems will be made by the business leaders with little or no input from the IT departments. The marketing people are really good at selling this vision of the cloud as not just a coming thing but here now—I know; I've talked to quite a few of them. As IT pros, what holes do you find in this vision? What are the problems for your IT departments with cloud computing, and specifically with running Exchange Server or other messaging services in the cloud? And do you think the hosted vendors can overcome these problems any time soon?

As always, if you have thoughts on the matter and are interested in sharing, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me:, or on Twitter, @bkwins. Meanwhile, for that small minority who are considering jumping into the cloud, here are a couple of articles that could help you get there:

Related Reading:

Migrating to Hosted Exchange

Moving Exchange to the Cloud, Part 1

Moving Exchange to the Cloud, Part 2

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Sep 30, 2010
Pretty cut and dried here. Can't even take a chance that email would be unavailable for any length of time. Firm lives and dies by it and any outage, even 30 minutes, would kill us. So using an external service puts us at the mercy of the host provider. I can control internal problems but I have no control over external providers and how fast they address issues.

I have no real statistics to back up this claim but from the various pieces that have been authored about organizations that have moved to the cloud. Service/urgency always seems to be one of the biggest problems for the end users.

We're a small place under 250 users so there isn't a great deal of cost savings benefit to us in moving email to the cloud.

Just my 2 cents

on Oct 1, 2010
Hi Jim, Thanks for the feedback. I totally understand what you're saying--it goes back to that issue of control. If there's going to be a problem, you want to know it's within your power to correct it, and not be waiting for someone else to do it--someone who might not have the same priorities you do.

It's also interesting considering that for years cloud vendors have really targeted small & mid-sized business because those were the companies where it seemed to make the most economic sense. A lot of small businesses can't afford to implement a robust messaging environment. But now it almost seems like it's reversed and it's the enterprise businesses that seem to be investigating cloud options specifically for cost savings.

I'd be curious to know what version(s) of Exchange you're running, and what high-availability measures you've implemented.

B. K. Winstead
Associate Editor

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