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IT directors hold back on upgrade to Exchange 2007

Almost two months after its release, IT directors are taking a cautious approach to Microsoft’s Exchange 2007 e-mail server, with only a handful of organisations using the platform.

Maurene Caplan Grey of Grey Consulting said that investments in Exchange 2000 and 2003 meant that most companies were in no hurry to upgrade. Figures from analyst firm Gartner suggest that only half of enterprises upgraded from Exchange 2000 to the now superseded Exchange 2003.

Owen Williams, group head of IT at property firm Knight Frank, told Computer Weekly that he had no immediate plans to upgrade his organisation from Exchange 2003, which he has only been running for two years.

Oliver Boardman, infrastructure manager at Fullers, said the brewer had updated its Exchange 2003 Server to Service Pack 2 nine months ago and would not be migrating any time soon.

However, Sejal Shah, ICT strategist at LA Fitness, said the fitness chain would probably upgrade to Exchange 2007 later this year, moving straight from Exchange 2000. “We will look to upgrade once any bugs have been fixed,” he said.

Microsoft said it was confident there would be a strong market for Exchange 2007 because of its unified messaging capability, which it said requires less integration work than earlier releases to give users a single inbox for voice, fax and
e-mail messages.

Mark Deakin, unified communications product manager at Microsoft, said, “We will be talking to those Exchange 2000 and 2003 users who have a need for unified communications to explore upgrade possibilities.”

Currently, that looks to be a  relatively limited market. Phil Sayer, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said that for enterprises to deploy unified communications, they would first have to implement IP telephony.

Forrester found that only about 15% of European firms were using unified communications systems, with another 13% in the process of deploying them.

Gartner research vice-president Matt Cain said users would only be able to deploy Microsoft’s unified messaging technology if they paid for the new enterprise client access licence. He also warned that the system requirements for Exchange 2007 meant that it needed to be installed on 64-bit servers.

“This is more substantial than the average  upgrade and will require more up-front planning,” said Cain.

Related article: Exchange enhanced for 64-bit

Related article: The route to painless migration

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk


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