Three Microsoft Exchange MVPs (Steve Goodman, J. Peter Bruzzese and Nicolas Blank) sat down with SearchExchange to give their predictions on Exchange 2013, Office 365 and Microsoft’s future plans.

Exchange 2013 will be available in the new year and delivers a host of new Exchange administration features, speed increases and extra user functionality. Simply Mail Solutions is actively testing Microsoft Exchange 2013 and is on course to roll updates out to customers in early 2013.

The MVPs comments regarding Office 365 suggest a bigger push by Microsoft for this service in 2013. Customers interested in Office 365 should be aware of potential downsides to deployment:

Data hosted outside the UK — With Office 365 customer data is not hosted on UK servers, potentially creating data protection issues.

  • No upgrade control — Upgrades to Office 365 are determined by Microsoft, with customers having no option but to upgrade when Microsoft update any aspect of the service.
  • Different management tools — Office 365 uses its own proprietary admin tools for user account control.
  • Potential DNS issues — Office 365 requires new DNS entries. Companies who do not manage their own DNS would need to liaise with their domain provider to make sure DNS is updated correctly.

An alternative to Office 365 is to use SharePoint cloud storage for documents, tied in with local Office apps and hosted Exchange email. This provides a complete, secure, hosting environment for email and documents whilst keeping the IT department in full control of administration and upgrades.

The full Microsoft MVP discussion is available on the SearchExchange site.