Like many folks out there, I believed – wrongly so, that Exchange Hosted Services is hosted Exchange, and competes with Microsoft/Exchange’s model of selling Exchange Server software licenses.
Thanks to Paul Englis, PM, UC Services, for the clarification – EHS offerings include Exchange Hosted Filtering – an anti-spam/anti-virus filtering service, Exchange Hosted Archive – an outsourced mail archiving service for message retention, Exchange Hosted Continuity – which allows users to access their last 30 days’ email over the web and send/receive new mail – to reduce impact of a mail server outage on users, and Exchange Hosted Encryption – which offers policy-based message encryption. These services complement your (in-house/on-premise) Exchange deployments, not replace them.
Microsoft does pitch hosted Exchange (as in hosted mailboxes) through its partners, and given the general tone of the hosted Exchange/Exchange Hosted Services message, one cannot be blamed for thinking Microsoft is hosting Exchange. For instance, take a look at the pricing/licensing page for Exchange Hosted Services.
On the above page, before you get to the pricing for Exchange Hosted Services – a Microsoft offering, the company pitches Exchange Hosted E-mail – provided by its hosting partners.
Regardless of who does the actual hosting – Microsoft itself, or its partners – it is about giving customers a choice – on-premise/in-house, or hosted.
A third alternative, and one not offered by Microsoft, is managed services – the infrastructure can be on-premise/in-house, but managed by a managed services provider (MSP), which promises the best of both worlds – if you’re convinced enough.
For many organizations, hosted Exchange makes sense – whether it does for you or not depends on your evaluation criteria, cost being a major one. (It’s a hot-button issue for many Exchange folks, and a topic for another post… – Bharat)