Alternative to MS Exchange

A client currently uses a hosted Microsoft Exchange service with BES costing around £10 per user per month. They want to investigate moving away from this option as the price is due to increase. I’ll be posting my findings on here soon.  The options open to them are to be evaluated over a 3-5 year timescale. The options on the table are:


  • Move to another Hosted Exchange Provider
  • Investigate migration to GMail for Business
  • Investigate an open source equivalent


Moving to another Hosted Microsoft Exchange Provider

This option is the most obvious, as having used Microsoft Exchange for 4 years it should be a simple matter of migrating the mailboxes and updating the DNS entries.  Outlook will also need to be reconfigured for each mailbox, so given a total of 25 mailboxes this isn’t too hard a job (probably 2-3 man days work)


Costs will be broadly similar to the current outlay of about £250 per month or £3k per year


Investigate migration to GMail for Business

This poses more of a challenge for migrating from a hosted Exchange environment. I’ve to do some more research on this option to see what benefits over the hosted Exchange option will be, but the client is attracted to the “big name” of Google and the flexibility of it all.


Pricing is cheaper than the current solution at around $10 per mailbox.


Investigate an open source alternative to MS Exchange

In this instance, I’m classing only “free” open source alternatives as valid options.  So, essentially the likes of Citadel etc.

Costing factors would need to include hosting, support over the 3-5 years life span of the project.



I’ll be posting back with some more detailed findings soon…  Part 2 here


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Comments (5)


  1. [...] part of an investigation for a client who wishes to explore moving away from their current “Cloud” Email provider, I have [...]

  2. Paolo Vecchi says:

    Probably you are not aware that there is another alternative: Zarafa.

    Available both on-site or hosted, Zarafa, can fully replace Microsoft Exchange with a pricetag that is even lower than Gmail.

    At a cost of £1.20 per user per month, all features included, it can be even installed on site as it requires very little maintenance and it’s so light that for 25 users a simple Atom based appliance would be more than enough.

    More info:

  3. Paolo Vecchi says:

    You are very welcome.
    At the end I represent the only distributor specialised in Commercial Open Source solutions in Europe so we constantly test solutions that, if validated, may make it into our portfolio.

    You may want to have a look also at our forthcoming project “Auxilio Server” on (site not 100% finished but we are getting there).

    • The Business Cookbook says:

      Interesting Paolo, I also look to use open source in commercial enviroments. Perhaps there could be some potential business oppotunities in the future.. :)

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