Dell Targets Exchange Procrastinators

Bundle of hardware, software and services is offered for sites looking to migrate from Exchange 5.5.

With a new migration bundle of hardware, software and services, Dell Inc. is taking aim at the large number of procrastinators now facing the end of support for Microsoft Corp.s Exchange 5.5.

"People havent moved because its hard and it costs money," said Leslie Sobon, director of global alliances at Dell, in Round Rock, Texas. Some 41 million Exchange 5.5 users—35 percent of all Exchange seats—were still on the aging version at the end of last year, according to IDC estimates.

"With our preconfigured offerings in hardware, software and services, we can tell you how long itll take," said Sobon. "This is a configuration optimized for your environment, and we can help companies see the value, time and scope of what its going to take to do this."

Dell put together the fixed-rate, fixed-time and fixed-scope bundles, which start at $5,000 for 100 mailboxes, after its professional services organization performed thousands of migrations for its customers over the last couple of years, according to Sobon.

But not all IT shops will move off Exchange 5.5, said Mark Levitt, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass. "A significant but shrinking number of organizations will choose to fly solo and run Exchange 5.5 without access to support. One explanation for what sounds like risky business is that these organizations have typically had five-plus years experience running Exchange 5.5 and may feel confident that the vast majority of questions that could come up have already been answered and therefore can be easily resolved."

Levitt estimates that 27 million users representing 23 percent of all Exchange users at the end of this year will still be on Version 5.5. For those that do want to migrate, the Dell bundles may not make sense for smaller IT shops, according to Dell user Dale Williams, director of LAN operations at BET Interactive LLC, in New York.

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"We have about 50 users. Because were fairly small, it was well within my means to be able to pull that off. If we had 100 people, that would probably be the line where Id start to think about using bundled services, especially if it was spread across three locations as opposed to two," Williams said.

In rolling out the bundles, Dell will take on chief rival Hewlett-Packard Co., which also offers server hardware, storage and professional services for similar Exchange deployments, according to Levitt.

As part of the Dell bundles, which include EMC Corp. storage offerings, the vendor is using an internally developed online sizing tool that customizes the server and storage packages that work best for each customers Exchange environment.

The preconfigured migration packages cover as many as 5,000 mailboxes.

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Dells migration service includes:

  • Interview for discovery of infrastructure and messaging requirements
  • Messaging infrastructure architecture plan
  • Validation, testing and remediation according to plan
  • Preparation checklist
  • Migration to Exchange 2003; as many as 5,000 mailboxes offered at a fixed fee

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