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More and more companies are moving their email to the cloud. Microsoft Exchange is the number one Business Email Platform and more and more offerings of Hosted Exchange are becoming available. One of the more confusing topics for Hosted Exchange revolves around the type of environment a customer receives for their Exchange environment. It is important to understand the differences.

The two primary environments in a Hosted Exchange environment are a dedicated or a shared / multi-tenant environment. Depending on which environment to go with will be dependent on the company and its business needs. Another factor can be costs, as there can be a distinct difference in the pricing structure. We will break down these two environments in an attempt to define the primary differences.

A shared Hosted Exchange environment is just that—shared. It’s also known as a multi-tenant Exchange environment. Multiple Hosted Exchange organizations on a single Exchange server. Customers will still have address list segregation and other features that make the multi-tenancy invisible to the end users, but there are many Exchange features that are not available in the model. Just to name a few:

Exchange Management Console

Public Folders

Unified Messaging Server Role



The list continues and is quite extensive. This should be something a business looks into and considers very carefully based on how they already use their messaging system.

A dedicated Hosted Exchange environment differs in that it will be an environment that, while hosted, is dedicated to a single company. Another way to describe it is if a company has its own Exchange server(s) and environment, move that server(s) and environment to the cloud where it will be hosted by someone else. However, all the functions you have today and any customization will still be possible.

Hosted Exchange tends to make good business sense for many companies, and many companies are making the move to such a hosted email environment. Ensure you do your due diligence with at least the following:

Thoroughly understand your current environment

Understand your business requirements related to email such as compliancy

Know your users and what their expectations are

Thoroughly understand each hosting model, what it provides or doesn’t provide, and go beyond just cost.

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