Exchange 2007 vs Gmail

This is something I read about long ago, I just never had a chance to “say it out loud”. About 2 months ago I read an article on NeoWin, and it had 3 lines that got me thinking: “Microsoft is battling trend for frazzled office workers to give up on Outlook and switch to Gmail: it is promising 2GB+ mailboxes in Exchange 2007 rather than the piffling 50MB mailboxes most workplaces have now. “

I don’t really think that’s the main reason why people are going to Gmail. If I had the choice (here at work I don’t) I would use gmail, for very different reasons:

  1. Gmail has a very good spam filter. I hardly ever get spam on my inbox and have never found a non-spam email on my spam box. I know spam is Exchange administrator’s responsability (or is it not?) but if you are going to sell a product, you should at least make some kind of promotion or recommendations for spam filtering tools and practices. Since GMail has it, it doesn’t matter to use it whether it is because of the tool or the administration, with Gmail they are just getting less spam.
  2. GMail is web (and now mobile) enabled: I know there’s Outlook Web Acess, but most don’t enable it outside the office. Security issues? Whatever, I still can see Gmail outside, work at home if I have to instead of coming to the office on a saturday. Again, promote the web access.
  3. Gmail is WAY MORE USABLE. “Search, Don’t Sort”: A lot o people spend a lot of time sorting their emails in folders. That’s old. Not only old, a hierarchy won’t fit every case. Sometimes you’ll get emails that go in more than one category… what then? I never sort in GMail, I search, and it works like a charm.
  4. This might be just me whinning but Outlook feels old. I was expecting a mayor change in Outlook 2007. I haven’t got the final release but the Beta felt a lot like Outlook 2003 with a new skin.

Size is not the only thing that matters… and Outlook just can’t get it up. Sorry.



Filed under gmail, outlook, usability

16 responses to “Exchange 2007 vs Gmail

  1. igolfchip

    one big issue here – you can’t archive outside of GMail your mailbox.

    One of the only good things is the “.PST” format that allows you to save all your e-mails in a standard (albeit Microsoft owned) file format that should last for years.

    from what I understand, GMAIL lacks such ability.

  2. That is definately a good point. But there are workarounds. You can use any email client to download gmail emails, and backup them.

    Still I think the whole point of gmail having such huge space is that you don’t have to delete or download emails.

    And about the .pst format, that’s another thing they should’ve changed in Outlook 2007. All their formats are open now, why not the .pst?

  3. Have you even used Exchange 2007?

    Exchange 2007 now has an excellent spam filter. Exchange now has an incredible web based search indexer that works on both mobile and web clients. Outlook 2007 has the same indexer built-in if you use Vista (a separate download with Windows XP). Exchange 2007 has also now lifted any database size limits. It’s still a best practice to keep Exchange databases under a few hundred gigabytes, but with the Enterprise version of Exchange 2007 you can have 50 storage groups. This theoretically allows for 15 terabytes of email. For a company with 500,000 employees it would only take roughly 67 mailbox servers to supply each user with 2GB of storage.

    On a much more practical scale for many businesses, a standard edition of Exchange 2007 with just one server can support up to 750 users with 2GB mailboxes.

    Exchange 2007 is an excellent solution for any size company that is trying to maintain a great IT environment. Google Apps is just the way to go for smaller businesses or organizations that need to massively cut back on costs.

  4. Then why are the numbers telling that users are still going to Gmail instead of using their corporate email? I’d like to hear your opinion.

    I still think the main issue is that Outlook, as a client, needs badly a paradigm shift.

  5. Lee

    I use Exchange 2000/2003/2007 with almost 400 mailboxes. Exchange is nice but the cost to manage and support an Exchange environment with 2GB mailboxes, not to mention the bandwidth required to allow attachments of 25MB is costly. Very costly. I’m looking to change to hosted GMAIL. It makes sense and takes off a huge administrative load both on labor, hardware, and software maintenance costs.

    • Hi Lee,
      Just wondering if you migrated your 400 users from Exchange over to Gmail?
      I’m looking at this option for 350 users and am looking for people who have done the migration and how they are getting on using Gmail.
      Andrew Rowe

  6. When you say Gmail, do you mean Google Apps (I assume premiere edition)? This is a variable that wasn’t in the ecuation when the post was written.

  7. Pingback: Microsoft Exchange - The PuritanBoard

  8. I use both GMail and Exchange 2000. However I agree with Diego that Exchange has a massive overhead, no spam filters, very difficult to configure, costly loads of bugs that become a spammers honey pot.

    I think the Exchange / Outlook need a massive re-think. GMail is Free, easy to use, easy to access. No costs, no maintenance, no stress, no trawling for days Googling how to make it work.

    Exchange has become a dinosaur a rellic of the Cold War. I have worked with Exchange for over 8 years and have hated every last minute of it.

    Buy the way does anyone know how to send mail through their GMail account using Exchange – The setup is simple it just never works.

  9. P.S. I have email sending through GMail using ColdFusion8 server – set setup took seconds and has worked with complete stability ever since.

    However even after 8 years with Exchange I still can’t get it to send through GMail – How bad is that!?

  10. jordan

    with google though, you have a multibillion dollar company behind you, with over 22,000 employees working for them, that speciallizes in technology. If you have a problem, they are usually fixed within minutes. trust me, i know from experience. however, with microsoft, if you have a problem with exchange that IT cant fix, you have 1 tech support person, who probably isnt a programmer. trust me go with google.

  11. BJD

    I have to agree with Jordan, but not for the same reasons. The problem is that Microsoft supports incompetence in it’s community by making the tests required to be “Microsoft Certified” so easy anyone who can read a book for 2 days will pass.

    My frustration as an MCP is that the title has become tainted by thousands of MCSE/MCSA/MCDBA’s who don’t have a clue how to do anything. As far as Exchange vs. Google Apps. Google apps is amazing and I use it for family domains. However, I don’t agree that Exchange is worthless and crippled. Don’t get me started on the fact that Microsoft continues to promote a Jet Database as some amazing technology, but I have personally had Exchange servers that haven’t skipped a beat for over 5 years. All that being said, I would use Exchange in cached mode over Google apps for many situations. Once Google finishes Chrome, I might change my tune.

    P.S. Sorry for picking up on such an old post.

  12. websitewa

    The points in the post mainly relate to configuration issues, which for various reasons could be cost and security, and all relate to Gmail as well. Personally I don’t like the All Mail feature in Gmail, and the search in Outlook 2007 is super fast for me.

    Diego in the comments sums up Gmail for me “there are workarounds”, and indeed there are for ‘nearly’ everything you want to do you can work around Gmail, but factor in the time, effort and MAINLY inconvenience for users and it’s a pain the… This year I decommisioned an Exchange server for an organisation due to them not wanting to pay for virus and spam protection, and I moved the domain to Gmail, 4 months down the line they want Exchange back. This was because they had got used to syncing between Mac, Windows, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and iPhone, with Gmail that’s all doable (with workarounds) but it’s clunky and takes effort and isn’t push, even the guy using MobileMe with Gmail complained it didn’t work as well as Exchange, this from a die hard Apple fan!

    Basically I don’t think POP3 and IMAP can beat Exchange, that’s what it boils down to.

  13. esteban

    hola amigos este debate que tienen me parece interesantisimo porque todos tienen sus argumentos total mente ciertos pero yo soy nuevo en las redes entoces quisiera que me recomendaran que es mejor gmal o exchange???
    gracias de antemano

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