Tool sizes up Exchange migration costs

Enterprises planning to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to the 2000 version of the messaging and collaboration system aren't likely to find it that arduous, according to Meta Group research.

The consulting and research firm Monday unveiled a module for its Predictive Cost Modeling software, which evaluates corporate environments. The module uses scenario planning to identify key costs in an organization's Microsoft Exchange 2000 migration.

The module shows that most Global 2000 organizations will spend between $30 and $60 per seat to successfully migrate to Exchange 2000. The cost could go as high as $100 per seat, considering certain variables like hardware expenditures, geographic distribution, and how well the Exchange 5.5 directory is managed.

The caveat is that the costs assume that a user has already moved to Active Directory and Windows 2000. Both are required to run Exchange 2000.

"Of course, that upgrade can be an expensive proposition," says Matt Cain, an analyst with the Meta Group. "But the good news is we haven't found migrating from 5.5 to 2000 to be an arduous task." He says that once enterprises clear the Windows 2000 upgrade, it is relatively straightforward to add Exchange 2000.

Exchange is the first truly Active Directory-based application that Microsoft has shipped. At the end of 2000, Exchange had 67.2 million seats deployed, compared to 78 million for rival Lotus.

Cain says that enterprises with a "clean" or well-managed Exchange 5.5 environment will see the largest costs in acquiring new hardware.

"If you consolidate servers, you need to add horsepower," Cain says.

According to Meta's findings, most enterprises' plans call for running between 40% and 60% fewer Exchange 2000 servers than 5.5 servers. Meta says the reduction, combined with single-seat administration of Exchange and Active Directory, will lower the cost of operating an Exchange infrastructure.

Cain said Meta is encouraging enterprises to make network operating system (NOS) administrators and Exchange administrators part of the plan for migrating to Exchange 2000.

"We are finding [that] if the NOS people develop without the Exchange folks they are having to go back and do some education," Cain says. "It is good to get those two teams together to plan the architecture for Windows 2000 and Active Directory. There is a lot of education and skill transfer that has to happen."

Pricing for the module was unavailable.

The Meta Group can be contacted at www.metagroup.com

This story, "Tool sizes up Exchange migration costs" was originally published by Network World.

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