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What are the main benefits of using Exchange over Gmail?

I currently use Gmail and sync my Outlook calendar via ActiveSync to phone and to Google Calendar via Google Calendar Sync.

Does Exchange offer any benefits in synchronization of e-mails and calendar?

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depends upon your industry. privacy may be of a major concern - that means use Exchange. – johnny Aug 21 '09 at 17:52
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The benefits of Exchange are primarily seen in the Enterprise where the ability to centrally manage accounts is useful. It also provides a more integrated experience with Outlook of course.

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With Google Apps, neither of these are true anymore. See also: – arathorn Aug 21 '09 at 14:19
While I will agree to a great deal that you are technically correct, corporate inertia takes a long time to overcome. – EBGreen Aug 21 '09 at 14:28
@EBGreen: Yep. So, maybe the main benefit to Exchange anymore is just the fact that it's widely used. – arathorn Aug 21 '09 at 14:32
I would say more that Exchange is considered to be 'safe' because it stays 'within' the company walls. – Niels Basjes Aug 21 '09 at 14:45
Also from a corporate point of view it means you're not reliant on an active internet connection for internal communication. If you want the best synchronisation your better off looking for something that pushes data to your phone like a blackberry or one of the android phones if your using gmail. – Col Aug 21 '09 at 15:05

I have had experiences with companies using Exchange and Gmail, here are my comments:

Exchange (especially 2007) has many many many features, some of which you will never use. It can even manage voice mail integration.

If you have >100 users, rely on email for your business or have any sort of complicated requirements such as shared folders, shared mailboxes e.t.c. I think there is nothing better than Exchange. I have a Windows powered phone and have my contact list, todo list and notes synchronise to my phone and outlook... I have set up complicated policies for users such as some can only send to some addresses, everything archived in a place, some users can share others mailboxes, some can send on behalf of other users (assistants e.t.c.)

Additional servers are provisioned easily through the wizards, Basically, it just works, and works very well. (also, Nokia, RIM, Apple all work against it well)

Google on the other hand, I think for small companies or places that do not have a lot of emails works just as well. At the end of the day, you can send and receive just fine. The sync features have gotten a lot better. Also for smaller companies, it is probably cheaper for Google to host it than the electricity bill of having a server on 24x7x365.

For larger companies, whilst I know some do use Google, I really would not recommend it, it is doable, but it simply lacks the real business features that some of my clients (in 500+employee companies) rely on for their business.

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Well of course the big thing is that you host exchange yourself. Beyond that, Exchange has better group calendaring, resource scheduling, public folders, tasks, centralized management that integrates with an existing active directory domain. There's just a lot in there.

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There are many companies that offer hosted Exchange solutions, including Microsoft's Exchange Hosted Services: – shufler Aug 21 '09 at 18:29

To be honest with you I would prefer an Exchange server period! I am an avid Linux user and support the Open Source realm; however, you cannot come close to the capabilities that Exchange can give you (hosted or in house) with Google apps. Also, who are you going to call if something goes wrong with Google? Just imagine that you are one email away from closing a deal and your email no longer works? I guess you have to wait on that email from Google!

With Exchange (hosted or in house) you have a support mechanism, the phone! For small businesses that cannot afford the cost of an in house server that has Exchange (I.E. SBS 2008) hosted exchange is the way to go! You pay a flat fee and get ALL the features you normally would receive with an in house server without the hassle of setup, support and maintenance (or especially licenses).

For the small guy who doesn't really care about having a shared calendar, synchronized communications, and complete control of their company data and policies then I guess Google is your thing because it's free. Just remember that in the long run you do get what you pay for!

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I think exchange is better for enterprise situations because you can control the server, access to the server and how the data is backed up on the server. With GMail or Google Apps there is less control. Also, should your internet be down but your network up, people can still get to their calendars and tasks lists with exchange, not so with Google Apps.

If a company has the resources and skills for exchange, the degree of control can provide security or comply with legal issues that GMail cannot. For a small company without a dedicated mail server admin, Google Apps can provide a low cost alternative but skip some of the higher level control and esoteric features.

While I couldn't list for you the differences, I am sure the enterprise controls and features for Exchange are vast a many. Whether or not you use them is a different issue.

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Just from the top of my head, Microsoft Exchange has these advantages over Gmail:

  1. Works tightly with Microsoft Active Directory. This allows for the creation and management of users, distribution lists, that is also integrated to user's access within the enterprise environment.
  2. Works best with Blackberry BES to give secured mobile access to emails.
  3. Works best with Microsoft Outlook to give users the ability to work offline on their laptops.
  4. Has the ability for a business to have 100% control over their messaging environment to meet regulatory requirements for retention, reviews and controls.
  5. Has the ability to be designed to give site outage with metropolitan WAN and clustering.
  6. I'm not 100% on this, but it probably has a larger selection of enterprise third party applications that give you the ability to extend the messaging system for the enterprise. For example, for financial compliance there are a number of third party vendors selling systems to work with Exchange to meet regulatory requirements.
  7. Needless to say, Exchange has tighter API integration with Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products.
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