Microsoft is making a push to O365 from Exchange On-Prem.
— Lou Corriero, VP of Cloud Technologies
The amount of upkeep and troubleshooting involved can be quite daunting for an IT department or even an infrastructure team. In his opinion, these resources are best spent elsewhere.
Having Microsoft Exchange on-prem requires particular build and patch levels to keep up with security and take advantage of the latest features. Generally, this is measured in cumulative updates specific to your Exchange version (Exchange 2013, 2016, or 2019), with cumulative updates; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. Each Cumulative Update is a full install of Exchange. These require lots of attention to detail to ensure your .NET Framework versions are compatible and the Active Directory environment is prepared properly for each step of the upgrade. Additionally, each CU will have its own security patch releases which can be retrieved via Windows Update. These often require downtime as Windows will require a reboot after the patching.
Microsoft had previously released cumulative updates about every six months, requiring their clients to upgrade their servers. Today, the increasing number of software bugs and issues have warranted Microsoft to release cumulative updates every two months in some cases with security patches being even more frequent.
IT departments must constantly complete these updates that come with inevitable issues. These include downtime, issues before and after readying servers and Active Directory environments, and the possibility of the servers not coming back up which requires rollbacks if even possible. Who wants to be restoring their entire Exchange environment after a failed upgrade?
Recently, IT Vortex engineers searched a client’s build number and cross-referenced it with the cumulative update and patches. The Exchange environment was on CU23 for Exchange 2013, but the patch level was not satisfactory for our client’s desired cyber security insurance. This was able to be remedied but required some downtime.
As Microsoft is now releasing these cumulative updates so frequently, the revisions are not only incrementing as a number but also security and bug fixes released in patches. This makes Microsoft’s push to O365 from Exchange on-prem apparent. Moving to Office 365 removes any updating or patching as it is completed on the backend by Microsoft, generally with no interruption to service.
Microsoft O365 provides a secure and transparent service that can pay for itself in employee hours spent troubleshooting and keeping up with an on-prem Exchange install.
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