Is it time to “delete” my hosted Exchange service?

ExchangeiconWe’ve talked in the past about the many benefits an Exchange server provides. For a mobile device user, it’s been a very solid option for your mail, contacts, appointments, tasks and notes as we pointed out in our "Hosted Exchange 101" article. Now that Gmail is rolling out IMAP support however, I’m taking a long, serious look at closing down my hosted Exchange plan. I don’t expect I’ll make a choice for another week or two yet, but wanted to start the thought process and conversation now.

I still think that Exchange with a Windows Mobile powereddevice is the simplest and most bulletproof option, but other choicesare now more compelling than before and less expensive. My generalstarting point thoughts on this:

  • Hosted Exchange costs me $12.95 a month; using Gmail is free and provides more storage, which would save me around $156 a year.
  • If I need more storage, I can use Google’s Premier Apps for $50 a year; that nets me 25 GB of space.
  • I can use my e-mail address with Gmail which means I don’t have to make an e-mail domain change.
  • I’m carrying my iPhone much more often than my Dash. The Dash inunlocked, so I have to take my SIM out of the iPhone to use in the Dash.
  • I’m currently touching many of my e-mails twice: once on the iPhoneand once in a mail client due to the way IMAP and Exchange worktogether. Not good for a mobile device user.
  • I’ll need some third party options for the Mac in order to sync my Google Calendar with iCal. Spanning Sync looks to be worth a look.
  • I’d lose over the air synching of non-mail items suchas calendar events, tasks, contacts and notes. I can live without notesand I don’t add too many contacts when I’m out and about. I would haveweb access to my calendar so that might work OK considering I writefull-time and have far fewer appointments than I did when working inthe corporate world.
  • Direct Push e-mail is nice, but I can now get by with my iPhone checking for mail every 15 minutes.

Again, just starting points. I still swear by Exchange; it’s an outstanding solution for those that need it.I’ve realized over the past six months of full-time blogging that myneeds have changed and I just might not need it. For folks in acorporate or high-pace environment, moving to the solution I’mconsidering would be a tougher option for sure. James, for example, isalways on the go with his job and the Google option probably wouldn’tbe best for someone like him. It’s simply a matter of finding andapplying the best solution for your needs. Mine may be met withoutExchange and I’d be foolish not to consider the options.

Of course, Iwelcome your thoughts and will share my additional steps along the wayto the decision!


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