The decision was made by the executive team at the tiny firm where I work to abandon the infrastructure and m0ve to 100% hosted services. Here are some of the ‘gotcha’s’ if you have an existing Active Directory infrastructure and you move to a hosted provider:

1) Don’t forget to export your old profile in Outlook to an archive file before you create your new profile. You will long to see that history in, oh, about five minutes after you see a shiny bright (but empty) new mailbox.

2) Your migrated calendar items will not allow you to edit them. Outlook (correctly) thinks you are a new user. You will have to destroy and recreate the item if you need to change it.

3) Your mobile phone profile must be recreated (same reason as above)

4) Shared resources should not have their items moved, rather, they should be recreated all together

Of course, it goes without saying that you should research your vendor thoroughly in advance to understand:

1) Support. I mean like, do you get to talk to a live person if you need it? The selected vendor in this example prefers that you do NOT call; rather, post your issue on the support site and wait for an answer. While this is expensive in terms of your time, with this particular vendor it proved valuable in the sense that the extremely poor advice they were giving was documented.

2) SLA’s. Yes, yes, everyone claims 99.999% uptime. But what recourse do you have when the provider posts a message on their website apologizing for Exchange 2007 being down, we are working with Microsoft now, check back later please?

3) What services are they actually providing? Using the vendor that my soon to be former employer chose as an example, while their website states things like, “standard 14 day deleted items retention for Exchange 2007 subscribers”, this translated to eight hour deleted item retention unless you ‘upgraded’ for a ‘nominal fee’.

Michael Osterman, a leading analyst in the messaging and collaboration space, I wish we could have retained you to help choose a vendor rather than the ‘Picked the top Google search vendor’ approach.

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