One of Agosto’s sales engineers just created a demonstration lab to be able to show on-premise tools for legacy systems. His goal was to be able to show the difference, online, between working with Microsoft Exchange and with Google on-premise tools. He wanted to be able to demonstrate Google’s Directory Sync tool, and what it’s like migrating data and synchronizing calendars while some users are still on Exchange, and others are already starting to use Google Apps. We’ll share more about that soon. For now, let’s just look at what it takes to install and maintain Exchange as a solution.

First you need servers, the Exchange server itself plus an active directory server. These have to be configured and licensed, updated and patched and then you can install Exchange. Our sales engineer went ahead and put these pieces together. He set up the servers, configured all, licensed, updated and patched all, and started installing Exchange on a Monday.

Nearly a week later, Exchange was still installing. All in all, it ended up taking about a week just get to the point of even being able to start comparing any capabilities of Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps.

Google Apps requires no servers, no patches and no special licensing, and takes about an hour to install and set up. There are hard and soft costs to every solution. Purchasing servers is expensive and the maintenance of legacy systems, like Exchange, can cost companies a lot more. The combined soft and hard costs of hardware, software updates, patches, time and staff to maintain things really add up.