Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Why Use Exchange?

Mitch Kapor's Weblog: Why Use Exchange? "Why Use Exchange?
After a number of comments to my previous post, some a bit acid-etched, questioning why I was using Exchange at all instead of a Lotus/IBM product for calendaring, I checked and realized I had never posted an explanation about my product choice, though it's been a staple of my informal talks and speeches for a long time.
One of the top requirements in a PIM for me is to have a shared calendar. My assistant Esther Sun schedules appointments and keeps my calendar, so we both need access to it. My wife Freada and I co-ordinate our professional and personal lives, so we need to see and update each other's calendars. Freada has an office staff for her consulting work and her non-profit activities and they need access. And so on.
Lotus Notes with a Domino server does a good job with calendars, but because of the high administrative overhead it doesn't make sense in a small office. In fact, Ray Ozzie, the product's creator freely acknowledges it's not a sensible option for an installation under 500 seats. It's not a lack of loyalty to my old company but pure pragmatism which steered me away. (The Groove calendar, by the way, is unfortunately underpowered for our needs.) Outlook/Exchange was the least bad of all the existing alternatives.
The constraints of the Exchange-based solution have been, of course, a major motivation, for the development of Chandler."

I wish this type of conventional wisdom were challenged more often. I've been using hosted Notes/Domino from eApps for several months at $40/month, for example -- for up to 10 users/Notes ids, 5 gigabytes of Web traffic, multiple FTP accounts (i.e., the same $40/month covers my Web site), etc. I also think a lot of the admin overhead will persist even if the software part of the equation is made "as simple as possible" and free.
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