Client growing and needing 99.99% email uptime

Have small business client with only 25 -50 employees that has been growing for last few years and now is getting million dollar contracts. There only communication between them and their clients are through email so it is now crucial to be up 99.999% time and have some type of redundancy in place. For years they have had 1 wan and 1 box - currently SBS 2011 running MS Exchange 2010 /, file server, printer server, etc and runs well. But there have been times due to email issues or other features on the box where had to be down for short time. That is OK for the other features but not for email. There are 2 routes I could suggest ... pay bookoos for second wan, second box (physical or virtual) and have 2 Exchange boxes in sync, plus the cost of antivirus, antispam and maintaining the growing network and issues that arise. Or should I just recommend they go with an exchange hosting company like office.com. They only need like 20 emails for client communication which would be 20 x $48 = $960/ year. For the other 30 staff employees who are all like grounds-maintenance people, just have them use an outlook.com account. The client would literally save thousands each year on IT issues and obtain their 99.99% uptime and redundancy. The only possible "con" is when there are email issues, what kind of support would I get from office.com or maybe godaddy.com? I am not concerned with losing business, just what is best for my client... Just asking for recommendations on how you would handle these growing pains.... thx.
xav1963Asked:
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Wayne88Commented:
Sounds like they don't have a full time I.T staff onsite.  I wouldn't go with the high availability Exchange solution for a client this size.  There is just too much that can go wrong and anytime anykind of server is host locally it involves constant maintenance.  After you get the high availability solution up and running then you will have to think about backup, email archiving, etc.

In this case I will recommend them to go with cloud email solution.  A hosted Exchange solution or Google Office may be good for them.  It solves many of the headaches of maintaining the servers as well as backup and redundancy.

A cloud solution will also already have built-in anti-spam and for this example, nobody have better anti-spam solution than Google.  It's also a breeze to setup with desktop email clients as well as mobile email clients.

https://www.google.com/work/apps/business/products/gmail/
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Several factors need to be considered before moving to cloud based solution. Both on-premises and cloud based solution, have few pros and cons. Let me point out few here:

On-Premises. It is like having your own car.
Pros:
>You have complete control.
>User are connected over LAN and access to mail is fast.
>Don't need to pay yearly subscription.
>Better Security, as servers are in your control.

Cons:
>You need one good Admin to manage it. Like patching or fixing any outage or issues
>High Availability is costly for small org. HA doesn't only means Exchange, you need other things to be highly available, both from hardware and software.
>Servers are not managed properly in on-prem. Like not patching servers regularly. Using outdated hardware.

Cloud based.  It is like hiring a taxi and pay every time you use it.

Pros:
>No admin required for handling any server end issues or patching.
>HA comes for free, if you go for Office 365

Cons:
>Good internet required. If it is down, you are out of business. Though your cloud mails are available. Which is not the case in On-prem as you can still access mails locally.
>Pay every year, I heard lot of cloud vendors are planning to increase subscription cost. MS already started
>Support headache.
>Tough to switch back to other vendor or on-prem.
>Security concern, though all vendor claims no security issue.

Considering all this, in long run on-prem is better, for short term cloud is good. You can talk to customer and let them decide, If they want to invest money in on-prem or cloud based.

Hybrid is another option, but that is for big orgs.
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Jaroslav LatalMSPCommented:
I vote for hybrid solution using Exchange online (Office365) and on-remise Server 2012 R2 with "Essentials Experience" role installed.

It's cheap, easy to use and flexible solution.

If you like it, here are migration steps:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn408633.aspx 


Jarda
1
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xav1963Author Commented:
appreciate all points... interesting how we have 1 vote for each cloud, local and hybrid solution....

Cost is definitely a factor .. Jarda ... So you are recommending 1 in-house exchange server, synced with office.com accounts, but can be managed through the AD from the Essentials Experience role? Correct? And how cheap?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Hybrid doesn't ensure HA. So, don't be confused with hybrid.
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Jaroslav LatalMSPCommented:
Xav:
Do you expect to grow the number of employees? If not, I'd use only Exchange online otherwise buy and install on-premise Exchange 2013.

Amtit:
Xav need only emails HA. In my solution, employee can use OWA in case of on-premise outage.


Jarda
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xav1963Author Commented:
Excellent points... will consider with client and decide... thx...
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