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Novell GroupWise vs. Microsoft Exchange Competitive Guide

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Posted: 18 Mar 2004

Good Reasons for Migrating from Microsoft Exchange 5.5 to Novell GroupWise 6.5

If you are like most organizations using Microsoft* Exchange 5.5, you face a vexing dilemma. If you decide to move to Exchange 2003, you face a difficult and costly migration. If you stay with Exchange 5.5, you will still have to move eventually when Microsoft phases out support for the product. To make matters worse, whether you migrate away from Exchange 5.5 or not, you still face the odious Microsoft Volume Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance programs, which in most cases mean significantly increased costs. In particular, if you chose not to participate in Licensing 6.0, you now face purchasing brand-new full-priced licenses in order to upgrade.

Novell has an attractive alternative: Move now from Exchange 5.5 to Novell? GroupWise? 6.5. The migration is easier and less costly, and you will avoid Microsoft Volume Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance all together. What's more, you will have a system that is more secure and easier to manage, keeping the cost of ownership low and providing a fast return on your investment.

Why Migrate from Exchange?

There are several major business reasons why many organizations are migrating away from Microsoft Exchange, including:

  • High cost of upgrade to Exchange 2003 (Titanium)
  • Increased costs of Volume Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance
  • High risk of susceptibility to virus attacks
  • Difficult administration and support
  • Unclear collaboration strategy for the future

High cost of upgrade

Microsoft's Volume Licensing 6.0 program has increased the cost of operating Exchange significantly. As a result, many Microsoft customers are not renewing their existing Microsoft licensing agreements because of a perceived lack of value.

The customers that deferred enrolling in the program face purchasing new software licenses or enrolling in the Licensing and Software Assurance programs. This means that existing Exchange customers must purchase the following:

  • New licenses for Exchange 2003 Server
  • New Server licenses to run Exchange (.NET Servers)
  • Upgrade to Windows* 2000 or greater (since Microsoft has announced that they will discontinue support for Windows 98 and NT)
  • Potentially new hardware to support the new software
  • New desktop licenses to run Outlook

Increased licensing costs is only part of the problem. As you well know, each time you upgrade Exchange, you have to deal with architectural changes that increase the cost of upgrading. Customers who underwent the pain to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 (on Windows 2000 and Active Directory* 1.0) are finding that Microsoft does not provide a smooth migration to Exchange 2003. For the existing Exchange 5.5 customer, upgrading is a complex and costly process. (See the Microsoft Exchange 2003 Deployment Guide at downloads.) In order to take advantage of the full functionality of Exchange 2003 you must:

  • Install at least one Windows 2003 server
  • Plan and deploy Active Directory for your entire organization
  • Purchase and install Exchange 2003
  • Run preparation utilities to setup Active Directory for Exchange
  • Migrate existing Exchange 5.5 mailboxes to one or more Exchange 2003 Servers

With these steps complete, the system will operate in "mixed-mode." Unfortunately, not all of the features and functions of Exchange 2003 are available in this mode. To take advantage of the full functionality, you must run Exchange in native mode. This requires that you complete the following additional steps:

  • Move all remaining Exchange 5.5 servers to Exchange 2003 servers
  • Upgrade all servers to Windows 2000 or Windows 2003
  • Enable native mode support (a one-way operation that cannot be reversed)

Unfortunately, you cannot switch your Exchange system to native mode until you have upgraded all servers to Exchange 2003 and Windows 2003, which in many instances requires hardware upgrades. In addition, running Exchange 2003 in native mode causes you to lose some of the main Active Directory features (such as renaming Domains) that Microsoft markets as reasons to migrate to Windows 2003. Ironically, Exchange is the reason many customers moved to Windows 2000 and Active Directory in the first place.

As you can see, the effort and cost to upgrade to Exchange 2003 are substantial. Moreover, you will need to retrain your IT staff to support not only the new features of Exchange, but Active Directory as well.

Increased costs of Volume Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance

The deadline to make your decision on your licensing future with Microsoft has long since passed, and none of the options were attractive. You could have done one of the following:

  1. You could have done nothing. But that means you must buy new licenses when you upgrade, and you must also enroll in the Software Assurance program at that time. The resulting costs are substantial.

  2. You could have purchased the Upgrade Advantage Plan. That would have given you a two-year extension beyond the Software Assurance enrollment deadline. However, you must pay for Upgrade Advantage for those two years, which results in higher costs.

  3. You could have enrolled in Software Assurance. Yet you must pay high Software Assurance fees whether you take advantage of upgrades or not, also increasing your costs.

  4. You could have purchased an Enterprise Agreement. That gives you upgrades as long as you are enrolled, but you must agree to use only Microsoft products purchased directly from Microsoft, and you must meet certain Microsoft-specified minimums. This approach locks you into Microsoft.

Because they are feeling squeezed by Microsoft, many organizations are considering a fifth option: move away from Microsoft altogether.

High risk of susceptibility to virus attacks

It's no secret that Microsoft Exchange users continue to suffer from e-mail viruses and worms. Through a three-year, $40 billion onslaught of Melissa, Love Bug, Code Red, Nimda and other viruses targeted at Microsoft Exchange, Outlook* and IIS, Exchange users have suffered serious disruptions to their businesses. And that goes right to the bottom line.

The Code Red and the Love Bug attacks alone cost Exchange users an estimated $11 billion in 2001 and accounted for more than one-quarter of the costs associated with lost productivity and virus damage control for all viruses reported during the period of 1999?2001.

In response, in 2002, Microsoft launched their "Trustworthy Computing" initiative with great fanfare. In early 2003, Bill Gates publicly gave an update saying how much progress Microsoft had made in the security space with the "Trustworthy Computing" initiative. Not too long after the Microsoft announcement claiming success, the Sobig and Blaster viruses attacked vulnerabilities in the Outlook client. The Blaster virus was so severe that it brought down mail servers and congested Internet connections for days. Estimates for the cost of Sobig were as high as $5.38 billion.

Ultimately, these viruses severely tarnished Microsoft's credibility. After Microsoft declared the success of Trusted Computing, customers still incurred significant damages. This left customers wondering if Microsoft could fix their security problems, since these vulnerabilities indicate a fundamental architectural flaw in Microsoft security. Two decades of software architecture is not easily changed. Security vulnerabilities are something that take a long time to fix and may not even be possible without complete software redesign.

Difficult to manage and support

Exchange is well known for its management difficulty and high support costs. This is due to several factors, including:

  • High susceptibility to virus attacks. The IT staff spends considerable time repairing damage and supporting users.

  • Cumbersome management by domain. Exchange 5.5 administrators have to manage each domain separately, greatly complicating administration. The only way to get single point management is to migrate to Exchange 2003 and Windows 2003 with Active Directory, and run in native mode. We have already discussed the high cost of making this move. Even if you have done so, the management of Active Directory in Windows 2000 (and even 2003) revolves around Domain?centered tools.

  • Low reliability. Exchange is notorious for problems with reliability and system corruption. As a result, system managers and support staff spend significant time chasing down problems and supporting customers during outages.

  • Constant flood of Microsoft patches. IT managers are always playing catch up with the Microsoft patch-of-the week. This is a doubled-edged sword, since keeping up with operating system and application patches takes time away from more strategic initiatives, yet failing to apply patches exposes the organization to extraordinary security risks that could cause significant cost and damage due to downtime.

Rocky path to the future

An interesting development with the release of Exchange 2003 is the removal of key collaboration technologies that shipped with Exchange 2000. Citing confusion as to where the technologies should exist, Microsoft decided to remove them from Exchange 2003 altogether. Instead, they plan to ship parts of the technologies with Windows itself or as a separate product. This means that in order to keep collaboration functionality, you must retain a Windows 2000 server or upgrade to Windows 2003 and re-deploy the collaboration technologies.

Some of the collaboration technologies that Microsoft removed from Exchange 2003 include:

  • Chat
  • Instant Messaging
  • Conferencing
  • Voice and PBX Integration (Microsoft's Multimedia Messaging)

This begs the question of what niches will Exchange fill versus other Microsoft offerings. Microsoft seems to be undecided as to which technology base will be the hub for collaboration in the future. By requiring the purchase of several Microsoft products (which also means more licenses for Microsoft), and taking a step backward from previous offerings, Microsoft has created more complexity for customers that want a complete collaboration offering. Regardless, customers will need to bear the expense of server and workstation updates in order to get full collaboration functionality.

Another point to consider is that Microsoft's platform strategy is crystal-clear—all services will run only on Windows, and only the latest versions at that. This means that you are not likely to see a version of Exchange that runs on a non-Windows platform such as Linux.

Novell GroupWise: An Alternative with a Future

Novell GroupWise provides an attractive alternative to Exchange 5.5 customers. By migrating to GroupWise 6.5, you can solve the dilemma you now face with Exchange. In the process, you will strengthen security, reduce costs, simplify administration and support and better position your organization for the future.

Lower migration costs

It costs substantially less to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to GroupWise 6.5 than it does to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. A major reason for the difference is that in migrating to GroupWise 6.5, customers do not have to upgrade all of their Windows servers to Windows 2003. This is because GroupWise 6.5 runs with full capability on Windows NT* and on Windows 2000. In addition, the roadmap for GroupWise does not lock you into a particular platform, allowing flexibility for open source options, such as Linux. Today, you can deploy GroupWise on Windows NT, Windows 2000 and NetWare? with a Linux offering planned for early 2004. This further reduces reliance on Microsoft technologies.

According to Ferris Research, a major upgrade such as that from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 ends up costing between $50 and $700 per user with a typical cost of $400 per user. Upgrading to Exchange 2003 incurs almost identical costs. Compare this to the $120 to $140 per user that Novell customers have experienced in migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Novell GroupWise 6 (even on smaller installations of 500 users or less).

More advantageous licensing

If you are like the many Exchange 5.5 customers that opted to do nothing with respect to Software Assurance, you now face the expensive prospect of buying new licenses when you decide to upgrade. You will also have to subscribe to Software Assurance at that time. That is why a good time to migrate to GroupWise is now, before Microsoft discontinues support for Exchange 5.5.

Novell offers flexible licensing options that include traditional purchase or maintenance subscriptions. Licensing features include discounted pricing, worldwide availability, upgrade protection, technical services, consulting and other services to those customers who qualify. Novell offers several purchasing options to customers who wish to take advantage of their volume purchases. In addition, Novell offers a competitive upgrade from Exchange to GroupWise, so you don't have to pay full price as you would if you stay with Microsoft and upgrade to Exchange 2003.

Another advantage is that GroupWise licensing is user-centric. For example, with GroupWise, you do not pay additional license fees for mobile users who need access from their office desktop and from wireless devices. One license covers the installation of the GroupWise server and GroupWise clients (whether Web-based, wireless, or desktop). In contrast, Microsoft requires an Exchange Server license and individual client licenses for Web-based, wireless and desktop clients.

Lastly, for users that have no permanent desktop, Novell provides a Web and wireless client license that allows access to GroupWise using only a browser or wireless device. An example of the type of customer who can benefit from this less expensive licensing option is an airline whose pilots and flight attendants have e-mail access via Web browsers and wireless devices, making the full client unnecessary.

Stronger security

Novell GroupWise has gained a well-deserved reputation for security and resistance to attacks. Exchange is clearly more susceptible to security attacks than GroupWise. What's more, when attacked, Exchange systems experience significantly greater damage than GroupWise systems. That's because Microsoft has implemented a number of Visual Basic hooks to Exchange that permit hackers and vandals to create viruses that cause extensive damage. Unlike Exchange, GroupWise doesn't have Visual Basic hooks, making it far more difficult to create viruses that cause extensive damage.

Hooks in Outlook and Outlook Express have garnered additional unwanted attention in 2003. The System Administration, Networking and Security Institute (SANS), along with the US Department of Homeland Security and Canadian and UK cyber security agencies, announced its fourth annual top 20 vulnerabilities list for 2003. Among the list was both Outlook and Outlook Express, which earned poor security reputations due to the large number of exploitable holes in the products. Erik Kamerling, editor of the 2003 top 20 list, stated "The popular Outlook e-mail application has been used to send many viruses and worms, but the 40-plus security experts that determine the SANS top 20 list put it on the list for the first time this year." The recommendations from the SANS institute include instructions for un-installing the Outlook client in order to remove the security threat.

To present another example, Viable Solutions, a large reseller that maintains both Exchange and GroupWise, tracked the downtime of their clients due to viruses. The chart below, derived from that study, shows the average number of system down days for both Exchange and GroupWise caused by some of the most infamous viruses of recent years. For Exchange users, the hit was severe, ranging from one to four days per virus attack. For GroupWise users, the downtime was so low it did not even register.

Simplified administration and support

Exchange is difficult to manage due to a variety of factors. It is notoriously unreliable and highly susceptible to virus attacks. In addition, Exchange 5.5 administrators have to manage each domain separately.

GroupWise, on the other hand, has rock solid reliability and is far less susceptible to virus attacks than Exchange. In addition, GroupWise is tightly integrated with Novell eDirectory?, the industry's most widely accepted directory service. So you can enjoy the efficiencies of single-point, directorybased management. As a result, it takes far fewer administrators to manage GroupWise than to manage Exchange.

Exchange customers report typical ratios of users to administrators that range between 50 to 1 and 500 to 1. By comparison, GroupWise customers are able to maintain user-to-administrator ratios of over 10,000 to 1. Nathan Parton, Senior Systems Administrator at Thames Valley University in London reports that they comfortably manage about 40,000 users with only 1 administrator. In addition, many GroupWise administrators state that they manage large GroupWise systems with little or no formal training.

Think of the impact these kinds of ratios will have on your system management costs.

Smooth path to the future

Unlike Microsoft, Novell continues to add capabilities to, not subtract them from, GroupWise. GroupWise 6.5, the most recent version of GroupWise, brings a number of new features to the already feature-rich GroupWise 6.0, including:

  • Secure, open standards-based and policy-based instant messaging

  • New, easy-to-use client with productivity tool enhancements that include contact management, color-coded message categorization, message checklist and message heading personalization

  • Enhancement of the GroupWise out-of-the-box wireless support with extended support for mobile devices (including all mobile devices with a standards-based browser)

  • Exposing of GroupWise data, permitting administrators and third-party products to access the GroupWise backend using open standards such as IMAP 4

  • LDAP pooling that allows users to authenticate from a pool of LDAP servers, increasing availability through failover and boosting performance through load balancing

  • Enhanced anti-virus capability using trusted application technology that permits anti-virus software to go beyond scanning for viruses at the gateways and search the message store for new and previously undetected viruses

  • Enhanced spam filtering with several layers of tools for filtering spam from the system, offering administrators and users a variety of options that can satisfy the needs of even the most diverse organizations

  • Even easier management through new administrator utilities and enhanced user and system activity monitoring

  • Enhanced Web access enabling users to communicate more effectively whether they are in the office or on the road

For customers that select maintenance, Novell has published a roadmap with two major versions beyond GroupWise 6.5.

GroupWise for Linux

As the popularity of Linux in corporations, governments and other institutions grows, and as the role of Linux moves beyond Web serving to other applications, GroupWise is perfectly positioned to handle the full range of collaboration needs for any organization that wants to fully leverage Linux.

Many organizations are looking at Linux as a viable replacement for UNIX* and Windows servers in the enterprise. While there are a host of open source applications for services such as Web servers (Apache for instance), there are not any fully developed integrated collaborative offerings, or anything close to providing all the value of GroupWise. With GroupWise for Linux, existing UNIX and Windows server customers have a smooth path and choices into the future, whether that path is moving away from Windows to Linux, or staying on Windows. Customers running either operating system will enjoy the same reliability, scalability and feature set regardless of platform.

Novell Eases Migration from Exchange

Now is the time to get out of the Exchange mire and move into the more secure, less costly, easier to manage and far more advanced GroupWise environment. Your users, your administrators and your chief financial officer will all thank you. And you'll rest easier knowing you no longer face the Exchange dilemma.

As we have seen, it is easier to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to GroupWise 6.5 than it is to migrate from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. Because GroupWise installs on Windows NT, Windows 2000 servers, you can operate in a mixed Windows environment keeping your familiar platforms and still enjoy the full, rich functionality of GroupWise 6.5. Compare this to Exchange, which requires you to run in native mode in an all Windows 2003 environment to take advantage of the full functionality of Exchange 2003, yet you won't be able to take full advantage of the Active Directory features.

In addition, Novell and its partners provide a variety of tools that facilitate the most complex part of the migration?the message store. For example, Novell partner products GWMigrate and the Advansys Formative applet facilitate migration of the message store from Exchange to GroupWise. For more information on migrating from Exchange to GroupWise, refer to the Novell document "Migrating to Novell GroupWise from Microsoft Exchange." You'll find it at products/groupwise/partners/.

Competitive Summary

The following bullets review some of the main reasons why you should migrate away from Microsoft Exchange to Novell GroupWise.

  • Over the last three years, bugs targeting Microsoft Windows/Exchange/Outlook/IIS including Melissa, Love Bug, Code Red and Nimda, have cost the industry an estimated $40 billion. The Code Red and the Love Bug attacks alone cost users an estimated $11 billion in 2001, and accounted for more than one-quarter of the costs associated with lost productivity and virus damage control for all viruses reported during the period of 1999?2001.

  • Microsoft's new Volume Licensing 6.0 and Software Assurance program has increased the cost of operating Exchange so much that according to a Sunbelt Software survey, 90 percent of all interviewed decision makers said their Microsoft Licensing 6.0 costs would rise anywhere from 5 percent to 300 percent. The Sunbelt survey also reveals that almost 40 percent of respondent companies said they plan to move away from Microsoft.

  • To use all of the improvements in Exchange 2003, you must run your e-mail system in native mode. To run in native mode, you must replace all Windows NT with Windows 2000/2003, replace all Exchange 5.5 servers with Exchange 2003, and deploy or update to the latest version of Active Directory. You must be certain that you have correctly deployed Windows 2003, Exchange 2003 and updated Active Directory before you convert your system from mixed mode to native mode because the conversion is irreversible.

  • According to Ferris Research, upgrading from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2000 will cost between $50 and $700 per user with a typical cost of $400 per user. Moving from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 will incur at least as much. Compare this to the cost of migrating to GroupWise. Novell Consulting? Services has migrated several customers from Exchange 5.5 to Novell GroupWise 6 at an average cost of the $120 to $140 per user, even on smaller installations of 500 users.

  • Migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003 will require substantial retraining for Exchange administrators because the architecture is so radically different, most notably the networking (replacing NetBIOS and WINS with DNS) and the reliance on Active Directory.

  • GroupWise 6.5 can run on your existing Windows servers, as long as they meet the hardware requirements.

  • By removing key collaboration technologies from Exchange 2003 (such as Instant Messaging) Microsoft has created more complexity for customers that want a complete collaboration offering, by requiring the potential purchase of several Microsoft products (which also means more licenses for Microsoft).

  • Outlook and Outlook Express have been identified by the SANS Institute (along with Homeland Security, Canadian and UK cyber security agencies) as one of the top 20 products with major security holes that only be mitigated by removal of the product (per the SANS Institute)

  • Exchange customers typically maintain a ratio of users to administrators of between 50 to 1 and 500 to 1. By comparison, GroupWise customers are able to maintain user-toadministrator ratios of over 10,000 to 1. Nathan Parton, Senior Systems Administrator at Thames Valley University in London, reports that they comfortably manage about 40,000 users with only one administrator.

? 2004 Novell, Inc. All rights reserved. Novell, the Novell logo, NetWare and GroupWise are registered trademarks; Novell Consulting is a registered service mark; and eDirectory and the N logo are trademarks of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

*Active Directory, Microsoft, Outlook, Windows and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark of X/Open, Ltd. All other third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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