The Microsoft Exchange product team, sent out a reminder on January 14th 2019, regarding the end of support for Exchange 2010. It will happen in 1 year! Don’t think one year is a long time, read the below to have my perspective of what this means to Microsoft but more importantly what this means to you, and start planning and executing the best roadmap for you. Check here what the Microsoft recommended roadmap is.
Let me start by outlining the simple reasons (in my perspective, of course) of why Exchange 2010 is going out of support:
- Age and Versions – Believe it or not, Exchange 2010 RTM was launched in November 2009, almost 10 years ago. To add to that, we had 3 new versions being launched since: 2013, 2016 and 2019.
- Office 365 and Hybrid compatibility – Exchange online servers get upgraded and the same compatibility standards apply. This means that it makes perfect sense that, as Exchange Online versions evolve, On Premises supported versions tend to be raised as well. Today, if you look at the Hybrid Deployment Prerequisites official information, you’ll see that Exchange 2010 based hybrid deployment is still supported, but I am sure that this won’t last long, and being in a Hybrid deployment will require at least one Exchange 2013, very soon. Logic says that once you start the On Premises upgrade path, by installing higher versions, you should be ready as well to move services to the higher versions and think about decommissioning the lower ones.
Moving on, what exactly does this announcement means, from the Microsoft perspective?
- No more support, bug or security fixes or time zone updates – Basically Microsoft here tells you that you’re on your own, should you choose to keep Exchange 2010 in your Exchange Organization.
- Move to Office 365, move to Office 365 (that’s actually not a typo or duplicate, it’s to show how determined Microsoft is to have you move to Exchange online) or upgrade your Exchange Servers On Premises to a newer version (Exchange 2013+) and decommission all Exchange 2010 servers from your Organization – It’s no secret that for Microsoft, the best option for most organizations, is to move to Exchange Online. Making a product with 10 years and 3 newer versions end of support, is not a consequence of that, but they do take the opportunity to call out those companies, that still have Exchange 2010 or older versions, and tell them to move to the cloud. I do agree that this will be the best option for most of the organizations out there, just not the best option for all, and the reasons are so vast that I could write an dedicated and extremely long blog post about it. In summary probably 95%+ of the organizations, are a perfect fit for Exchange Online.
- If you need help, use the Microsoft FastTrack (did I mentioned that they highly recommend that you go to Exchange Online? 🙂 ), or search for a partner here – This part of the article, the “What if I need help?” section, is actually interesting because they don’t even mention anything directly for if you need help to upgrade your On Premises servers. They basically say that, if you need help, the FastTrack can help you or you can hire a partner, again very Office 365 focused (and I can’t stress this enough: I agree that moving to Office 365 is the best move for most organizations). You can however use the partner search link to, if you choose to, hire one of many great partners out there that will upgrade your Exchange On Premises, if they feel that you’re not the best fit for online, or give you a migration path to Exchange Online and Office 365, better than the FastTrack can provide, if they identify that is the case, by using a third party tool.
And finally, what is probably the most important part, what exactly does this mean to you and your Exchange Organization?
- You don’t have to upgrade, or take any action for that matter, but you should – Your current Exchange 2010 servers will not stop working, and believe me I’ve recently seen Exchange 2003 or older versions still sending and receiving emails, but you should start planning now to either upgrade and/or decommission your Exchange 2010 servers. Do not go into an unsupported scenario, with a service as critical as email should be for your organization.
- It doesn’t matter if your Exchange 2010 servers aren’t hosting mailboxes and/or processing Client Access Services – This can affect you because you have servers with mailboxes and active CAS services, but that’s not the only scenario. If you have some old Exchange 2010 Servers, as part of an Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2016 organization, you just recently had one reason to remove them – Exchange 2019 – and now consider this as one more. Don’t keep non supported servers in your Organization. If it’s because of that printer or app using the server to relay email, or because of an old backup or email signature software that lets you stuck to 2010, upgrade that as well or get rid of it.
- It’s not only about if you’re planning to go to Office 365, it’s also if you’re already there and under a Hybrid – If you’re planning to go to Office 365, getting rid of the Exchange 2010 in the process is a good idea, but what if you’re already there and under a Hybrid deployment? If that’s your case, plan and execute. The ideal scenario is always towards having Exchange 2019 (the latest available version) Hybrid servers, and that won’t happen before you remove those 2010. If your Hybrid is a 2010 based hybrid than the urgency is even bigger: Don’t wait!
Hopefully all of the above makes sense. If not, please reach out to me. It’s time to move on from Exchange 2010. Time to upgrade or migrate, whatever suits best your needs.