Hosted vs. server-based Unified Communications: come and join the debate

Let's get a conversation going here about the relative costs and merits of server-based unified communications in the enterprise vs. hosted unified communications solutions.

Let's get a conversation going here about the relative costs and merits of server-based unified communications in the enterprise vs. hosted unified communications solutions.

Both types of solutions involve capability of PC to PC voice communications within an enterprise, and often, beyond the enterprise as well.

Let's look at the cost issue. As reader and vp-marketing for hosted unified communications solutions provider Rurik Bradbury wrote me yesterday, a cost breakdown of a 20-user setup of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communications Server crunches down like this:

  • 2 servers hardware $2400
  • E2007 Standard Server (incl 5 CALs) $1229
  • E2007 15 CALs $1050 ($70*15)
  • Outlook 20 users $2000
  • Windows 2003 *2 $1400
  • Backup server hardware $800
  • Backup software (CA ARCserve) $1000Subtotal: $9879

  • OCS server Standard software $699
  • OCS 20 CALs + Communicators $1300 ($21*20usrs)
  • SQL 2005 Express (free) on separate server $1200
  • Windows 2003 *3 $210
  • Multiple servers $5,000

    Subtotal: $10,299

    Total: $20,178

And that's not even counting service and maintenance, and time commits from IT folks or others called away from their main job responsibilities to tend to unified communications servers that balk.

Now, let's say I am a 20-user business wanting to go the hosted model. Intermedia's particular pricing structure is $7.95 a user per month.  That would be around $160 a month, or, with one-time start-up fees, maybe around $2,000 a year.

The savings, at least for smaller companies, are obvious. But when it comes to your ability to configure your unified communications server, we are looking at more than savings.

I'd like to hear from some of you enterprise and SMB types out there with thoughts on the merits and advisability of, hosted vs. server-based unified communications.

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