My company is switching email servers and I wanted more input from people who know more about IT. We are a small company that would only have 7-8 users. We use MS outlook and need a compatible solution. Im not sure what server we are switching from but i have been looking at google apps. Exchange is a little more expensive but we are considering that as well. Any suggestions/ recommendations regarding these two or others????
Get exchange, hosted. Self-hosting is not cost efficient - it is a pretty big resource hog downscaling. 7-8 users put you around 120 USD per month, without any need to handle backups etc. And to have the know how - exchange is pretty complicated all in all.
Alternative - smartermail (http://www.smartertools.com/)
Google apps sucks for that - you WANT something that fully integrates outlook (2010 soon) AND allows smartphone integration. Exchange is a LOT better for companies - integrated timeplanner, contacts and all that also real time on phones. Push. There is a reason companies go for exchange. Plus, depending how much you install, it can read you emails over the phone and you can move appointments with voice control - nice if you are in a car ;)
Well, you're making a pretty broad request. Without knowing exactly what you're company is doing and what sort of IT staff you have available to you, it's hard to make a good recommendation. That said, here are a couple of things to consider.
Microsoft Small Business Server 2008
SBS2008 is an exceptionally good way to get a lot of MS technology at a fairly affordable price. If you're already running a Windows Server, this can be purchased for not a lot more than Windows Server Standard. Much of the administration can be handled through wizards and it offers office staff a means of accessing their desktops remotely. In many ways, it provides a nice packaged solution for the most common tasks that small businesses have. Assuming you're already using office (as evidenced by your Outlook comment), it could easily fit into what you've got now.
The major downside to Exchange is that you'll probably need someone to come into the company and help set it up. Once it's configured, you probably won't have to mess with it a whole lot.
Google offers a lot of cool tools to people at low prices. You're essentially paying a recurring monthly fee to outsource your software and services to them. It does limit your ability to integrate Outlook and some third party tools/software but you also don't have the startup costs and issues. If you're already office users, the differences may not be thrilling to your users though.
The major downside to Google is that you're giving up control of certain aspects of your IT infrastructure in exchange for less management on your side.
Zimbra is actually pretty good too and free depending on the number of users. It works with smartphones / does a push and has a slick web interface as well
Much of your decision must come down to the level of expertise available to support any in-house server. While I will always opt for self hosting, the very fact that you've asked the question suggests to me that you should be looking only at a hosted solution. The small number of staff you have just doesn't warrant the headaches and expense of doing it in-house. If possible try and get evaluation accounts for likely looking possibilities and give them a test drive. Make sure that whatever you choose has the features you really want.