When it comes to Enterprise software there is one system which reigns supreme and thats Microsoft Exchange. Turn up at any enterprise and you can pretty much be ensured that the mail will be serviced by either 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013 of this stock mail server.
The promise of exchange is a simple one, much like IBM in the 70's No one ever got fired for installing Exchange. The promise of point and click email management, integration with everything on the planet, document collaboration.. It pulls people in..
The simple fact is however unless you are a 100% Microsoft house there is a simple stark reality that all you are using Exchange for is email and calendar/meetings.
We need Outlook, so we need Exchange..seems to be the thought process, this is simply not true, there are systems which are far superior to Exchange out there, which offer Messaging, Calendar and Meetings, better web interfaces AND IMAPS and are designed with plugins to integrate far better into outlook than Exchange does.
Zimbra springs to mind as a better example, which also supports Blackberry Enterprise Server.
The problem I really have with Exchange however is just how poor it is at managing users mailboxes from a Sysadmin point of view. Simple tasks like a director forgetting to set his out of office require account access via OWA or outlook and can't be switched on in the back end. Syncing 2 file exchange servers for DR however highlights what is really wrong with Exchange as it sells on the simplicity of point and click, yet the most simple of tasks require Powershell and command line.
In a twist of irony, the Linux mail server alternatives have full featured GUI's for back end management, and move away from the command line.. While this happens Microsoft suddenly think command line is cool, and create commands which just don't work well, limited feedback, complex output and terrible fault diagnosis..
Then we have the simple task of removing accounts which despite removing an account, users will then get bounce-backs telling the account doesn't exist unless the account was deleted the "right way"
The purpose of Enterprise back end software is supposed to be simplicity, ease of use, out of the box management. I've had Linux Noobs get Open-Xchange up and running doing more than an exchange server in less time than it takes to get Exchange working. With better feedback and management and that costs nothing..
Enterprise needs to move away from this Microsoft in the back end, to using the right tool for the job, not Microsoft because it's there.
Some systems have their place, Active Directory is a godsent when setup correctly in the enterprise, headless 2013 servers with remote server manager are amazing, especially with user right tagging..
It's not even about cost (and CAL's and licences are not cheap for Exchange) as alternatives are also expensive..