Gartner Research

Decision Point for Choosing Between Exchange Online, Exchange Server, Hybrid and Hosted Exchange Services

Published: 08 September 2016

ID: G00298300

Analyst(s): Mark Cortner , Bill Pray


With Microsoft's emphasis on Office 365, organizations that utilize Exchange are reassessing which service delivery model is optimal for providing email to their users. This document assists technical professionals to decide which approach will best meet their organization's requirements.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point Question

Decision Overview

Decision Tool

Requirements and Constraints

  • Security Requirements
    • Email Encryption
    • Malware Protection
    • Data Loss Prevention
    • Suspicious-Activity Detection
  • Archiving and eDiscovery Requirements
    • Mailbox Storage
    • Retention Policies and Holds
    • Deleted Items Folder Retention
  • Functional Requirements
    • Bulk Email
    • Email Client
    • Mobility Support
  • Network Requirements
    • Service-Level Agreement
    • Internet and WAN Architecture
  • Application Integration Requirements
    • APIs
    • Outlook Client Plug-Ins
    • Microsoft Platform Integrations
  • HA and DR Requirements
  • Compatibility Constraints
    • Cost and Licensing
    • Version Control


  • Exchange Online (Office 365)
  • On-Premises Exchange Server
  • Hybrid Exchange Online and Exchange Server
  • Third-Party Dedicated, Hosted Exchange Service

Future Developments

  • Exchange Server
  • Evolution of Office 365
  • Hosted Exchange Services
  • Workstream Collaboration Tools

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