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Christopher Angulo-Bertram
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We can help you with your IT needs, we are a Google Apps for work reseller, and can also do many other tasks for your organization.
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Why a small to mid size business should look to alternatives for Microsoft.

To start off Microsoft does not care about the SMB. How do I know this look at their licensing schema:

Do you need email? Well you can do email in a number of ways, one is to just buy a website, and use however many email addresses they give you, this is good, and will work for quite some time, but it gets hard to manage when you may have turnover, how do you access the emails and address book of the employee? So maybe you think that moving to an email server is the answer, so you start looking at Microsoft Exchange. Now don't get me wrong, exchange is a very good enterprise email server, I have been working with it for years, but the cost can be staggering.

First what are the hardware needs for an exchange server? One thing most people do not realize is that exchange does not run on its own, it is run on Windows server, and you will need a license for that, not to mention that exchange will not run by itself any longer, it is integrated into Active directory, what does this mean for you the small business, well it means you may be purchasing more than one server to get your exchange server working. Just looking at the numbers for a Windows server and exchange for 5 users (5 users is the minimum for volume licensing)the cost just in licensing is: 4415.00 for the Windows 2012 standard server, and for exchange to run on that it is 3470.00, none of this is the costs involved with setting you up, and maintaining any of this, and trust me setting up exchange server and active directory should not just be done without a good understanding of what you are doing.

So, now we are at 7885.00 and we have not even added in hardware costs yet. But lets say that you now want your 5 users to use a database so you decide to add in SQL, the license for the SQL server is, 4490.00, now we are up to 12,375.00, and again we have not even started on hardware. Now this is also just the back-end, what about the licenses for our workers computers?

Same 5 users, on Windows 10, because you can't really buy Windows 7 from Microsoft any longer, you may still find some hardware sellers selling older machines with W7 and W8, but we will talk about buying older hardware later. 5 licenses of Windows 10, (at the writing of this I cold not get a license that was not upgrade only) 935.00, but keep in mind that Windows does not come with an office program, that is a separate cost as well. MS office (std) will cost, 1865.00.

Now we have just updated your 5 users with exchange for email, MS office std, a SQL server, active directory, and windows 10, but have not added in hardware costs yet. So, just to start you will have an upfront cost of 15k +- 1 – 3k.

Now I can hear it already you will tell me how you can buy hardware on E-bay, and that will lower these costs, but keep in mind that Windows 2012, Exchange, SQL server, and Windows 10 all have hardware requirements that need to be met, and if you really want good performance that will not slow your workers down, you really need to exceed these requirements.

What are your alternatives, well they are many, but the ones I recommend that do not break the bank, and of course I offer myself are Google Apps, and Linux.

If you only have those 5 users we have been talking about, then your yearly Google Apps cost will be 250.00 per year, so it will take you 31 years of use with Google Apps to have it cost you the same in software costs alone of an exchange server, and we have not even started talking about what happens when MSFT decides you need to upgrade your exchange server.

Google Apps will not only save you the licensing costs, but also the hardware costs, and will give you options of things like on-line collaboration, your whole team can work on files at the same time, and see your updates happen live. Do not think that you will have to have a Gmail address for this to work, you can set up your domain name to work with Google Apps as well. What about that employee that leave the company, well just like with exchange you can make it so that you will not lose any of the precious data that user created using Google Apps for you. Now Google has not only saved you the cost of licensing of exchange, but you just cut out the cost of an office suite as well.

What about that SQL server we talked about. Well for that you can set up a Linux machine (no licensing cost for Linux), and then install maybe MySQL (again no licensing costs). You may ask is it robust enough to handle a really large or small database, well, MySQL is the database engine behind FaceBook, and here are a few highlights of that:

MySQL handles pretty much every user interaction: likes, shares, status updates, alerts, requests, etc.

Facebook has 800 million users; 500 million of them visit the site daily.

350 million mobile users are constantly pushing and pulling status updates

7 million applications and web sites are integrated into the Facebook platform

User data sets are made even larger by taking into account both scope and time

If that does not answer your questions on scalability I don't think anything will. Because MySQL is SQL, if you know SQL as a language you can come over to MySQL pretty easily.

Now that leaves us with your 5 users and their workstations. Now let us come back to your argument that you could buy cheap computers off E-bay or some other place, maybe these computers are corporate refresh machines, meaning some big company just went through and upgraded hardware to newer versions, and sold off the old hardware. This is something that happens in the corporate world a lot, usually because hardware goes beyond the standard warranty period, or even that MSFT says that you need better hardware to move to the next version of windows.

Well, this kind of hardware is where Linux thrives. There are very few Linux distributions that would require super computers to run, as a matter of fact, most distributions can run on the smallest of hardware, your android phone, or a RasberryPi computer. As Linux updates to newer version it almost always stays hardware non-specific, so you can upgrade your hardware when you want not when some other corporation tells you too.

Now most distributions of Linux don't come with an office suite, but there are several available again with no licensing costs, so if Google cloud is not where you want your employees working, you can bring them back to a standard desktop.

In the end you can save yourself so much upfront capital as a SMB using Google Apps and Linux, that it makes no sense not to look at them, and even as you grow your business, Linux and Google will keep up with you.

If you are in the Southern California area and would like to have more info and even a demonstration, give us a call Angbert Enterprises LLC (949)436-6197 or, we would love to help you move your business ahead, by lowering your IT costs. If outside of California, we would love to still hear from you.
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