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Amazon WorkMail an Alternative to Exchange?

This week saw the launch of Amazon WorkMail, what could be a serious alternative to Microsoft Exchange. But is it any good and could it really replace MS Exchange? Or if you don’t already use MS Exchange what is all the fuss about?

We’ll break it down into three sections:

  1. What is Amazon WorkMail?
  2. Amazon WorkMail v Microsoft Exchange
  3. Amazon WorkMail v traditional email systems

What is Amazon WorkMail?

Firstly key thing to look at is the name ‘WorkMail‘. As the name suggests Amazon is clearly pitching this at businesses / corporate clients. This is a per user subscription based email system.

Amazon Workmail appears to be keeping it’s message very simple and appealing to those that just want a really good service, don’t want hassle, want to know it works and won’t go wrong.

  • We do emails really well
  • You wont run out of space because there is a lot of it
  • We will manage your calendar online
  • We will manage your contacts online
  • It’s all in the cloud so you can access it from everywhere
  • It’s all really secure and safe so don’t worry
  • Oh, and you can even use the same software you use now so you don’t have to change anything

TheAmazon Workmail simple message is backed up by the Amazon brand which gives confidence. Pricing is very competitive at around $4 per email account.

Amazon WorkMail v Microsoft Exchange

I should start by saying I’ve been using a hosted Microsoft Exchange service for the last 4-5 years. I love the fact that I can go to any machine or internet connected device and access all of my emails dating back to the year dot! I like the fact that it’s hosted with a big reliable company that I can trust not to disappear on me. I like the fact other people can access my calendar for work.

There are probably countless other features available to me with MS Exchange. I recently upgraded the company to using MS Exchange 2013 from 2007. The only reason was we needed more space.

How does Amazon WorkMail compare?

  • Both have large email box
  • Both offer webmail, Outlook access, Smartphone access
  • Both are backed-up in real time
  • Both offer shared calendars and contacts
  • Both are secure
  • Both operated by big brands

I pay about $8 per email address for Microsoft Exchange 2013

Amazon WorkMail will retail for about $4 per email address.

Amazon WorkMail v traditional email systems

There are a number of other good options for running your business emails:

  1. Use hosting company that runs your website
  2. Use Google Apps (which is like Gmail for business)
  3. Use webmail like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail

Running emails from the same server you host your website is ok, however as your business grows you will encounter problems. More support, reliability issues, if the website goes down does the email etc.

Our business NEEDS email. If it’s down for an hour we start loosing sales. If it’s down for a day we’ve lost thousands. For the sake of a few $ per month per user, with minimal support requirements, is it not worth paying for?

Comparing Amazon WorkMail to Google Apps is probably the closest comparison. Google is much cheaper than Microsoft Exchange. 5 million businesses use it so it must be good. Personally I’m not a fan of the interface but that’s just me.  Another good alternative to these two would be Rackspace’s managed email platform ‘Rackspace Mail‘.

Comparing Amazon WorkMail to Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail etc? Well if you are using these types of systems for your main emails for work then you really are not the ideal client for Amazon. You should seriously look at upgrading! So actually maybe you are the right client.

Summary: Is Amazon WorkMail good?

I’ve not yet got access to account so it would be unfair to judge it. However for me I would say it’s a very strong contender. If you don’t need all of the features which come with MS Exchange, which I genuinally think most people don’t even know what they are, then Amazon WorkMail is a great alternative. It’s going to give you the features you need, reliability, simplicity and it’s going to save you money.

Google Apps is a great alternative, but as I’ve said above I’m not a fan of the interface. But that’s just me, 5 million other businesses clearly like it :)

 

Links and Resources:

Amazon WorkMail:  http://aws.amazon.com/workmail/

Hosted MS Exchange Supplier:  Sherweb

Rackspace Hosted Emails: Rackspace 


February 1, 2015