It's officially the end of the road for MS Exchange Server 2010. After a ten-month extension temporarily prolonged its life, the final end-of-support date has been announced.

As of October 2020, users will need to find an alternative for the soon-to-be unsupported product.

With the deadline to complete your migration fast approaching, now's the time to make your move. Ahead, we'll look at options for other email messaging programme to help you figure out how to carry on uninterrupted.


What is Microsoft Exchange Server?

Microsoft Exchange Server, more widely known as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Web access, is an email management system that centralises a user's messages, contacts and calendar through Microsoft Exchange software and stores it on a server.

Lifewire summarises its communication and organisational features as:

 - Email hosting

 - A calendar component, including collaborative features like meeting invites, shared calendars and bookable resources

 - Contact management providing an organisation-wide address book, as well as personal contact stores

 - Collaborative task management, such as the ability to delegate tasks to another user

 - Sticky notes, files and others

For years, it's been the backbone of business. Thousands of SMBs and corporate customers have used it as their primary mail server. But soon, the groupware server is undergoing changes that may impact them in a big way.


When is its EOL, and what does it mean?

The end-of-life (EOL) date for the 2010 version of MS Exchange is October 13, 2020. After this time, it will officially fall out of "extended support." Meaning, no more free security patches and increased liability for any organisation that fails to make a switch.

With this "unsupported" status comes the official end of Microsoft's "premises-based business products." It's a move we've grown accustomed to seeing over the years, with certain MS products and services outgrowing the support phase after about 10 years.


What's next?

So now that you know what's coming, what should you do about it? One simple solution is to upgrade to Exchange Server 2013 or Exchange Server 2016 to access the new email server version.

However, Microsoft's strong recommendation is to make a full migration to Exchange Online and utilise the rest of the features offered as part of their Office 365 subscription.

Need a little help with the change over? Microsoft offers the following migration resources and support for its users.

 - Read Microsoft's "Exchange 2010 End of Support Roadmap" document

 - Visit Windows Server 2008 migration options page

 - View Microsoft's Extended Security Updates FAQ document

 - Research Microsoft's partner-assisted FastTrack programme

 - Hire a Microsoft partner to walk you through it via their search portal

 - See the Microsoft Exchange Server deployment checklist

Feeling nervous about the unknown? Don't worry. Closing out this chapter of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 could be just the catalyst you need to catapult your business to the next level.