Google Apps

Resistance is futile; the cloud will win

It is clear that the IT community is divided on whether a cloud-provided e-mail platform makes sense. The facts surrounding this initiative point to many successful migrations. IT guru Rick Vanover lays out the scene.

In last week’s post, where I suggested that nearly any organization could run on the Google Apps Gmail service, I stirred up quite a range of comments. TechRepublic members highlighted issues with intellectual property, total cost of management, policy, and administration. This is one of the pleasures of blogging on this site; I can get a slice of every segment of IT to comment on how something like an off-site cloud provider would impact their technological landscape.

My take on Gmail as a provided e-mail solution is go for it! I think it is a no-brainer for some scenarios, such as in the case of academia, where there has been the greatest push to adopt this model for messaging. Colleges and universities (as well as many larger companies) have one very strong building block in place to make the transition to a cloud-messaging service easy -– a well-defined cost allocation model. Beyond all else, the dollars have to make sense to go to something like Google Apps. In the case of the $50 per mailbox per year cost, that can be very easily passed on to a student as a technology fee. For large companies, a cost allocation for technological services like numbers that are simple to work with. Calculating cost for Exchange varies widely by size of organization, type of Microsoft licensing in use, server architecture, and e-mail provisioning policy -– namely storage allocation. Very few organizations of any size will provide every employee over 7 GB of storage in an Exchange environment. I’m not saying it isn’t possible with Exchange; I’m just saying the costs go up quickly when the storage costs are considered.

Now that I think that I’ve explained why Google Apps make sense, I need to issue a preface to the other important point should you be considering at migration. This is a classic example of having to identify the differences of manage and control. You cannot control the Gmail service -– you can manage it however. You can control your Exchange implementation as well as manage it. Talk to any good technical project manager about learning the differences between manage and control. Jumping to a cloud application takes some, if not all, of the control out of the internal IT.

That aside, I still feel that cloud applications will be a big hit. The Google Apps messaging segment may be the first clear-cut example of a traditional IT stronghold being sent to the cloud.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

100 comments
JandZ
JandZ

A few simple facts we should all understand here. Firstly Google Apps is not the be all and end all of cloud computing. For those of you from traditional IT shops the "Cloud" (whatever that means) is exactly the same as any other outsourcing arrangement. All the panic and worry just demonstrates you shouldn't work in technology. The world constantly changes, get used to it. You're in IT, we changed it in the first place. This is just another new thing, a bit like sliced bread.

bcisco
bcisco

Ridiculous. No company in their right mind would allow a third party to have complete control over their private data. The litigation issues alone would prevent this. There are other e-mail systems out there besides exchange that are easier to manage and offer more robust e-mail. Look around before committing your eggs to the over blown Google hype.

kraybr
kraybr

Problem with Academia... I don't know about colleges but at the K-12 level we are responsible for open records requirements for all documents regarding student, even the mention of their name to be achieved for retrieval at a later date. Also for implementation to students, as educators we have a responsibility to attempt to thwart inappropriate content which an opened system like gmail does not provide to students. I will however say I utilize gmail, presently having 3 accounts, one solely for technology subscriptions like Techrepublic. thanks, bk

swilsonw
swilsonw

We could never use the Google for our mail. Patient confidentiality is at stake. I can just imagine the fuss the cloud suppliers would put up if we approached them and asked for a security performance guarantee that would cover potential lawsuits in the 100 of Billions. If the insurance companies got wind of such a plan on our part we would not be able to insure our operations.

malcolm
malcolm

The Internet plus Google is too unreliable. While it is available most of the time it appears to fail when it is really needed. Then security is lacking. Poor support. The list goes on. . . . .

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

are these dedicated servers for your company? If not, your company email may end up blocked by Spam Filtering companies if someone spams from a server that you are on! With this in mind, along with data privacy/retention/security issues, why would most businesses look at this as an option? The author made mention of a few businesses that could benefit from this. However, I would bet that the majority would not. These apps are fine for personal use, however, for business use (in most cases) there is still cause for concern/worry and it should be avoided.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It wouldn't be the first completely dumbass technical solution with a large commercial advantage. If it is successful, everyone BUT the providers will suffer. You talk about control and management like they are unrelated. How you manage is defined by your requirements (implemented and defined by the provider) and the level of control you can assert. Providers will naturally amalgamate (accrete might be better word), to provide shareholder value via economies of scale, creating yet another monopoly and reducing choice. They win, we lose again....

solyom
solyom

It seems to me the logical next step. The first step was when I trusted my documents to the mercy of closed source software providers like MS. Now I cannot access my old Word documents with the new versions of Word as MS dropped support for them. (Fortunately I can still use OpenOffice.) Now I will trust all of my personal data to the cloud. This way I may loose not only the right to my own documents, but I may even loose the possibility to retrieve them. The next step after the cloud, anyone?

iftvio
iftvio

A very big issue in cloud computing is the privacy and data confidentiality. In my opinion a public service is ok to be hosted on cloud, but if have a business and you must ensure confidentiality and data protection (your business handle sensitive data) you will definitely chose your own implementation (I have no idea if you could obtain ISO certification if you host your business in cloud and you ?handle? sensitive data). For small and middle online businesses it?s ok to be on cloud, but big businesses I think will refuse to make this step now (and probably even on next 5 years).

dbush
dbush

I believe the comments about $50/year fee for Higher Ed are misguided. Source: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/index.html As a Director of IT in Higher Ed in the midst of a project switching student accounts to GMail, there is no cost involved. They can use the Google Apps if they'd like, but I doubt many will. One of the things I demand is a strong service to students, and GMail is providing far above what we could ever host - and it's "free". However, there is no way in forever I would switch a company account or, in our case, faculty and staff accounts to the cloud, at least for $50/year. Too many regulations and too much loss of control. For someone saying it is completely media spin is to be a little misguided. For any situation you do your research, compare your needs/options/benefits, and make a decision. Cloud computing has a way to come for the multitude, but has a market now as well.

chris
chris

Is "cloud" email webmail? or are we arguing the "suite" or messaging service (what are those exactly?). They have an IM feature. Wooptie-do. Anyway, every really try and work with google docs? So slow. No thanks.

davidg
davidg

Have read all the entire thread to date. One suggestion I might throw out there. When replacing the onsite mail servers with cloud email you can still use Outlook as the client which will allow you to archive your email emails locally on a server or workstation. This would solve an issue with archiving your emails. Takes the local equipment such as an Exchange server completely out of the "cost" concern but still lets users do the Outlook thing or whatever client they want to use. Just a suggestion.

bernalillo
bernalillo

How does gmail address legal compliance? How is my bandwidth affected? Is gmail outlook compliant? (I doubt is since google is willing to store 7g which would toast outlook) Can I create/manage global and group address lists? Group mail boxes? How about calandering and shares? Can I control password complexity? How would I comply with a legal discovery? How is spam filtering controlled and modified? How is antimalware addressed? 50$ x 150 users = 7500.00 per year? Seems high. Seems real high. Maybe not for corporations that are in the dough (which is not all of them) but definately for public education, government and ngo. Seems kind of abusive for private education too. Another 50$ "tech fee"? Isn't higher education expensive enough already?

Ken Cameron
Ken Cameron

I also believe cloud computing will be a big hit. However, I believe the emphasis will swing to "Internal" cloud computing. External cloud computing must address two critical issues: 1. You mentioned "control", but I believe it goes further. How will companies address SOX, privacy, security, liability, and other compiance related topics when they have NO control? 2. The entire outsourcing, cloud computing, SaaS, ASP community must address the issues raised by the FBI raid on the service providers' data centers in Dallas. The core technology underlying cloud and SaaS is virtualization and sharing of infrastructure. The FBI, while only after a single company, shut down many companies by confiscating all of the "likely" servers and storage on which the one company might be running. Oooops! So, if the industry cares about these two issues, I believe we will see a shift towards internal cloud. Then, when we do resolve the issues above for external providers, those providers will be more challenged to justify their offerings because the ROI is much less when compared to internal cloud architectures. This will be very interesting to watch play out over the next 2-3 years.

tmcclure
tmcclure

I'm looking forward to cloud computing. I work for a non-profit. Some of my servers are 5+ years old. Getting new hardware is very difficult. I'm not ready to endorse GMail, but cloud computing (specifically email) is something I am very interested in. Like any professional I'll temper my bias and do my homework. My job is to find the best solution for my users.

bernalillo
bernalillo

IT does indeed involve regular change but not nearly as much change as there are change soothsayers. Thisnk for a minute about how many "waves of the future" we have seen disappear into technological obscurity. My personal guess it that cloud computing will continue to grow to fill the opportunities where it will be successful and then stabilize. How much is that? Less than the number jobs that were off shored to cheap labor call centers. I do see an opportunity for small businesses to have a 100% solution provided to them but I have yet to see a cloud company seriously try to do that.

darpoke
darpoke

I've been trying to say as much myself. Cloud =/= Google. One is a networking paradigm, the other is a single company that happens to be implementing it. In a particularly unique way, too, I might add. You might as well say that the Backstreet Boys* are an argument against music. *When of course they are only an argument against having ears, a concept of taste, or a television :-)

b4real
b4real

I'm not saying every organization could or should go to the clould. But many will and can. Then the market will mature -> Watch out!

dbush
dbush

K-12 has the ability to much more restrictive than higher ed. Imagine telling a college student you're going to restrict e-mails to them because they shouldn't access them. Definitely a different world. Again, it comes to unique situations and cultures within different environments.

avidtrober
avidtrober

can't they just print more money?

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I'm in need of support and references.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

unfond of the cloud notion in general. But one of my employers is currently using Gmail, and it's docs service. We're subject to HIPAA, and I'm pretty queasy about having our stuff 'out there'. Yes, I'm working on that...

avidtrober
avidtrober

I'm not convinced, even if my data is encrypted. I'm no security expert, but isn't access to the box one prime security issue? And, aren't ever-increasing levels of encryption being hacked? Somewhere on a golf course in the U.S. it will get shoved down many throats whether they like it or not.

brett
brett

Cloud email services have come a long way in the last few years and they are definitely here to stay - but that doesn't make them the uber solution. As previously mentioned by others, there are a host of reasons why a business would NOT want to go with cloud email services, including but not limited to: 1. Lack of control, for backups and individual restore, for spam-settings, virus control, and other control issues. 2. Government compliance issues for some companies (not everyone is beholden to SOX, HIIPA and whatnot). 3. Privacy concerns (especially from data-mining companies like Google). 4. Legal concerns (unable to retrieve emails for an ex-employee where lawsuits are concerned). 5. Complexity issues specific to third-party hosted solutions, notably single-sign-on accounts and passwords. However, many small businesses, particularly with less than 50 employees, ultimately do not have as much concern about those issues. They don't need the control, often aren't beholden to government compliance, don't particularly care if someone reads their email, and don't have the money to care about suing someone (and aren't worth suing themselves). For smaller businesses like this, especially for-profit companies for whom licensing is expensive, the costs of purchasing and maintaining even just a single server solution can far exceed the advantages offered by it, when considering cloud hosted email alternatives. Another advantage to cloud-hosted solutions is in the costs accounting, which the accountants love. Hosted services are realized as a steady cost over time, which is easy to figure in as a business expense, while the costs of upkeep of in-house equipment are much more nebulous and take more effort for the accounting folks to deduct. In short, as has been the case for years, the real answer is - it depends on the size and concerns of your organization. For fairly small organizations, the cost advantage is often a no-brainer. For those above 50 mailboxes it becomes questionable, and above 75 the need for conrol, compliance, privacy and legal concerns will probably outweigh the cost advantages.

quamaral.zaman
quamaral.zaman

My friend, If money saving is the only you can think of then according to me you are in a wrong position. It is not money it is confidentiality and privacy.

bernalillo
bernalillo

For my residential users I am encouraging cloud email. Of course my governmental users stay on exchange.

cbader
cbader

I worked for a company that used Yahoo Business for their email. It was a POP account so everybody was still able to use Outlook and download their messages directly but there were a lot of concerns I had that the CEO never answered for me fully (he controlled the email accounts) 1. An employee had to link their work account to a personal Yahoo email account and access it through there. That left us no way to gain access to an email account should an employee leave, die, or if some other unexpected event occured. 2. What about backups and restores? If a user was doing something unethical and deleted all of their emails prior to or shortly after being caught your pretty much SOL.

chris
chris

The issue is not if that is high, it is if it is a better value. If you are using MS licenses and paying for servers and IT guys, your costs may (or may not) be that high now.

kmdennis
kmdennis

Although the FBI raid was a poorly executed job, that is exactly one of the biggest problem with cloud computing. The loss of control is significant for job security and pay justification. SOX is really important. Then again they should be able to destroy the data like the Government did and say it was not important ad a waste of money, time and valuable storage. Or better yet the backup could just fail at the right time if needed, or better yet sacrifice another one of us so we take the fall. .

kulight
kulight

its more likely to go toward internal clouds than external ones due to the issues of controlling your IT systems

support
support

For non-profits, you might look at iMail's entry level server; 25 users, infinitely easier to deploy and maintain than exchange and comes with most of the same functionality. Good luck...

bernalillo
bernalillo

I did a lot of research on inhouse email alternatives. I did not bother with external email due to security and legal issues. anyway, I finally went with exchange due to the high feature requirements of my government offices. However if your users are not as needy as mine you might want to look at Hmail. It is free and ran well for us in our tests. It's feature rich and I know it is in satisfactory use by at least two other substantial IT department. It did not require the beast of a server that exchange does. It works with Clam etc. It may be a match for you.

john
john

The anger factor is interesting. Also I cannot see a cloud-based email solution as being viable in a situation where the company is bound by SEC regulations, HIPPA, or even covered under a comprehensive SASS 70 document? How can you meet obligations such as backing up company email with any guarantee? The bigger the company the more likely that the IT department has guidelines for disaster recovery as well as liability concerns regarding retention of data. This cannot be achieved without total control.

darpoke
darpoke

perhaps the title statement of the forum is a little strongly worded. I certainly accept that cloud solutions are not all things to all people, and that there are many situations when there is little to gain or even much to lose by implementing such a paradigm. The concept of 'winning' is of course relative and arbitrary but I agree it implies a sense of all-encompassing, game-changing status that simply isn't the case. That said, I would be very wary before dismissing it as simply an invention of tech prognosticators, or a concept with nothing to offer. In the right situation this service could mean the difference between a company too small to invest in the level of infrastructure it needs, and a company with scalable services that enable it to grow to a point where it can accept these burdens in-house if deemed necessary. Look at how online presence and storefronts in eBay and Amazon has enabled the proliferation of retailers too niche to be supported by their physical catchment area. Not all companies have the skills or budget to develop their own comparable services, even if they were virtualised on scalable servers as many have argued. And the argument that companies offering services some would consider 'acceptable demonstrations of the potential of cloud services' have yet to be seen, is not an argument that such companies will not be established in the near future. Or, for that matter, that they don't exist right now. Like I've said repeatedly, our company has had our email hosted for six or seven years by a third party company on a virtual FreeBSD install in a server farm somewhere in Europe. The cloud has been around for years. It's viable and it has a lot to offer.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...I worked at a large hospital network, and we were investigating using a SaaS/Cloud/Hosted/whatever solution for a particular need (not specifically e-mail, but messages would get uploaded to and generated from this app). Coincidentally, while we were discussing this, regulators just happened to be on premise doing the yearly audit, so I ran this past them. I was told that just on the generalities, and without seeing any paperwork/agreements, they'd have to advise against it. Vulnerability surface area was far too wide for their liking. Long story short, make sure you tell the uppity ups that it isn't just what they think is a good idea; it needs to pass the muster of the people that regulates/audits/oversees you.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

if Yahoo,Google,MSN,etc. are already hosting email for the masses for personal use, where is the problem? For personal use it makes sense. In some business environments, it makes sense. I am not at a standpoint that the cloud should be avoided altogether. It does make sense in many ways, however, not for most businesses. That is where the hype is at, trying to convince businesses to make the move, and in that regard, I think that it is a very bad idea.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

still stands mostly. If it is not a dedicated mail server, chances are, at some point, someone will SPAM from it. Once the server has been noted as a SPAM server, it will get blocked by other companies filtering services. Once it is blocked, it can take several days and the need for Google to contact the filtering service, to have it unblocked. If the company is a small company of even 10 people, and have dealings with a larger company with said Spam filtering service, how much will it hurt them if they are blocked from these dealings with the larger company for a few days? How about a few days several times a year? I havent looked into Googles offerings, but, if they do not have the option for a dedicated server, then, most companies should not use such a service

bernalillo
bernalillo

I believe the post you reference was limiting itself to costs to address that one element. Of course money cannot be the only consideration yet, in the majority of descision makers positions, it must be taken into account. There are many things I would like to inplement however I have a budget that has to be adhered to therefore some things will not fly. Just to put your mind at ease I consider legal issues, data protection, safety and function to all be on a more or less equal footing with costs. Infact there is a cost element to each one of those items.

bernalillo
bernalillo

We have exchange and 150 exchange cals. There are daily exchange oversight processes but no where near the 7500.00 per year figure. I will eventually have to pony up for a new server and a new version of exchange and cals so the price may be close. On the other hand there is a lot of monitoring capability that exchange gives me. The system is pretty well supported in the user community if not by MS. Whats more it runs smoothly and has a hell of a lot of features and capabilty. I tend to know who is having problems quickly. I have unified messaging with my phone system and syncronised passwords with my active directory both of which make life easier. I am not sure gmail would do as well. Of course dealing with peoples variouis email problems at the client level would not change much. I really dont see that Gmail has much in the way of new solutions, it won't stop people from fat fingering email addresses, trying to send huge attachements to those that can't recieve them or getting archane attachments they can't open. So far I just don't see it. Not for my operation right now, anyway. I'll try to keep abreast of changes but I'll have to see real advantages to changing.

darpoke
darpoke

isn't 'internal cloud' an oxymoron? Surely if you're hosting the hardware yourself it's just virtualisation? It certainly solves the issues of retaining control and enforcing usage and compliance policy, as well as security and connectivity issues, but you then have to *maintain* it yourself too. So once again, it's really an argument for virtualisation, rather than cloud computing.

tmcclure
tmcclure

We looked at iMila asa solution about a year ago. We found calendaring weak for our needs. But thanks for the suggestion.

b4real
b4real

I had case come up where a cloud solution was more expensive than standing up traditional infrastructure.

markbebout
markbebout

Actually Gmail does offer a HIPAA-compliant email solutions in their premier package, which is designed for businesses. This is the package that businesses that want to maintain any level of administration needs to have. In it users get 25Gb in each mailbox, 90 day email archiving (through Postini) as well as a SLA of 99.9% uptime guarantee. While we generally are not signing our clients up on Gmail (we do, however, use a different hosted app) the gap that Gmail fills is very much in need of this type of service. I think a lot of people on here don't understand the business value that a hosted email solution provides, particularly to a small company. While it may or may not work well in your uber-high tech corporations, it works very well for the rest of the business world. And based on the experience that I have had with larger companies, their internal IT group would be hard-pressed to provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee at a cost of $50 per year per user.

darpoke
darpoke

if my post took a confrontational stance at all. I certainly didn't mean to attack your post, though looking back I think it may have been how my reply came off. I fully agree with you about the age and depth of cloud services - they've gone well back to simple public webmail providers, and are now scaling up to present more complete and complex offerings. I think that IT has long bemoaned the concept that the last service the tech industry as a whole performs will be the one that effectively renders it obsolete - and there may well be such a game-changing concept or technology out there. One day. I don't think that day's any time soon though, for better or for worse.

bernalillo
bernalillo

I pretty much agfree with all you have said. I was acually trying to give some examples of possible future clouid successes. The all-services one I would love to see as it would make many small businesses lives much easier. Cloud services such as hotmail go way back. My earlioer post is meant to challenge the idea that inhouse IT will loose out to cloud computing. IT's death has been greatly exagerated for may years.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The service is trivial, it's the content that matters. We have to give them that so they can bill us for providing our own f'ing data. And then the cheeky b'stards say that they can use it to add to their own commercial value. They should pay us for the privilege of getting near it.

brett
brett

It's a bit late to be posting to this topic at this point, but to reply to Mr. Tredinnick: I just came from a company which had a global presence, i.e. multiple offices on 3 major continents. I can safely say we did not need an Exchange server at every office to reliably and quickly service everyone spread across the globe. We *did* need a server located close to a major Internet backbone on each major continent, but that was due to bandwidth jitter and lag caused by high TTL responses on the internet lines, and any mail server will have those problems, not just Microsoft's solution. Global services for large companies like Google only work well because of third party companies like Akamai, who charge tens of thousands of dollars a month to provide web and internet acceleration services, by literally placing hosting servers in various datacenters around the world who's only job is to maintain localized copies of your data for faster local access (it's a lot more complicated, but that's the gist of it). Again, if cost is your primary concern, you shouldn't be looking at an in-house solution regardless of who makes it, because it will almost certainly cost more regardless of the size or geographical dispersion of your company. If control, security, privacy, government compliance or legal rear-covering is more important to you, then an in-house solution still makes the most sense.

david.tredinnick
david.tredinnick

I see a lot of posts here from people who have obviously not actually used Google Apps. The email component is fantastic if you just use the browser, less so if you use IMAP in Thunderbird and pathetic if you use Outlook (written to work with exchange) Calendaring works very well including resource calendars. Google docs are useful in a limited way. The great thing is that they are ALL available to our road warriors with no extra work from IT! I noticed that the "exchange control freaks" (meant in the nicest possible way) struggled to come up with a definitive costing for their preferred option. No surprises there. In a geographically dispersed company (such as ours) Exchange servers must be set up in each office!@#$% Control comes at a very high price which very few choose to enumerate accurately.

darpoke
darpoke

My problem is that 'cloud computing' generally makes it sound more sexy than it really is, while for me 'virtualisation' is a lot sexier than it sounds. And it seems to go the exact opposite way for most decision makers. Still, I guess what we call 'virtualisation' isn't far removed in function to the old 'emulation' that I used to use to play my old NES games on pc back when I was at uni... What's in a name, anyway? :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

What's the differences between an 'internal cloud' and the existing models of server-hosted apps a la Citrix or Windows Terminal Services, etc?

chris
chris

great book, great ideas. It's all in how you phrase it to the decision makers :-)

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'm a developer. Senior Developer as a job title must have been a bit too obscure for you. Does developer = admin on your planet? Are you seriously saying that long term benefit of your customers = short term benefit of your shareholders? Dare I say subprime? Outsourcing? Toxic waste dumping? Realisation of capital? Deforestation? Enron? RIAA? You want me to go on? I'm mean ffs...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

How much luck have you had convincing MS to change their EULA from we own this stuff now, give us some money and you can lend it back....

kmdennis
kmdennis

Are you really giving up control when you use data centers? You do have control over your own racks and equipment. You are paying for a service namely physical security, continuous uptime,cooling etc. but you still have control over your own stuff. SO when company A hires you run the Exchange server and the rest of the Network, are they giving up control to you or did they outsource Net Admin to you? I am getting confused now. If you hire a helper to work at home for you and take care of your household, do you not have control? The helper now becomes a part of the household that you control. My point is I dont see why the much ado about control. If it is on the cloud then you just expanded your operation to include the Admins on the cloud network. Am I nuts yet?

kmdennis
kmdennis

Exchange is not the only email server available. You can use a Linux or UNIX based operating system which can be cheaper to install.

markbebout
markbebout

Clearly you are not one who chooses to have an intelligent discussion with people who have different opinions than you do. You would rather call people names, which simply means you have nothing intelligent left to say. Have some dignity about yourself and just bow out when you are in over your head. There is a reason that you are an admin and not on the business side of things, because you DON'T UNDERSTAND BUSINESS. There is no need to call anyone names on here. It says more about YOU than you apparently realize.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

What are you saying that a business head would pass up on the opportunity to wipe out the competition in order to give people who aren't their customers an alternative? Are you having a laugh? Of course you are getting called names. The only possible explanations, are naivety, stupidity, or mendacity.

markbebout
markbebout

So I read your post again. And again. And other than 3rd grade name calling, your still not making much sense. First off, I addressed your concerns with loss of control, uptime and the commercial viability of Gmail. All you responded to was how I was wrong about the commercial viability stuff, going off on a rant about how Gmail is apparently going to usher in the apocalypse by buying everyone out ("Corner the market, in a way that put's any competition out of business", "Economies of scale, ie acquire your competitors, become market dominant") reducing all of their services, steal our information, and then outsource to fourth world slave (salve?) labor. Wow. I didn't see that coming at all. And all this is supposed to maximize shareholder value? Well all I have to say to that is that is NOT how shareholder value is maximized. Providing long term value to clients at a fair price is how you do it, all the while keeping your internal cost structure and operations overhead to a minimum. And if you don't remember anything else from this post, remember this; EVERY COMPANY IN THE WORLD IS OUT TO MAXIMIZE SHAREHOLDER VALUE, INCLUDING YOURS. That is what companies do. That is what Gmail does. Is maximizing shareholder a bad thing? "So in the long term on both a personal and a business basis I will not benefit, unless I become a successful provider." Not sure what you mean here? An email hosting provider? What do you mean you will not benefit? "Seeing as you seem to be a business head, long term is not until the next finacial reporting period and my bonus is paid. It's not until I get promoted and leave some other poor sap the mess." OK. Gotcha. Not sure what you mean by a "business head". Would that be someone who knows how to operate a business, or maybe manage a department? Apparently as a technician (I am assuming you are a technician) the people responsible for sales, marketing, finance, accounting and operations ("business heads") are all idiots? I am just asking if that is what you mean. "Either that or go back to marketting....". It is actually spelled marketing. As a final thought. Your aggression and accusations against hosted email are unfounded. You make presumptions that are simply not true (every business wants absolute control of their email, just being a commercially viable product isn't enough, and on and on). You do understand that Exchange can run as a hosted application as well, with all the control you could want? Does that make hosted Exchange bad? Certainly it has to be commercially viable, and maximize the shareholder value of the hosting company. So all your fomenting about hosted apps seems unfounded to me. I suspect that the real reason for your fomenting is because you are some sort of Exchange admin who is trying to protect their job, not by thinking about how they are adding value to their company, but rather by assuming their value in the company and defending it with unfair and untrue accusations.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

time, I've seen little ideas, not necessarily technical ones have a serious impact. I'm talking a week of my effort, yielding gains of a 100k a year. Every bit of your ability to do business your way, you give away, you lose some of that ability to make a difference. From the sound of it seeing as you don't have the expertise in house you aren't losing anything, many would be. I'm not saying that solution that works for you doesn't, I'm saying that it doesn't necessarily work for others. Their needs, and their resources are different to yours. Perhaps for instance they have done a lot of integration with outlook and exchange, going to Gmail and google desktop without losing that, could be a serious cost. All I'm saying is don't push the benefits, without looking at the costs, unless like you, they are currently on nothing, there will be some.

jbehl
jbehl

sure, if that %5 is essential, than yes, it matters. I guess i'm just a bit cynical that a %5 technical advantage (and a perceived one at that) really makes/breaks a business. that would be one very very well run business. for the record, I am a techie. I don't have the staff to _properly_ setup our own mail setup, and honestly am not sure I'd want to even if I did with gmail providing %99 of what we want in a mail system. I've all sorts of other architectural/admin issues to deal with and being able to 'punt' one (mail in my case) is a great relief. i'm for outsourcing where it make sense. email is one of those places for us wher eit does. we do all of our own linux admin, networking, distributed auth, etc., and I rather have our folks working on issues in this realm as opposed to running an exchange cluster. i guess it comes down to trust: I trust google to do a good job in providing a robust, functioning, and stable mail platform. So far they have. If they became shoddy or had lots of stability issues, I'd move away from them. It's that simple.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

it's that 5%, that can be difference between sucess or failure. And we are not talking having to provide that 5% from elsewhere, we are talking, not available, gone, lost opportunity. By definition it isn't something a generic provider will want to make available, and if by some strange reason they did, they'd sell it to your competition... Outsourcing, isn't a plus point with techies. Soon to be promoted clueless MBAs with a 'future' in the subprime mortgage business, maybe...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I never said GMail wasn't commercially viable, (for those selling it).... You want business 101. Commercially viable isn't enough. Maximise shareholder value. How do you do that with what is essentially a hosted service? Corner the market, in a way that put's any competition out of business, and commercial viablity is merely turning up. Economies of scale, ie acquire your competitors, become market dominant and then just turn up. You next step, scale up some more and reduce the number of offered products, use your customers information to 'add value', lower quality, pay lip service to privacy and security. Let people go, outsource them to fourh world salve labour. This ringing any bells, Mr Business Head? So in the long term on both a personal and a business basis I will not benefit, unless I become a successful provider. Seeing as you seem to be a business head, long term is not Until the next finacial reporting period and my bonus is paid. It's not until I get promoted and leave some other poor sap the mess. It's just around the corner, it's coming at you now at a large fraction of the speed of light, and you need to start thinking about it. Either that or go back to marketting....

jbehl
jbehl

This crying out about 'lack of control' makes me think...do you build your own data centers? it's the only way to control AC, power, security, etc, or do you outsource that part? I think you'd be a fool to build your own. network connectivity...do run your own backbone or do you rely on ISPs? cell phones...build your own network? I mean seriously, build your own nuclear power plant so you control the source of power if you want too, but I don't think that's very cost effective (especially since you should have a backup nuclear power plant too). My point is people are getting so fired up about 'loss of control' when you're already giving it up in so many places already. It's called outsourcing. Unless you have the massive expertise it takes, and the business sense to necessitate it, outsource to someone who specializes when they can provide %95 of the features you need

markbebout
markbebout

Tony your post is rather incoherent. Who is glossing over a loss of control? Ok, I will say it again. YES, YOU LOSE SOME CONTROL WITH GMAIL! My point is that with many of Gmails paying customers, that control is not an issue for them! They don't have the desire, money, technology and manpower to install and maintain their own exchange servers. Don't you realize that the majority of business out there (in the US) are small businesses? They have no business need for absolute control and Gmail makes very good sense to them. Your whole paragraph on uptime makes no sense at all. 99.9% uptime is fantastic by any standard. What makes you think that uptime does not apply to business hours? Do you know something the rest of the world doesn't? Then you say you are paying $50 per year for something you don't need? Geesh. I am lost. The $50 a year is for the 25Gb (which I NEED!) mailbox, the uptime guarantee, technical support and additional administrative and data tool sets. The 90 day archiving is NOT included in that $50 per year cost. Had you read the entire thread, you would have seen that one of the concerns was regarding US-based compliance laws which require 90 day archiving in certain industries. For an additional $10, Gmail will integrate Postini so that your email account will become compliant. No, it is not for everyone, but some people do need it. As far as Gmail being commercially viable, well you have an uphill battle on that one, not me. It is OBVIOUSLY commercially viable. That is why it is being offered and why we are on here discussing its growth. Business 101, Tony. "Where is the cost of coping with those shortfalls in your numbers." What in the world does this mean?? LOL

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

keep glossing over that loss of control. It's nothing to do with high tech, but security, privacy and accountability. 99.9% uptime might not be necessary for business, 99.9% during regular business hours is a very different thing. So now you are paying that $50 for something you don't need. How many small businesses need privacy, but not 25gb mail boxes? How many don't need/want 90 day archiving? To make the service a commercially viable proposition, the number of products (read options for control) is going to be limited. Where is the cost of coping with those short falls in your numbers. As usual omitted, for some strange reason....