Managing e-mail technology is by itself not too difficult. Complexities arise when determining costs, setting archival requirements, ensuring it's being used for its intended purposes, managing storage, determining licensing costs, and keeping in mind other finesse elements of a technology that is now critical to nearly every organization.
Google's Gmail beta product is out to make this easier for some organizations. Gmail, while still in beta after five years, is the third most popular e-mail provider on the Internet by most reports. I don't use Gmail for my primary e-mail; yet like many others, I have an account.
Google offers a piece of off-premise cloud computing that can make some e-mail headaches go away. The Google Apps messaging offering allows organizations to host their e-mail with Google to eliminate a lot of the on-premise issues with managing e-mails. The Google Apps offering is also cost beneficial to many organizations. Take a moment and determine how much each mailbox costs internally when running solutions like Microsoft Exchange. The Google Apps messaging product for business is $50 per mailbox per year for the entire solution, excluding labor. Check the cost calculator that is provided online at the Google Web site.
Now, I am not saying that the world should rip out their on-premise e-mail systems and switch to Google. But, I like the direction this is going. I think the small and medium business has a clearer cut decision that this is a good idea, and the larger enterprise may need to mull decisions for a large move like this.
Recently, a couple of situations where this transition is happening can be found in academia. Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, will have the class of 2013 use Gmail in this fashion reported here. Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, also is using the Google Apps messaging for student e-mail access.
The truth is Google will win and be successful in this endeavor, but how far it reaches into the larger organizations is yet to be seen. There have been issues migrating to this model for some of the early adapters, but this should improve and get smoother as time progresses. What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you think of the security/privacy implications? Please comment below.
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.