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  • coda6 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    What type of compliance/audit data is available and how do they auditors access? Reply
  • Philippe Creytens - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Coda6,

    Our company was mentioned in the article and I picked up the article via Google Alerts. We have a couple of Google Alerts running for key words like our company name Romneya and/or competitors. So far the introduction...

    I don't exactly understand your question, but there are two topics I would like to point out: Google Apps for Business, as it is called now, is FISMA certified (US Gov) and SAS70 type II. There is more info on http://www.google.com/a/.

    Also do a quick google for the Google Apps Security Whitepaper. It explains how Google deals w/ security.

    If you mean internal auditing, there is the Google Apps Audit API. It allows Google Apps administrators to audit a user's email, email drafts, and archived chats. This API can be used only for lawful purposes in accordance with the Customer Agreement.

    In the Google Marketplace you can find 3rd party applications (based on the API).

    --Philippe
    Reply
  • Ed051042 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    This is not very well written, certainly when compared to other AnandTech articles.

    You state: "E-mail must be about the most essential IT tool your employees have, so it is not wise to take any risk there." So, there's zero risk in using cloud email? Thirty seconds of research would argue otherwise.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I was thinking the same thing. Just last week Google announced that many had lost access to their e-mail accounts. Google downplayed it, but it just goes to show what could happen when you put your data in someone else's hands. Reply
  • igf1 - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - link

    Right, not only catastrophic failure as an outstanding risk, but the obvious security concerns that you might have. So, regarding a company which wont event disclose their layout, whom you have no control over internal policy, who could go out of business in a days notice and sell their severs + your data to question marks and I conclude, that hes right, I'm not leaving it to chance. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    I have done 30.000 seconds of research or more. I have seen tens of on premise exchange servers. None of them come close to the availability of Gmail for businesses. Many of them reboot frequently (initiated by the sysadmin), get in trouble after patches or electrical outages and so on. Reply
  • KentState - Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - link

    You must have seen some pretty bad implementations. In 15 years of IT experience, I've only seen a single outage of Exchange and that in 2001 due to a virus. Secondly, the time it takes to administrate Exchange is exaggerated. Reply
  • BF04 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    You praise Google for their business e-mail. However you do not discuss details about it and or any other competition. What about MS cloud services? What about the risk factor, management of employee's email?

    This reads like an ad for Google.
    Reply
  • Philippe Creytens - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    BF04

    There are 3 (large) companies actively promoting 'the cloud' for mail/calendaring: Google (Apps), Microsoft (BPOS/Office365) and IBM/Lotus.

    Which cloud offering is 'better'? It depends.

    We see companies using (the more expensive) MS offering to avoid IT management and CAPEX/OPEX issues. Impact for the end user? Hardly any. He connects to a server for mail/calendar w/ the tools he/she has been using (Outlook/Office).

    Other companies decide to move to Google because of its mainly-browser strategy, continuous updates and device independency (iPad, Android, Mac, Linux).
    Impact to the end user? Bigger... at least for the initial couple of weeks as people don't like change.
    Companies that need to share/collaborate beyond 'the firewall' would more likely go for Apps.

    Irrelevant of the choice, in most cases companies move 'commodity IT' to the cloud because now many companies spend 80% of their IT budgets on 'keeping the lights on'. Not on innovation or drive growth.
    http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=497088
    Reply
  • HMTK - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I want to add my 0.02 € to the criticism. The article isn't well written (actually far inferior to your other articles) and it nearly ignores the fact that Google Mail doesn't integrate with AD which is a huge drawback for many companies. It also doesn't take into account that bandwith still is expensive and not guaranteed unless you're willing to pay through the nose. And I think I'm not the only one who isn't keen on putting the company's data in some external cloud where you're never really certain who can access that data. Sure, company X may claim that your data is safe but this is a matter of trust and I'm too cynical I guess. Reply
  • Philippe Creytens - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Google Apps does support AD sync:

    http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/04/sync-...
    Reply
  • HMTK - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    It's still only a synch, not a true integration. I was thinking more along the lines of Sharepoint - Office - Exchange - Unified Messaging ... and all the nice management tools you get with AD. AFAIK you lose a lot of functionality by moving to another platform.

    If you put one of the elements (say, Exchange) in someone else's cloud you're basically trusting that other company to keep your data safe and private. A company may be certified as much as it wants, if it gets served a search warrant it has to comply but will the customer know? Doubtful, especially when we see how some governments work.
    Reply
  • andyleung - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I have no idea why people are still so behind in 1990 time. What's so good about AD nowadays? We have all mobile devices popping up every year. Your BB doesn't have AD integrated too and so what? Your company is still using it. You don't have Gmail integrated with AD and so what? I don't think people would have problem logging in Gmail with a separate login as they do for all other email today anyway. And business can leverage other Google apps to help build business processes, which is a big plus. Reply
  • zeppelin55 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I work for a company that struggles with outsourcing/cloudsourcing anything. We're also a growing company that very well may be a large enterprise sometime in the future (300+ employees). When I've looked at remote exchange providers there seems to often be user limits. Is this something to be concerned about? Reply
  • namo - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Author says Exchange account costs $100 user-year (it is unclear if it is only license fees), Gmail $50 user-year. But author didn't mentioned that small business can have hosted email server with $0 license fees using open source software and maintaining it could be very inexpensive if business owner will be smart enough to hire <b>part time<\b> administrator. Reply
  • MLSCrow - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    For some of those that are criticizing this article, it wasn't meant to be that much of an in-depth discussion as it was more of a high level overview to answer some general questions regarding cloud benefits. Given what should have been obvious, I will also go on to refute the claim that the article ignores the fact that Google Mail doesn't integrate with AD. On the contrary, did you not read the part as follows, "The only thing where I find our Exchange server to be slightly better is the scheduling events in calendar since the exchange server is integrated with the Active directory server." This already insinuates that Google doesn't integrate with AD. Did you even read the entire article? lol Reply
  • bplewis24 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Of course they didn't read the whole article. You are dealing with people who are simply anti-Google here. Some didn't even bother to differentiate GMail with GMail for Business with their criticisms. Reply
  • rowcroft - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    MS Online Services is $5/month for 25GB of storage. Integrates with AD to boot. Reply
  • scotth501 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I'm seeing it for $10 including Sharepoint and Office Communicator IM with audio conferencing:

    www . microsoft . com/online/business-productivity.aspx

    (I guess I'll keep writing something since this is spam somehow according to the system. I wonder if this is enough of a comment to make it through.)

    Well, no, it was not. Maybe there should be a definition regarding what constitutes spam so I can format my reply appropriately.

    So, maybe 4th time will be the charm, I guess I'll edit the above URL so it's not usable and maybe that'll pass this ignorant system.
    Reply
  • Sivar - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    <b>GMail is not a business tool. Period.</b>
    http://www.formortals.com/gmail-is-not-a-business-...

    I think GMail is great. After using it at home for years, I can barely stand using Outlook at work. The linked article does, however, raise some points worth considering.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    It does, until you realize that the points it raises are not actually for Google Apps for Business (part of the suggested Google Mail for Business component on page 1), but for plain, free gmail.

    So, the points that the blogger raises are, IMO, not valid for this discussion.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    None of the arguments are accurate for Gmail for business, except the calendar comment. Also, gmail is a lot smarter when it comes to spam than Exchange. I have both, and Exchange requires me to a lot of business contacts to "safe sender", although I have exchanged e-mails with them before. Otherwise it ends up in the Spam bin. So Exchange is not a business tool?

    Certified Microsoft Partner, worked for MSDN. while that is not enough to discredit the blog, the inaccurate statements do the rest.

    For example, You can get Support via Google Partners, and in the US direct Enterprise support is available.
    Reply
  • jimbob1001 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    cloud computing is not great for everyone. For our 100 employee business office and windows + CAL costs around £26 per PC. Exchange is about £100 and server £50 - these are for the licences. The SSL cert if probably more expensive (silly exchange 2007 one). The server does other things but raw licences work out at substantially less than google. The server would stay anyway. It has have precisely ZERO downtime other than automatic updates on a saturday evening. I have intervened ZERO times for exchange.

    If we were to look at cloud computing then our 2meg SDSL+ ADSL backup (loadbalanced for webaccess) would not be enough. We would need more upload. nTOP shows that the traffic averages 3-5mb constantly with periodic spikes of 10mb+

    We couldnt afford larger connections and we arent in a cable internet area. ADSL is typically 10/1mb. Dont even start on hosting data online.
    Reply
  • iwod - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    I could never understand why Gmail for Business cost so much.
    Most of our company email account are well below 1GB storage. With the largest being 3GB.
    We dont mind Ads. ( As long as you dont data mine our email )

    Our Company has over a 100 employees, that is $5000 per year for what i consider VERY light email usage.

    In our cases, it doesn't make any business sense to use Gmail Business at all.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    It depends on what you're using email for. Sending attachments can add up fast. As a minion level employee, my pst file at work is ~3GB after 6 years. My program manager says back in the outlook 03 era he had to create a new pst yearly to avoid a >2GB data corruption bug. Reply
  • Penti - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Just to add you can get a hosted Exchange account from something like $10-12.5 per month with 2GB inbox. However it quickly gets costly if you add larger inboxes, sharepoint websites, mail to the phones and archiving. It might end up costing something like 200 dollars per user and year. For basic exchange email with calendaring, task and mail and mobile sync. Google Apps is cheap in comparison. Google apps with archiving would cost something like 83 USD per user and year. If your just after IMAP-mail it's the wrong solution to pay for those services though. Reply
  • iwod - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Now $10 - 12.5 per year sounds MUCH more reasonable. To be honest we never looked at Hosted exchange account.

    And it depends if 2GB X100s will be shared between all of us, or strictly 2GB per user.

    But Most of our users uses 1GB after 3 - 4 years. So i think I will look at M$ soon.
    Reply
  • Penti - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    PER MONTH. Reply
  • Penti - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    And how much does your exchange setup cost? Stand-alone Exchange CALs is $67. Enterprise CALs is cheaper on the other hand is the exchange enterprise license much more costly. Might end up much the same cost if put out over three years. But hosted exchange starts at 5 USD a month any how. Office 365 at 6 USD might be a much better deal though. But as said compared to other competing services google apps isn't expensive. Hosted exchange can cost several times what Microsofts own services costs. Reply
  • Grudin - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    My one issue with cloud computing is security. It is the same issue I have had for a long time. For public insecure information it makes perfect sense. At this time I am basically running my own private cloud for our business and thats ok by me. Yes I have to do all the overhead that goes along with it, but I know my information is secure. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    That would be my main issue as well. I've read about govt agencies getting access to personal cloud data by going to the cloud provider without informing the end user and giving them a chance to object. For proprietary business information that's completely unacceptable. Reply
  • andyleung - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    How easy is that to setup the same security that Gmail has into your own private cloud? How security your premises are? For SME, I think it's easy more secure on Gmail than hosting your own servers in office and owner "secured" information by using a regular passcode door or key lock one. Reply
  • LastingDamage - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    You can just the Exchange part of BPOS for $5 an month.

    Very poorly researched article, it should have showed the cost of say a 50 users on hosted against the cost of hardware, licenses and support over say 3 years. If you do that you find the cost start to go against the cloud.

    Again just looks like an advert for Google and Amazon
    Reply
  • andyleung - Thursday, March 31, 2011 - link

    Actually it's the other way around. If you've done more researched, it's actually all against Exchange or your in-house or regular hosting model. If you just talk about cost of software itself, it may be arguable. If you put hardware and support into the formula, Cloud is obviously cheaper.

    Hardware + Software: If you company grows, get more (but you have to remember all the cost of infrastructure upgrade including huge cost from network setup, load-balance and backup solution). Cloud? Pay $50/year for each extra user. From setup point of view, it's a 30 mins job to add 50 employee in GMail but 2 months project in Outlook. Time is money.

    Support: This is just way to obvious. For setting up Exchange server, it takes tons of time to configure and test even you hire experts. Especially if you add AD into the game + individual Outlook configurations.

    Plus, when time goes on, hardware + software + support will depreciate and so you have to constantly pool tons of money to keep it up. Cloud? Not your money, it's Google's money.
    Reply
  • echtogammut - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    As someone who someone who deploys a number of these solutions, let me try to explain the pluses and minuses of cloud based services.

    It is all about scalability and deployment scenarios. Johan is correct in his assertion that most small businesses will save more up front cap cost by deploying a hosted solution vs. a locally managed solution, but as a lot of you have pointed out there are many factors involved. Offices that are bandwidth limited or have sketchy connections may be better off with a local or hybrid solution. A hybrid solution combines have a local exchange server with a hosted or cloud based server.

    Where most of my clients are seeing the biggest return is with home offices. Rather than expanding their local offices, they are hiring new employees and having them stay home. With solution like BPOS, Azure and cloud based CRM/ERM software solutions, companies are able expand their offices without having to spend the money on office space or the hardware that goes with that.

    I have customers on both Google business solutions and Microsoft BPOS solutions and both have their positives. If Microsoft ever gets their Office 365 released (delayed till at least June/July according to some inside information), they will have a definite leg up over the competition. For companies with over 100 employees, I would always recommend a hybrid solution (i.e. local office Exchange server in addition to cloud), unless you have no centralized office. This gives your company offline access to exchange should your connection go down and helps manage bandwidth. As a side note, I am always amazed at the crappy deals companies have with their ISPs, I highly recommend revisiting your contract every 6 months and renegotiate or check for better deals. Sometimes if you complain loudly enough you can get serious discounts on 3-4 DSL lines, which, properly managed, should give most offices plenty of bandwidth.

    After running my own hosted Exchange service, I recently switched my own company to BPOS and while it is not without its flaws, I have experience no major downsides and because I no longer have to open a VPN connector I have found it to be fair bit more convenient.
    Reply
  • Dug - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Why would you need a VPN connector? Unless you are running pre 2003.

    Personally I think this whole cloud thing is just an alternative or a backup. More hype by marketing than anything, they are just trying to sell you something else. All it is is placing your services someplace else. I would never rely on it because of limitations.

    The author talks about time spent on Exchange servers and the cost of admins. The admins are already an expense, and if done correctly, you shouldn't be touching the exchange server.
    I prefer to have my hands on the data on site and have backups offsite. I know how long a bare metal restore is, but I can't get a guarantee from anyone with cloud services without spending tons of money.

    It just depends on your needs and what other programs and services you are running. We looked at exchange in the cloud, but integrating with our crm, sap, and everything else is just not worth the time or cost.
    Reply
  • konstructa - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Yea I just switched a 5 person company to Google Business Free and it has restrictions on IMAP that are undocumented. The Google forum for free business services is a nightmare of confusion and stonewalling. Google Sync is not available for Mac and I can't get a straight answer from their forum on when it will be available. I suspect that they are going to get rid of the "Free under 50" program because they already have made the sign up very hard to find compared to how it was last year. Once you have to pay it could actually end up being more expensive then Exchange and your mail is spread on unknown servers around the world. They also data mine and no auto HTTPS for the free business Gmail. I am sorry but I feel Google is spread thin and possibly out of their league in a lot of the areas its been pushing into. Reply
  • iwod - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    What's that? Never heard of it? Reply
  • Penti - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.htm... Reply
  • Linwood - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Wheres the normal Anandtech meat and potatoes? "use linux its cheaper" and "Gmail saves money" Wheres some graphs for comparison? You mentioned hosted Exchange then never talked about its price, its an interesting article, but it's half completed at best.. Reply

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