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Exchange or GMail?

Posted on 2009-07-07
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I just got asked by my general manager to look into replacing our exchange boxes with Gmail. Can I ask what people here think about this? What are the advantages or disadvantages of going over to gmail?

Has anyone else done this? What is your experience?
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Question by:Network_Padawan
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11 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Datedman
ID: 24800797
Gmail is free.  Exchange is a *released product* with a host of features not supported by Gmail (which as far as I know is still in beta.)

With Exchange you have security, centralized management, backup, antivirus/antispam, and a ton of other features, check the MS Exchange site. :) http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2007/default.mspx 

Oh also Exchange offers multiple addresses/person, multiple e-mail domains/organization, shared calendars/tasklists/mailboxes/etc. etc. with any level of access and it all works off your domain permissions, groups etc. just as the file system does...

With GMail you have something that is free.  Never a good sign. :)

Exchange is MS's flagship product.  They continue to be successful with their Enterprise customers because nobody else offers real competition.

If you have more than a few computers, Gmail just isn't sane IMO.

Oh ALSO: Exchange has a very broad support base from Microsoft and in the community.  www.msexchange.org, this site, a gazillion others.  OTOH, Gmail has no support to speak of from the people who make it...Google is basically a search engine company that makes beta software of other types.  I like them but they ain't competing with Microsoft in the e-mail category IMO.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:debuggerau
ID: 24800811
been getting a few of these lately..

Don't know what I can say, one is an outsourced service and one is a internal resource.

Exchange requires specialized maintenance, Google is just anyone with a browser.

Exchange you can control, protect, adjust and customize while Google is what it is..
and will be whatever they want it to be..

Maybe the government should start handling email services for us all..
But seriously, you don't get to see what messages are stuck in a queue, or provide redundancy, control your own limits or have public folders, just to touch on a few things..

All that being said, I like Google services, and I don't think it will go away..


I can see lots of companies throwing out their 2000, 2003 exchange servers and jumping on the google train, saving $.
Then I see people getting exchange or sendmail to overcome its limitations..
But many wont..


The question at a higher level is:

Is it worth outsourcing all services and taking the ASP model, or maintain your own data-center. Lots of reasons for going one way or the other, but security, flexibility, compatibility and control are the main reasons people switch..


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Author Comment

by:Network_Padawan
ID: 24800816
Sorry, I meant google APS, not Gmail

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Datedman
ID: 24800830
Google apps?

In any case, Google does not even nearly compete with Exchange.  

It's cheaper to live in the street, but personally I'll keep paying my mortgage. :)
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Author Comment

by:Network_Padawan
ID: 24800839
Hi Datedman,

Ive been told by someone that swears by google apps that it allows just as much control as exchange does. Calenders, permissions, whitelisting, spam, etc etc etc

So is the consesus here that google aps has in no way the features that exchange does?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:bullmonkey
ID: 24800842
"With GMail you have something that is free.  Never a good sign. :)"  thats a pretty sweeping statement that kinda redefines "open source"

well, i would be inclined to run the 2 in paralel for a while. gmail is fully functional and free. exchange is a must for any windows mobile or pda's
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:debuggerau
ID: 24800880
although I must say, Google have been more reliable that my ISP here...
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Datedman
ID: 24800898
Sorry I'm not against Open Source but in fact there is no real competition in Open Source projects that I know of for Exchange.  There's probably a reason for that. :)

I don't think Google Apps competes yet.  If it did, considering the cost savings, why would anyone use Exchange?  

But hey as BM says you could run in parallel and see what you see. :)
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Kurt_Siegfried earned 2000 total points
ID: 24804253
Actually, Google Apps just recently (yesterday) lost its beta tag.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-apps-is-out-of-beta-yes-really.html

As far as most companies are concerned, you should be looking at the Google Apps Premium Edition, which costs $50 per user per year.  It offers phone support as well as the email support of the free edition.  As far as feature sets, between Exchange and Google Apps, Exchange wins. However, the difference is probably not an issue to many organizations.

If they're using Outlook, most end users have no clue about the difference between IMAP and MAPI, and they won't really recognize a difference if they were switched. The contacts and calendar sync tool keep those data synced between Outlook and Google Apps as well.   For webmail users, the Google Apps interface is very intuitive.  There are migration tools available for Exchange (As well as Lotus Notes for the truly pain loving).

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/switch_exchange.html

Directory sync between your local AD and Google Apps is available.  Additional spam, and Antivirus filtering is available through Postini.  One of the best providers of Exchange filtering as well, I might add. Delegation, and archiving are coming to Google Apps as well.

To address your original question, your organization may see a cost reduction by switching from Exchange to Google Apps, if there is not a specific feature of Exchange that you need.  You may also benefit from better uptime and lower support requirements.  Disadvantages would be entrusting your data to the cloud, and not having physical access to administer your servers.  A major one would be if you do have a LOB application that requires Exchange.  It is more  question for you or your management to determine what the needs of your organization are and what will fit.  No one else can tell you what the perfect solution is, although many will try.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Datedman
ID: 24804331
Amazing.  Google releases a product, good for them!
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Datedman
ID: 24826491
btw one more thing to consider with google: when they have problems, you're down.

otoh if you have an exchange server, when you have problems, you're down. :)  However I think it's more difficult to work out ways for people to work offline with google apps?  Maybe not, I'm not that familiar with it yet.
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