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I am heavily considering moving my company's messaging system (back-end) to the cloud. Namely to google apps.

It is a lawyer company with around 30 employees. We have a Small Business Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange 2003. We do daily backups. We use software that depends on the Microsoft Office pack - This can not be changed.

The reason: We have maxed out server capacity, it can not be upgraded further, and we are running out of space. Buying a new server is going to cost a lot of money.

Therefor, I am considering to scratch Microsoft Exchange server and move the messaging system to Google Apps. For the end-user, there will be no change at all, as they will continue to use Microsoft Outlook.

My question is, do you think this is a good call? what is your own personal experience with Google Apps, and so on.

I'd like a lot of feedback.

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3 Answers

In an effort to avoid another Exchange upgrade and buying more hardware I switched my company to Google Apps Enterprise about 2 years ago. We were about 40 people at the time, now we're a bit smaller...

We've never looked back. It has worked incredibly well for us.

While you can continue to use Outlook (especially with the recently released plugin from Google) my folks all have switched to -- and embraced -- the web interface for all mail and calendars. With native mobile clients, java apps and IMAP support I haven't had to implement anything special for all the execs to get mail onto their Blackberrys, Win Mo phones and iPhones either.

The only thing I haven't done is get some sort of SSO with AD going. I know it's possible and I'd like to do it as a matter of policy, but for now they all manage their Google password separately from their Windows Domain password. A very minor inconvenience that nobody's whinged about (besides me).

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Oh yeah! I forgot about the telephones. A few of the employees uses microsoft exchange on their windows mobile phones. But I suppose they can live with IMAP. Also, thanks for your feedback, it is very valuable. –  caspert Aug 5 '09 at 14:01
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Since you're surrounded by lawyers, you'd better ask them before you make a change! They'll have concerns about confidentiality and data security and I'm not sure how compatable that is with cloud computing at this time.

Nothing against the functionality of the apps. But, your particular users (and bankers and medical personnel, etc.) may want to completely control their own data.

Dave

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Yeah, that is definitely a concern. Although through SSl, their offer seems rather secure. I might be missing something though. –  caspert Aug 31 '09 at 20:38
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We moved our company of about 30 people three years ago. It has been great experience.

Some people did not like the conversation view but have got over it over time.

Mobile access is great on iPhones and Blackberries.

We have had a few instances of people losing access to their account. It has always been one person at a time and within a few hours, it has been retrieved with all mail.

And the price is much better than our outsourced Exchange server.

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I am curious. Why did you outsource the exchange server? what advantages is there? –  caspert Aug 31 '09 at 20:37
    
We didn't have the expertise to manage an Exchange Server in house. with apologies to Ronco, Google is set it and forget it. –  Peter Hoven Oct 29 '09 at 18:45
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