Will Google Apps become a viable replacement for Microsoft Exchange?
There are many benefits to running Google in place of Microsoft Exchange some of which include:
- Data is stored and secured in a world class data center
- No need to manage backups
- Great SPAM filtering
- Lower administration costs
- Easy to support across any platform
I would say that three of the major hold ups at this point are:
- Many user are very accustomed to using Microsoft Outlook and synchronizing with Windows Mobile phones.
- Managing separate account for Google Apps and existing domain/directory system
- At this point no easy way to have a universal shared contact list
Recently Google has released Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook with does allow for integration between Outlook and Google Apps. The downside is that it does not support syncing of tasks which could be problem if you like to sync with your mobile phone as well. A work around would be to ditch Outlook all together and sync with a phone running Google’s Android OS.
Google no offers Google Apps Directory Sync which will allow for synchronization between Google Apps and your existing Active Directory or LDAP system.
In conclusion I think that Google Apps may be a viable replacement for Microsoft Exchange in small business environments. The cost to setup and maintain Google Apps is estimated at <50%.