Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing:
Email in the Cloud.
Email communication is taking a heavy beating, both in our personal life and in work, as alternate real time Web2.0 communication methods have started occupying the space. Though Email is not dead yet, the prominence of Email communication is diminishing in both worlds. In this
scenario, as long as Email is used as one of the prime communication tools in corporate, there is no doubt that IT operations are concerned about it. Not only SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses), but also some large enterprises, including Government organizations in the USA are moving to the convenience of cloud based hosted email systems like Google Apps. It is no secret that cloud based email is cheaper. However, those corporate who have ventured in to cloud email from on-premises email system, say that there is more to it than cost benefits!
|On Premises Email like Ms. Exchange||Everything runs on company servers.||Expensive to maintain. Needs dedicated IT Manpower.|
|Hosted Email like Google Apps||Everything runs on Service Provider’s servers||Needs to trust the service provider.|
On Premises Email System:
In the traditional On-Premises Email system, the server hardware, software like server software, client software, storage, spam filtering, mail archiving, mobile mail management everything falls under the IT operations of the company. Microsoft is a dominant player with its Microsoft Exchange Server. Many companies run older versions of software as they have acquired the same long back at a high cost. In some companies we find that the system is fully depreciated making it difficult to arrive at a comparable cost.
Cloud based Email System:
In the cloud based Email System, like the one as Google Apps Premier Edition, the major cost is the subscription cost, though it may not be the only cost. Some minimal administration effort is needed to maintain the users account properly. The burden of maintaining the server, software licenses etc… are left to the service provider itself. Google Apps has additional features like Documents, Calendar, Groups, Sites and many more services. Google Apps offers tools to migrate from Exchange to their hosted service. Google’s Postini system is considered as one of the best spam mail filtering systems.
A Forrester Research on cost comparison between On-Premises based Ms. Exchange and Google Apps states that for about 25000 User Accounts Company, On-premises Email will cost about $ 25 per month per user where as Google Apps will cost only $ 8 per month per user. Strictly speaking Google charges less than $ 5 per month per user but additional costs like staffing for admin and mail archival cost are included in that comparison.
When we look at the research we find that, the on-premises cost starts at about $ 28 per month per user for about 5000 users and end up with about $ 16 for a 55000 users company. Whereas Google Apps costs remain the same, at about $ 8 per month per user both for 5000 users and 55000 users.
Should an enterprise move its Email to cloud is no longer a question, unless something is holding back the enterprise with On-Premises based system.
A few years back enterprises had some concerns over migrating the email system to cloud but now it is becoming de-facto standard. Microsoft also has started offering its Exchange server on hosted model with a user based subscription model. The direct cost as low as $ 2 per user per month!
By Glenn Blake