Over on the official Google Enterprise Blog, the search giant announced Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, a server-side tool that migrates contacts, messages, and calendars from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. The migration tool is similar to offerings from Open-Xchange, Zimbra and other email upstarts. What comes next for VARs and MSPs? Here are some thoughts.
MSPmentor has talked and talked again about the potential benefits of cloud deployments in general and Google Apps in specific can benefit solutions providers and end-users both. Now, with a tool that basically takes you from on-premise into the cloud automatically, some pundits think arguments against Google’s cloud collaboration suite are vanishing.
“It is just one more step that Google has taken to make it dead simple to migrate to Google Apps,” says Daniel Jefferies of service provider Newmind Group, a Google Apps reseller.
The really important thing to note is that this heralds a trend towards data portability. Your data is your data, and how you choose to access it is up to you. To that end, Jefferies pointed me at the Data Liberation Front, a Google side-project that actually helps users migrate data out of Google Apps if they choose to.
Meanwhile, we have to speculate: Now that the Google Apps Marketplace is online, will third-party software developers start writing more migration tools to help speed migrations from Microsoft's other platforms (Small Business Server, SharePoint, Dynamics, etc.) to SaaS alternatives?
Also of note: Google certainly isn't the first company to introduce an email migration tool. Microsoft and Lotus have battle for more than a decade with various migration tools. Plus:
- Zimbra -- the open source email platform that VMware recently acquired -- has a migration tool for Exchange customers as well.
- Open-Xchange -- an open source email platform that many SaaS partners are embracing -- also weighs in with an Exchange migration program.
- Surely, the list goes on from here...
Sticking With ExchangeStill, Microsoft certainly has its share of Exchange advocates. During a call with MSPmentor yesterday, hosting provider Verio said demand for its hosted Exchange services remains high. Similarly, Azaleos is seeing strong demand for managed Exchange services. Microsoft partner Apptix recently won a 100,000 seat hosted Exchange deployments. And Intermedia remains the first and only hosting provider offering hosted Exchange 2010 to customers.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Google Apps, Exchange, and the market battle between them. When Microsoft and Google compete on innovation, MSPs - especially those MSPs that keep an open mind about the cloud -- win.
Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.