Microsoft Reluctantly Promotes Google for Exchange Backup

When MSPmentor reported that Google Postini was providing business continuity services for Microsoft Exchange, my inbox was filled with chatter on the subject of storing messages and keeping them highly available. Now Microsoft has shown its true feelings for the Postini option in a blog entry titled, “Email Availability Considerations,” which laid out Redmond’s own recommendations for backing up Exchange messages yourself -- or picking a hosted provider. Microsoft even mentions Google Postini as a potential option. Here’s the scoop:

First off, Microsoft noted that Exchange 2010 and Exchange Online have built-in tools to ensure continuity -- potentially saving hosted Exchange providers and customers alike tens of thousands of dollars a year on backup and availability services.

Exchange 2003/2007, however, is another story altogether. To ensure a continual user experience in the event of an outage, Microsoft in its blog encourages users (or hosters) of Exchange 2003/2007 to take advantage of offerings from its developer partners including LiveOffice, Dell Email Continuity or even Google Postini (yes, you read that correctly). LiveOffice's and Dell’s offerings integrate directly with Microsoft Outlook, so in the event of Exchange failure the user experience stays consistent, according to the blog.

But even though Microsoft called out Postini as an option, the blog was somewhat disparaging of the way Postini handles message continuity:

Google takes a different approach, which requires a separate Gmail account to access backed up email. This introduces a very different user experience and doesn’t support features like Outlook folders. Additionally, Google requires a different password provided by the Exchange administrator. In the event of a failure, the user will need to switch from Outlook to a new Gmail account and log in with the new password. In looking at the three options, Google’s introduces the most user disruption.

I detect a hint of disdain in Microsoft's comments.

The same blog entry also noted that customers also must set up Google Sync Server if they’re going to go with Postini-powered continuity, which also requires switching to Google's anti-spam and anti-virus.

While Microsoft’s points about Google Postini Message Continuity may or may not have the weight of truth behind them, it almost sounds as though Microsoft resents the fact that Google Postini is an option for extending continuity with its Exchange platform. Which is to say, Microsoft has realized Google Postini is less a white flag and more a cloud Trojan horse.

Message continuity remains a much-chatted-about topic in the channel, and you can bet I'll keep an eye on the subject.

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