Google’s not-so-subtle jab at Microsoft Exchange

By Kevin Kelleher
December 10, 2010

When Gmail goes down, it doesn’t just make news, it makes people angry. Small businesses running their email on Google’s servers complain publicly. People even talk about suing Google.

Google’s response is usually along these lines: When companies manage email on their own servers, those servers routinely go down. People get upset, sure. But it doesn’t make news. And nobody starts looking for a class-action attorney.

Apparently, that attitude of Google’s isn’t just a defensive PR spin. It’s an actual strategy. Google is adding a feature to the cloud-security technology it obtained when it bought Postini in 2007. Google is calling it Message Continuity, and it’s designed to let companies have access to emails, even when a company’s servers go down.

It’s a cunning idea, for a couple of reasons. When corporate email does go down, Gmail (and Google Apps) will look like an attractive alternative. But also, the move is a direct jab at Microsoft. It sends a subtle but effective message that Google is more reliable email service than Microsoft.

But there’s a catch for Google – if a Microsoft Exchange system goes offline at the same time that Gmail has one of its occasional outages, it will look even worse for Google. Promising you’ll be there when the other guy isn’t makes it that much more important that you follow through.

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Interesting read but there is a fundamental problem with not only your article but the material you referenced as well. The problem is your article as well as Google press release are comparing a Google Cloud resource to a Microsoft On premise or traditionally hosted resource.

If you want to compare apples to apples wouldnt you think it would be better to compare Microsoft’s cloud hosted email offering to googles cloud hosted email offering?

They probably chose not to go that route because it would have been futile. You see Microsoft hosts Exchange in its Windows Azure cloud offering which is backed by 23 datacenters around the world that have a new construction cost of $500,000,000 each. Heres a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3b5Ca6lz qE&feature=related

So enterprise customers using exchange cloud hosted offering have their data not only backed up and replicated 3+ times but they also have the access to it automatically load balanced and provisioned. They also offer a CDN or content delivery network to cache frequently accessed data/emails from an in memory instance greatly enhancing speed.

So in reality what happens when a cloud hosted exchange server goes down is nothing. There is no interruption because a replication picks up the request while the down instance is restarting. They have an “all 9’s” SLA that is 99.9% up time.

THE ONLY WAY A MICROSOFT CLOUD HOSTED EXCHANGE USER WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACCESS THEIR EMAIL IS IF THERE WERE CATOSTOPHIC OCCURENCES ON ALL CONTINENTS TAKING OUT ALL DATA CENTERS…which at that point email probably isnt a concern

Google has also made in roads in the cloud space no doubt but not anywhere on the usability scale as Microsoft. (its an end to end solution)

That said logic and debate are very detached from the things that are suggested in this article. Microsoft has in fact leveraged the cloud to enable the sort of occasionally connected scenarios you are describing here.

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