Google Apps is offering migration for Microsoft Exchange. The service is free with Google Apps Premiere or Google Apps Education.
Last July, Google Apps began offering migration from IBM's Lotus Notes. Most enterprises are standardized on either Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes, which means that Google now pretty much can migrate any organization to the cloud. Google also offers connection to Blackberry Enterprise Server.Google Apps is providing migration for Microsoft Exchange 2003 and 2007.
Microsoft has very limited capability to offer a cloud-based email environment. Most of the offerings it provides are locally installed, single-hosting services. Concerns will wane about cloud security. The ability to offer a cloud-based email environment for easy access will be the norm, not the exception. But even though Google has a jump, Microsoft will have its own offering. In the meantime, Google has an opportunity to make another leap into the enterprise.
This does represent a tipping point for many companies shedding IT assets. The question about email often comes up when companies consider moving to the cloud. It's an important part of the migration. In recent weeks, we have seen how email is becoming a foundation for the evolution of a web oriented, social enterprise. Google Apps Marketplace offers the capability to offer third party applications that integrate with Google Apps. Email is a critical part of the equation in this Google ecosystem. It provides a backbone for companies to connect its employees with Google Apps and the associated third-parties.
The process to migrate looks relatively simple. Through Google Apps, a customer enters their Microsoft Exchange user name and what it calls "two-legged OAuth," consisting of a consumer user key and a consumer "secret". They then upload a .CSV file consisting of the email adresses, calendar and contact information. It is optional what to migrate. For example, an IT administrator may upload email addresses and contact data but not the calendar. Email service does not get interrupted during the migration.
This is a compelling offering for companies moving to the cloud. But it's only part of the equation. Google still needs to prove it is robust enough for the enterprise to migrate to Google Apps. In the meantime, Microsoft needs to act fast and provide a cloud offering that at least gives its own community the option to move Microsoft Exchange to the cloud.