By Nerino Petro at 26 March, 2008, 10:28 am
Microsoft Outlook is the mail/calendaring/contact application of choice for a majority of companies and law firms throughout the US. However, to get the greatest advantage of the Outlook feature set, you need to add Exchange Server into the mix. Exchange is a good product, but it is also a product that is constantly being upgraded and patched and can place a burden on smaller offices and companies trying to stay up to date. While there are a number of products that can give you much of the functionality of Exchange without having it (See 4Team Corporation, Slipstick Systems ), they all work in different ways and require installation of software on your computer systems. However, none of these provide the benefit of being able to tap into the infrastructure provided by Google Gmail such as anywhere accessibility (with an internet connection), data backup and storage space. What has been missing is a way for multiple users that need to share information to easily tap into Gmail with Outlook while keeping the functionality of Exchange. That may no longer be the case if Cemaphore Systems has its way.
c|net News Blog reports here that Cemaphore Systems is preparing to roll out a beta of its Software as a Service (SaaS) product Mailshadow for Google Appa a/k/a MailShadow G which will allow the use of Outlook with Gmail for multiple users without Exchange Server. According to the Cemaphore Mailshadow G webpage:
Let Google handle the backend
Ready to cut the ties that bind you to your costly Exchange servers? Use MailShadow for Google Apps to eliminate the expensive infrastructure, hardware, and co-location facilities required by Exchange.
MailShadowG, the newest offering from Cemaphore Systems, will revolutionize the way you think about email continuity and content management. Using a SaaS-based (Software as a Service) model, MailShadowG allows you to synchronize your Outlook client with web-based email service providers like Google’s Gmail. This effectively turns Outlook into a universal front end client for different email systems, reducing infrastructure costs dramatically and making email backup portable and affordable. MailShadowG severs your dependency on the costliest elements of a traditional Exchange backup system.
Mailshadow G, if it works as billed, will open up the benefits of Exchange without the expense and people/hardware requirements of Exchange since it leverages the benefits offered by Google’s infrastructure. While it is true that you can purchase hosted Exchange services, for those users who want to move away from a full dependency on Microsoft products, SaaS products such as this may provide part of the answer. At a minimum, it gives Outlook users an additional option for taking full advantage of the potential in that product and will allow those companies and firms looking to reduce their IT costs and needs to do so.