Outage Concerns

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-03-04 Print this article Print


Asked if he is concerned about possible outages, disruptions and bandwidth issues with these online services, Sezer said he has received assurances from Microsoft in this regard, noting that this would be an that issue regardless of whether or not Microsoft was hosting it.

"The basic question for me is whether I can run this infrastructure better than Microsoft can. Am I going to be able to know their product better than them? I might, but I'm hoping that's not the case," he said. "Time will tell, but my core business is not running a data center, and letting someone else do this frees up resources that can be used elsewhere. Is there a risk? Yes."

Keith McCall, chief technology officer of Azaleos and a former Microsoft executive, said there are risks, warning that hosting is a costly proposition for companies of all sizes, but especially for those with more than 200 employees. 

"We estimate that a 1,000-employee company with moderate e-mail usage that hosts their e-mail may incur an additional $3,000 or more per month just for bandwidth charges for their users and which is not included in the pricing of Microsoft's services," McCall said.

Microsoft will need to learn Research in Motion's recent lesson: A network service interruption can occur at any time, and trusting companies putting all of their eggs in the hosted services basket can run the risk of significant productivity losses when, not if, e-mail goes down, he said.

But for Sezer, letting Microsoft handle those services allows him to put those resources into developing new capabilities and differentiated solutions.

Asked if Microsoft has provided guarantees against e-mail loss and any legal and regulatory issues that could arise from that, Sezer said, "We had a substantial legal engagement with Microsoft upfront, which was an extensive, difficult undertaking."

This issue was addressed in a recent research report about hosted e-mail by Gartner analyst Matthew Cain, who said the market for e-mail hosting services is poised for explosive growth in the next few years, with 20 percent of enterprise market e-mail seats delivered via software as a service and similar models by 2012.

But there are four areas of common misunderstanding in hosted e-mail relationships: legal, security and integration, contract startup and cessation, and operations, he said. Cain recommended that customers clarify the legal aspects before signing the contract, including how discovery and preservation requests will be processed.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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