Google Gmail, Google Apps Are Not Enterprise Ready
Gardner's wish: "I expect that over time the Web-based apps will get better and better, they will have to. Unfortunately the pressures on predominate internal e-mail systems may not be on such an improvement trajectory."
Gardner's outlook is refreshingly realistic. I turned to Burton Group's Guy Creese for his perspective on the matter.
Creese echoed Gardner's statements about the ubiquitous nature of Gmail, noting that many SAAS (software-as-a-service) solutions are used in small groups or departments to do Web conferencing or other tasks. If those targeted solutions go down, the affected departments can't do their jobs, but the rest of the business continues running.
The issue with Gmail or Google Apps, he noted, is that the business grinds to a halt when they go down.
Creese then put the nail in the coffin for Google Apps and Gmail in the enterprise: "At this point, it is risky for enterprises to move over to Gmail and Google Apps, given this past behavior."
However, he also said we can't slap the unreliability tag on SAAS because of Google, noting that companies such as Salesforce.com have a better uptime track record than Google. Moreover, he noted forthcoming solutions such as Microsoft Hosted Exchange may prove to have a better track record.
"In short, if Google can't get this right, someone else will," Creese told me.
I'll believe it when I see it. Given all of the major Web outages, Google, Amazon Web Services, Apple's MobileMe, I'd wait a bit before running a major business on the Internet.
Sometime soon, someone (Cisco? Google?) will create a massively parallel system with so many failovers that when a fleet of servers goes down, users will retain connectivity, their data and everything else. It will probably be backed by some super Internet router the likes of which we've never seen.
Some vendor will have to build something, because if these outages continue to propagate and get coverage (notice how no one makes a big fuss out of Lotus or Exchange outages), no big business will be able to trust the Web as a business platform.
Would you put your faith in running an entire Fortune 500, 1,000 or 2,000 company on the Web? Me neither.