Serena Software expects to save $750,000 per year by shedding Microsoft Exchange Server in favor of Google's Gmail application for its 800 employees, officials of the Web development software maker told eWEEK Nov. 12.
The move, slated to be completed by the end of 2008, is a coup for Google. The search engine provider has been struggling to entice customers to switch from the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client and Exchange Server on-premises application to its SAAS (software as a service) Web mail, word processing, spreadsheet and other applications.
These applications and data associated with them live on Google's hosted servers, which customers access through the Internet. This method, also called cloud computing, is becoming more popular for cost-conscious companies, which may also be tired of maintaining the servers that house their data.
Ron Brister, senior manager of global IT operations at Serena, told eWEEK Serena has subscribed to Google's GAPE (Google Apps Premier Edition) service, the paid version of Google Apps, for $50 per user, per year.
Brister said it cost Serena roughly $1 million a year to use Exchange once all of the CALs (client access licenses) and software assurance were factored in; he expects Serena to pay only a quarter of that to use GAPE.
GAPE includes Gmail, Google's Postini messaging security software and 25GB of mailbox space, as well as greater uptime and 24/7 phone support. It also includes other Google productivity and collaboration applications, such as Google Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentations, and Google's Sites wiki.
However, Brister said Serena so far is only using Gmail and the Postini assets to protect and serve Gmail, largely because Serena staffers are using Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software. While there is no current plan to jettison SharePoint, he conceded that that may change as Serena staffers get more comfortable with the cloud. Brister added:
"What we're finding is it's becoming pretty viral and it's getting used, taking less of an emphasis off of things like SharePoint, which becomes static and stale much more quickly when you have something much more collaborative in the cloud and as easy to use as Gmail. It's become each of the users' preferences rather than anything we're dictating."