Most Software Development houses need to roll up their sleeves every now and again and get stuck into some honest to goodness IT setup – somtimes for themselves and sometimes for their clients.
With cloud services maturing there are more options than ever for rolling out capable and cost effective IT infrastructure.
This week, we finished moving a client’s email setup from standard web-hosting mailboxes (POP & IMAP) to Google Apps and Gmail, we found the whole process refreshingly straightforward. The setup included mail and calendar on windows with outlook, Outlook mail and iCal calendar on the Mac and Mobile Sync of mail and calendar on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android.
The only sticking point was that outlook on the Mac does not yet support calendar syncing with anything except Microsoft Exchange and so won’t sync with Google Calendar – hence the use of iCal instead which does happily sync up with Google Apps. Proper syncing functionality has been promised by Microsoft for some time now but hasn’t appeared. Hopefully it will arrive within the next half year or so…
Of the mobile setups the blackberry was amazingly simple – those guys really have thought of everything. All you do is enter your google account name and password when logged into your web account and everything is then setup automatically on your phone, you don’t even have to tell it that it’s a Google Apps account – it figures all of this out itself!
The rollout included the migration of many hundreds of Mib’s of the client’s existing email up to the cloud – this process took a wekend to complete, but again was quite painless.
As well as mail and calender support, Google Apps also has Google Docs and Google Sites which can be used for developing a company intranet.
Anyway I would definitely recommend Google Apps as a good option for small companies out there who need to grow theirr IT infrastructure, but don’t want the extra hassle and cost of having an in-house IT setup. Google really have put a lot of effort in making the user experience on the Cloud as seamless as possible and it seems to have paid off.