Microsoft clearly thinks that Gmail/Google Apps is a threat, since Office 2010 is now set to be online, and, if the news articles are to be believed, it will be free.

Now as yet, I haven’t truly looked at Office 2010 online, so  I don’t feel I’m in a position to comment, but since I have recently migrated an Exchange 2003 environment into Google Apps Premier, I can comment on that.

First, the question I posed, is it worth it? Well in many ways, Google’s offering is well crafted, but it does appear initially to have some disadvantages, but once you get used to a different way of working, many of those do disappear.

Overall, I’d say it is worth it if you feel you want to shift the cost of owning and maintaining over to somebody else, and just do the management yourself. If you are a new startup, and need an email environment quickly, it’s just the job, especially since you can use the free version first, and upgrade later.

I would say my preference is still for Exchange and Outlook, being a dyed in the wool Wintel sysadmin, but Google does offer a credible alternative.

If you are considering a migration, my advice would be plan plan plan, have several people on the project to make sure all angles are covered, and make sure you regularly check in with Google for the very latest migration tools. I know for a fact that the tools changed during the period of our migration, so make sure you have the latest to make the job that little bit easier.

Hopefully I’ll get a separate page about my own migration experiences set up soon.

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