I’ve been using Appriver’s hosted Exchange email services for a few years now. I have virtually no complaints. I don’t recall ever having a major problem with uptime. I think they may have had some minor issues but the only reason I knew about them was because they sent me an email telling me so. The service worked flawlessly no matter what phone I had. It was easy to administer the account for my company. They have great customer support. Best of all, the spam filtering was second to none. For years I checked the spam filter for false positives, but after whitelisting the people I communicated with most, and not finding any false positives for about a year, I just stopped looking anymore. Not having to comb through the spam, looking for a false positive, was a great time saver.
So why did I even look at Google Apps? Two reasons; 1) I got the new Droid X, and the software for connecting to Exchange left something to be desired. I tried the default email client, as well as Touchdown. Both were slow and buggy, and 2) cost. Switching to Google Apps would cut my email costs by 60-70%.
I haven’t committed entirely to Google Apps yet. I set up the account about two weeks ago, and have been testing it out, while leaving my Appriver account up and running in case I want to switch back. Google Apps is no panacea, to be sure, but I do see some advantages that I think will result in me sticking with it, if things continue to go well.
1. It works well with my phone. I don’t have the slowness issues, and the Gmail interface is much more user-friendly than either Touchdown or the default email app.
2. I don’t have to worry about Outlook anymore. That means one less piece of software to reinstall if I reformat my computer, one less piece of bloated software slowing down my machine, and it means I won’t accidentally delete 9 years of email due to a botched reinstallation. Sure, I could have avoided that by using the web-based Outlook interface Appriver offers, but I never liked that much. Especially since I would have had to buy my own SSL cert to get rid of the annoying security alerts, and it forced me to use IE to get a halfway decent experience. None of this was Appriver’s fault, nor something they could really fix, just the nature of using a hosted Exchange server.
3. It’s 60-70% cheaper, as I already pointed out.
4. Easy access from any Internet-connected computer.
1. I’m not entirely sure about the Gmail interface. I’ll probably get used to it, and in some ways I’m starting to like it better, but it’s an adjustment.
2. Limited storage. It’s not an issue for me, since Google Apps Premiere comes with 25GB of storage, which I’m sure they’ll increase over time, and I’m still at less than 10GB. Appriver has unlimited storage.
3. Spam. I have to review the spam myself…well, maybe I don’t, but I am reviewing it, just to be sure. Of course I had to do this initially with Appriver as well, the downside is that I have to do it again.
4. It was a bit of a task to get my email imported into Google Apps. Once I got it working it was a snap, although it took several days, but getting it working took hours and hours to figure out. They have an application that’s supposed to make it easy, but either I was doing something wrong or it wasn’t working right for the first day or two.