Gmail for Business

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by Paul Warren, May 28, 2012.

  1. Paul Warren

    Paul Warren Member

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    Hi guys,

    I have a bit of a weird question that I'm hoping someone may be able to assist with.

    We currently use gmail for all our staff accounts in the office (but each account is made directly with google) as opposed to us using like; Google Apps or whatever they call it, and then using their administration page.

    So what we do is:

    We make: emailaccount@warcom.com.au and re-direct that account to emailaccount.warcom@gmail.com.

    People email us, we email them - they think the email comes from our server, etc.

    I know this isn't the correct way to actually set this up (but it works).

    Here's our problem though; we also use the ticketing system "Kayako" on our server which is run using POP/IMAP and from what I've always read, you can't actually run google apps, if you are also running other application like this?

    I haven't explained this very well obviously, but if anyone knows what I'm talking about - some help would be greatly appreciated :)

    - Paul.
     
  2. MrvNDMrtN

    MrvNDMrtN Member

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    So whats the actual issue?
     
  3. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Firstly, I'd fix that.

    GApps for Business works well enough, so long as you can guarantee internet access. Being an Online store, I'd say that if the internet stops, so does a big chunk of your business - so you'd (hopefully) have some business grade connection (i.e not ADSL(x/x+)).

    There is no reason why you shouldn't be using dudeface@warcom.com.au (substitute dudeface for someone's name) under your GApps Admin account. Particularly if you want to review emails etc company wide without yoinking someone's actual real email to do so.

    I'm pretty sure you pay for a user even if you're just using them to relay out to other users - if you don't, the $5/month/head isn't going to kill your business.

    I honestly can't think of a good reason why you've done it that way - besides maybe really old iOS implementations if they didn't support multiple gapps for business account with full service (calendar, contacts, etc). It won't take you long to fix it either.

    POP and IMAP are supported, just like regular free Gmail. See here http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=105694

    Now if you just want something that Kayako can relay out via, you can use your google apps pop servers (read the doco) - or you can use your own (i.e hmail administrator - free) then have it relay out, or you can use your ISP's.

    If your ticketing system is a spamming whore, this is one of those instances where i'd say an in-house mail system is superior - because you're not sending shitloads of internal mail out of your ip.
     
  4. bugayev

    bugayev Whammy!

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    I'd say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using Google Apps for Business, other significantly larger and more critical organisations than Warcom use it without issue.

    Using forwarded email for no good reason seems a little silly though.

    Your ticketing system that checks via IMAP should be able to do that with google apps without issue, again many organisations do this.
     
  5. Big Trev

    Big Trev Member

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    Likewise Office 365. There are some serious heavy-hitters moving to these sort of hosted services.

    And host it where? In his high-availability server cupboard out next to the tea room? And what's his business, serving customers, or running IT infrastructure? Hosted apps like this work for lots of reasons.

    (edit) - wow. Re-read the above, I'm a bit OT there!
    If your ticketing system Kayako needs to be pointed to an SMTP server, I can't see why you couldn't point it to google's server http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=13287

    (another edit) - Paul, you'd probably best try and explain a little better what your question is.... :)
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  6. newgen

    newgen Member

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    I would bet that Google Apps for a small business would be more reliable than an SBS setup in most cases... and cheaper to run.

    Exchange admin is a bitch if something goes wrong.. then you're talking about virtualising with ESX as well, adding another layer of complexity and another system to support.

    There is not enough info in here to make the recommendation to set up internal infrastructure for this... bad advice.
     
  7. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    If I understand the question correctly, why don't you have Kayako pointed at your gmail account? Kayako itself has no problems accessing Gmail accounts via IMAP and I've set this up before.

    Secondly, I'd make the decision to move it all directly to Google Apps or find an alternative. The last thing you want is more points of failure for a business (especially when it comes to email).

    I'm sure you'll ignore the Exchange suggestion, unless you have a lot of spare $$ to pay a sysadmin to maintain it :)
     
  8. newgen

    newgen Member

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    Yep.. plus a 'server room' to store it in, a network to connect to it via, + firewall etc, plus the hardware and software licenses to host it on, and back it up etc.. etc.. etc.

    etc.. etc..


    etc..
     
  9. newgen

    newgen Member

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    Why would they invest in hardware, software, setup costs, maintenance and admin costs etc and TIME to set this up when for a small fraction of the cost they can get something up and running quicker, cheaper, and have it run more reliably?

    Even if there was expertise internally to set all that up you'd be silly not to look at Google Apps in this situation. I've set up Google Apps for numerous small businesses like this in under a day, set and forget.. no problems at all, and no hardware/infrastructure/ongoing admin and maintenance etc to worry about. It's a no-brainer in most cases.
     
  10. Daemon

    Daemon Member

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    Actually, if you knew the amount of support calls that arise from Exchange POP connectors (from a hosting provider's perspective) it's anything but reliable. I know of quite a number of small businesses who went the SBS server in their office route with POP connector and about 50% have reverted back. It was either costing them too much to keep it working (ie support calls) or they couldn't afford to keep it working and therefore scrapped it.

    Like managing any server, you need someone to maintain it. SBS combines many servers into one and the complexity to end users is well beyond their means. This is why "cloud" hosted solutions are now the norm rather than the exception for most small businesses, it's far more cost effective and certainly more reliable.
     
  11. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    As a small business integrator whos background is Medium-Large Business IT with a sprinkle of Enterprise (Federal Government). knows how to build Exchange, SQL, AD, etc and also does SBS stuff.

    I'll believe the shit you're selling when (if?) the NBN becomes common place. Connectivity is the problem.

    Cloud solutions are shithouse if you can only get ~400kbit/sec up (often less than 8mbit down) and the next price point is $6k/month for 4Mbit/4Mbit with a 100k+ investment to get it off the ground.

    Cloud works great until you hit 4-5 users, or you're heavy users of that traffic. Or you know, you have other requirements.
     
  12. 7nothing

    7nothing Member

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    That, and that like the rest of Google's offerings aside from the search engine, apps for business is cobbled together with bits of string and dodgyness. Should really rename it to "gmail with domains". Pretending it's a business ready platform is quite misleading.
     
  13. newgen

    newgen Member

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    I'm going to make the assumption that the last two posters haven't implemented or used Google Apps commercially before..

    I've done 12 or so implementations, no problems at all.. Works fine and is pretty reliable bar one or two instances (still well within SLAs though). I know of larger companies (5000+ seats) who use it and can't say enough good things about it, including Government departments here in Australia.

    I think it's an excellent tool, and works quite well. Having said that though, I have made my stance quite clear on these forums regarding their terms of use and privacy policies.. if you're ok with that potential risk then it can be a brilliant solution (obviously not for all circumstances...)
     
  14. GreenBeret

    GreenBeret Member

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    My workplace has both Google Apps and Exchange, 30K+ users. We have both under "trial" to see which one is the best, and that will become the only one in 2 years time. So far, Google Apps is winning without breaking a sweat.

    I've deployed Google Apps for small businesses before. Works a treat.
     
  15. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    I've implemented it a few times. And recommend it where appropriate.

    1. Its not a feature complete as SBS/AD+Exchange.
    2. If you have no internet, nothing is happening.

    I do tend to agree that "gmail with domains" is probably a better term. Its *far* superior than anything that came before it (in terms of cloud-based corporate mail), but its not as polished as it should be.

    Note that my biggest beefs with it is that a 10-15 user office dies without internet and GMail is not really equivalent to Outlook when coupled with Exchange - and the Outlook for GApps connector thingy is a decent attempt (again - definitely better than anything that came before it), but its *never* going to be as smooth or as seamless as a heterogeneous solution from Microsoft.

    Reliable Connectivity is a huge problem outside of big business (in so much that only they can afford it). I have areas that i service that see 1-2 days outage twice a year - of everything. Phone's, Internet. Usually 2-3 hours without power. Just because of a heavy downpour and poor infrastructure.

    Getting a service that will get around this through this is a six figure investment with a 4-6k monthly cost.

    This all changes with the NBN. I'll be singing high praises for it. Till then it boils down to this.

    Moving to the Cloud may reduce your server infrastructure and admin maintenance costs - but it will increase your connectivity costs.

    Businesses *hate* ongoing monthly fees - and convincing them they need to spend 10-20 times more, per month, for slower data transfer - just so their little cloud solution can stay online - is much harder than selling them a server and seeing them once a month for an hour or two of maintenance.


    IIRC you're at RMIT. Exchange is definitely not something i would ever implement for a student population. I would honestly do both. GApps (or similar) for students and Exchange for staff.
     
  16. GreenBeret

    GreenBeret Member

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    #1 is debatable, but #2? Haven't you discovered email / calendar clients? You can still read what you have on them when you have no Internet. No more, no less than Internet going down on a SBS server, as you can't send and receive shit. With GApps, getting backup Internet up is usually a simple matter of plugging in a 3G USB modem. If your inhouse SBS server is down, you're fucked for quite some time (as small businesses can't afford inhouse sysadmins).

    I'm not at RMIT. It's a bigger workplace than that. :p

    Exchange blows, everyone on it wants to be on GApps. When the contract runs out with MS, I'm reasonably sure we'll all be on GApps.

    Edit: FYI I'm a sysadmin but not a mail one.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  17. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Email and Calendar clients aren't as good as the Gmail web apps for dealing with Gmail/Gapps.

    And Not to the outside world, no. But the Office doesn't stop. They can still schedule things - the phone is still ringing. etc etc.

    So 10-15 of them? at $40/month/device?

    Or a 4G one, router supporting Cellular fallover for $120-600/month for a decent quota?

    My response time on "server down" is usually within 30 minutes. At least they can call me and ask questions, get ETA's, try non-standard solutions in emergencies or just in general call me to say hi.

    What's google's support phone number?

    Genuinely curious here.

    Why?

    What are the end users seeing and experiencing that leads them to think that either one is better than the other?
     
  18. newgen

    newgen Member

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    This is no different with Google Apps if you use a local client.

    Or just use their smart phones, tether.. etc. No internet connectivity would present the same problems in both scenarios so I don't see the argument. If you're using Google Apps and their mobile tools well then downtime of the office internet link would just mean reverting to working off your smart phone.

    In their scenario, unless they outsource their support of this environment, it'd most likely be one admin looking after the whole environment. I would trust Google's services + SLA's over one tech any day. What if the tech goes on leave, is sick, DIES.. etc? You might be good at what you do and are willing to take calls 24x7, but for every one of you, there are 9 that are shithouse. - in your field you probably come across the work of these 9/10 all the time and get paid to fix them.

    Google have Enterprise support offerings...


    Google's products have evolved pretty smoothly and they've done a good job integrating all their services across the platform. Configuration, connectivity and client compatability is simple and just works.

    Admin is easy, managing costs per seat is easy.. so many pluses.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  19. leck

    leck Member

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    Interesting thread but getting a bit offtrack.

    To answer the ops question as many others have done, just change over to apps which basically removes the need for forwarding (where your problem is) and will give you a largely issue free (and simple) email setup. Kayako will work no problems with it too.

    Exchange is great but it is a completely different tool to gmail/Apps. Yes there is overhead/hardware/software/os issues etc but it does groupware the best out of anything. It integrates well, single signon, outlook + office, good web + mobile access, all good!. It is definitely the strongest product out there of its type and has been forever.

    Gmail/Apps is likewise a fantastic solution. No hw/sw to worry about, syncs well to devices/sw clients etc and the web interface is great. Gmail really is email with tacked on calendars/tasks etc though and if you think differently you're kidding yourself. That said, it still works plenty well enough for a lot of businesses/people and is excellent value for money.

    If you just need to give users what gmail offer, then gmail is a tidy/low cost/low maintenance/highly functional product. If however you need exchange features, then you generally have things costed out and know what your needs are. It is 'worth the time/money' and maintenance reqs (even though it isn't much at the end of the day comparatively).

    Both good.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  20. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    How exactly does a secretary send an email to the rest of the company whilst they have no connectivity to the internet to send internal office emails?

    I'm yet to see a Small Business that warrants SBS/GApps with more than 15% smartphone penetration. Most of my clients its a case of the owner, a sales guy if they have one and maybe a keen office manager. The rest of them don't get shit, and they certainly aren't using their own phones to keep the business running.

    I wont argue this. The business i work for/manage had exactly that happen. The owner/tech/very good friend died.

    This is just a case where proper documentation and the business owners having all the keys for such an event to find alternate support is mandatory.

    This doesn't answer my question. Nothing there is indicating why a USER should give a shit if you're on GoogleApps or Exchange. The experience should be relatively identical.

    But again, as i said - horses for courses.

    Most of the Small Businesses I have that are staring at this decision are at the point where they need some form of controlled access storage.

    A *nix based NAS (be it a synology/d-link/netgear/thecus/whatever or a whitebox/tier-1 vendor server with an OS on it) ticks this box. But then we come to support - Yeah I can fix one, but what about my competition - I really can't speak for them, and I truly doubt it based on a lot of the work i've seen and fixed afterwards. So that leaves me at Windows.

    Win7 for multiple file users isn't a great idea. SBS Essentials hasn't really won me over at all. SBS Standard is *cheaper* than Windows Server Standard (or about the same price - I forget). So its not really any additional cost to put in SBS from a licensing perspective.

    I don't do servers without some form of raid. Memory is cheap as. Maybe looking at an extra $300-500 in storage and memory.

    Then comes the discussion about Internal Email vs External. They are all coming from POP accounts typically - so anything is better. Really for the end user, its a wash - with the exception that Outlook is smoother with Exchange than it is with GApps Sync. But overlooking that it then falls down to connectivity.

    Like i said above - in an NBN world, I would move probably 60-70% of my clients to a Synology-style NAS (or two, one for backup) and Office 365 or GApps. We aren't there yet.

    My Customers don't like "I can't do shit for you, its not in my control". That goes for the Internet AND their server. A Business can operate just fine for a few hours with internal office communication (email - because thats where all their shit is) a phone (be it mobile or otherwise).

    Take that away and it literally becomes < hour before things get into a shitfight.

    Worse still, I have a customer that did this, against my advice. They actually went even MORE basic than GApps. They did IMAP. Problem is, they can only get ADSL1 (8mbit, but its still ADSL1 with its 384kbit upload).

    Their office choked and died. Mail was shit slow, Browsing was shit slow (I have 2 connections balanced there via a draytek - but because every user is sending/receiving mail - it doesn't take long for 15 users to choke the upstream of both), and in general the whole experience was horrible. So horrible infact the owner actually back flipped on his "we don't need exchange" stance within 48 hours. They have a SBS 2011 server now and I haven't heard from them in weeks.

    That's a real world example, with the constraints of Australian Consumer DSL internet applied to cloud infrastructure. If they had a 4mbit/4mbit connection - things would have been fine. But even if you exclude the build fee - their server paid for itself (over the "cloud") in < 3 months.

    But don't think i'm just writing off GoogleApps entirely - Look at my reply in this thread to the OP. I said go BACK and put everything over to Google Apps - because their business *should* be able to guarantee internet connectivity, because its *crucial* to their business model.

    Horses for Courses. Understand the Problem and Environment with its constraints. Apply a solution that best fits.

    Agreed.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012

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