It’s easy to make good decisions when there are no bad options. But what if there’s only one option—and it doesn’t fit your organization’s needs?
That’s the situation with Google and its so-called “pure” cloud model. Either you move completely to the cloud all at once or you can’t use Google Apps. With Google, there are no options. It’s one-size-fits-all, no matter what your business requirements.
Google also claims its cloud model is a “proven.” We beg to differ. From a lack of a planned roadmap to a service level agreement (SLA) filled with caveats to a lack of IT management control, Google Apps is far from an enterprise-class solution.
What Google offers businesses is a limited cloud experience. Rather than examining what organizations truly need, Google develops solutions for the consumer and hopes enterprises will simply adapt—it’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole
So what’s wrong with a pure cloud strategy? It might work for a small percentage of businesses. But surveys show that most organizations don’t want to move all of their information to the cloud at once. According to a recent survey by North Bridge Venture Partners, 36 percent of companies that have moved to the cloud have chosen a hybrid approach, while 52 percent plan to take a hybrid approach within the next five years.
Right now, most companies have less than 30 percent of their systems in the cloud, according to David Nichols, a principal at Ernst & Young. In the long run, Nichols expects cloud penetration within organizations to reach 70 percent, meaning widespread adoption of hybrid clouds.
The reasons for a hybrid approach are many. Some companies may want to continue to leverage their existing investments, using the cloud for new situations. Others may want to keep some information on-premises for compliance or operational reasons. Still others may simply want to move at their own pace. Whatever their situation, businesses need options. Forcing them to move to the cloud all at once doesn’t provide the choice and flexibility enterprises need.
A Limited Experience
Not only is the lack of options problematic for many businesses. The experience, once they deploy Google Apps, falls short of what they deserve.
For one, there’s no planned roadmap with Google Apps. As the recent shutdown of Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen, and Google Video for Business demonstrates, new products and services are added and then shut down at whim. In the last year alone, Google donated, merged or shut down some 50 products. Google provides a one-week advance notice for new features to customers on the Scheduled Release track, and retires products with little or no warning. Such unstable predictability makes it impossible for businesses to plan ahead.
Second, the Google Apps service level agreement (SLA) doesn’t guarantee the level of service enterprises need. Google’s SLA covers only nine services and does not cover offline availability. In addition, Google tests its beta products with Google Apps users, but these are not covered by its SLA. There are even caveats about how downtime is determined. Downtime is defined as a user error rate of more than 5 percent.
What’s more, Google Apps fails to provide the level of IT control enterprises rely upon. Google Apps provides limited management tools that are primarily designed for small organizations and are not robust enough for complex deployments and enterprise organizations. In addition, it relies on third-party products, such as CloudLock, to meet auditing and compliance requirements.
Deploying the Cloud Your Way
By contrast, Microsoft provides its customers maximum flexibility, a solid SLA, and a planned roadmap. (To learn more, please see our “Top 10 Reasons Why Enterprises Choose Microsoft Office 365” white paper.)
With Office 365, customers can choose among a pure cloud experience or a hybrid experience that integrates cloud services into an on-premises IT infrastructure. If they choose a hybrid infrastructure, users will likely never know the difference, and customers can use the same management tools across online and on-premises servers.
In addition, Microsoft is one of the few cloud services providers that offer a financially backed SLA when any Office 365 service drops below 99.9 percent availability. The SLA covers every user and every component of the suite.
We also give enterprises the time they need to plan their technical strategy. Office 365 is updated on a regular schedule and offers a 12-month advance notice of significant changes. Customers avoid unpleasant surprises and gain visibility into the Office 365 technology roadmap via the publicly available Service Update Wiki.
All of this is based on more than two decades of experience working with enterprises on a very close basis. We provide an enterprise-grade cloud experience designed to meet the most rigorous requirements businesses have.
Turning Off Cloud Converts
The problem with Google’s so-called “pure and proven” cloud strategy is that it offers both limited options and a limited experience for enterprises. Organizations don’t have access to the choice and flexibility they need. Nor do they get the guaranteed service, IT manageability, or detailed roadmap they need to operate effectively.
Says David Linthicum of InfoWorld: “The majority of public cloud providers are religious about pushing everything outside of the firewall (after all, that's where they are). They need to be careful that their zealotry doesn't turn off potential cloud converts.”
Indeed. Enterprises need options. They need the ability to plan. And they need a cloud services provider committed to meeting their needs. Microsoft provides all three.