Office 365 vs. Google Apps

Moving into the Cloud

For many administrators, the prospect of migrating from a local mail server into the cloud is an interesting one. As you might expect, Office 365 supports simple migration of an existing Exchange infrastructure to Exchange Online. Depending on the version of Exchange you use, temporary parallel use of the local Exchange infrastructure and Office 365 is also possible, including synchronization between the user mailboxes on both systems. If you have a different mail system, you can also migrate existing mailboxes into the cloud via IMAP.

Google Apps supports these migration options and additionally offers Directory Sync for automated synchronization of users and groups on existing LDAP systems, such as Active Directory. This function is also available in Office 365, although it is only offered in more expensive editions for medium-sized to large-scale enterprises. Depending on the number of mailboxes you need to migrate, and their size, copying all your data can take several hours or even longer.

Integration with the Office World

Microsoft has a head start in terms of office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. However, Google offers Google Sync (Figure 8) for Outlook and Google Cloud Connect (automated synchronization with Google Docs for text, tables, and presentations) to integrate its products with Microsoft’s Office suite. That said, the Google tools do not offer the same functionality you might be accustomed to in many cases.

Figure 8: Google Apps also lets users work with Outlook.

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