Open source could doom Exchange, one IT pro believes

The following post is a guest blog from new Google Subnet blogger Garett Kopczynski who this week launched Network World's Google

Watcher blog. Kopczynski is an IT professional for the city of Keene, N.H., and has been involved in the transformation of the IT group as it increasingly explores cloud computing and Google Apps. He writes: I am seeing the evidence of a fundamental shift to open source. The clunkiness of the IT world I have experience with brings to mind the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and mammals waited in the wings. As people are exposed to the possibilities of server side applications and program alternatives, I think they will feel less obliged to go with the current standard. AOL, for instance, was the easiest option for Internet in the 1990's, and yet it is no longer an indomitable presence. Open source could spell extinction for the current IT standards.

Already we have Open Office coming in the front door with its "free download" coupled with the latest Java update; a sign that times are a-changing. Exposure to open source is offering alternatives which stand to change the home computing environment. In the office it is no different. Where I work we use an Exchange server, and use Outlook as our mail client, as I believe most IT departments do. Two options are on the plate now that could change some, if not all, of that. The first option is looking at viable open source options instead of Outlook that can work with an Exchange server. Thunderbird, the client produced by the folks at Mozilla, is a good alternative and we are testing it for users that wouldn't get Outlook but still need to use e-mail. This cuts down the need to rely on licenses of Outlook, but doesn't remove our reliance on Exchange-based e-mail.

The real answer, and perhaps our long-term destination, is the use of Google Apps. Since we wouldn't need to keep up with as much networking stress, we could phase out a majority of our server environment. There wouldn't even be a need for an Exchange server in this scenario. Getting users on the Internet would be the solution. This would reduce our networking concerns down to a minimum, and we could focus on issues such as ensuring that our emergency services are top of the line. This benefits taxpayers and the IT staff, freeing us up to do things other than fuss with extra unnecessary items on our plate.

Read the second part of this post on the Google Watcher blog: "5 reasons why you should use Google Apps."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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