Peer to Peer

June 2009

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the quarterly magazine of ILTA 51 Peer to Peer s oftware as a service (saas) is a software delivery model where applications are hosted by third parties, typically over the internet (also known as the cloud), and made available to users on a per use or subscription basis. What many don't realize is that the saas model is already widely used by consumers and corporations. On the consumer side, many people today are comfortable with storing private information in the cloud via Facebook and with sending their financial information to merchant processing systems such as PayPal and In the corporate arena, backup data centers are often hosted offsite, and many organizations use cloud services for portions of their e-mail infrastructure. This might include anti- spam services such as Postini, which is owned by Google, and BlackBerry traffic that is routed through RIM's network operations center. The next logical step, then, is to move core services such as e-mail and document storage to the cloud as these services become as much a commodity as buying power from utilities. Not all SaaS services are mature enough to include in a firm's network architecture, but there is a compelling argument for considering those that are fully developed. The potential benefits to organizations include: Eliminating server hardware, software and backup • applications Eliminating capital expenditures • Minimizing start-up/setup costs • Reducing operating expenses • Eliminating maintenance and patching • Eliminating the need for onsite or on-call server expertise • Gaining automatic offsite backup • improving remote access and disaster recovery/business • continuity capabilities achieving desktop platform independence • Reducing service requirements to having an internet • connection and a Web browser Google Apps is one of the most developed SaaS offerings. Google claims more than one million businesses and more than 10 million active users with thousands of major educational institutions using the system. Launched in 2006, Google Apps is customized with your organization's domain name and focuses on messaging and collaboration features. The free service is available for up to 50 users with 7.3 GB per user of e-mail storage and is funded by easily ignored ads on the right column. However, this Standard version only has self-service online support and no service level agreement (SLA). Google's ad-free Premium edition, our focus in this article, goes for $50 per user per year and includes 25 GB per user of e-mail storage, a 99.9 percent uptime SLA, migration tools, live support and Postini's e-mail security and archiving products. Let's take a look at some of the features of Google's SaaS offering. Messaging Available in 40 languages, the messaging component works much like the consumer Gmail service, providing e-mail, shareable calendar, sharable contacts, instant messaging, anti- spam and antivirus capabilities accessed via an SSL-secured session. Google includes tools for migrating existing mailboxes on servers such as Exchange to Google Apps. There are also APIs which allow for synchronizing the addition or deletion of users, and other changes, with internal systems. To safeguard against a service or Internet outage, or to provide for a notebook user, you can enable the offline feature, which will cache the mailbox locally. Or, those who wish to continue to use Outlook can manage their mailboxes via IMAP synchronization. Collaboration This service offers the ability to create, edit, save and control versions of documents, spreadsheets and presentations within the Web interface. The word processor even has rudimentary by Dean Leung Software as a Service Ready for Prime Time? Google Apps

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