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The Future of Cloud Computing: LA Adopts Google Email

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"The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to outsource its e-mail system to Google Inc., making it the largest city in the nation to make the move and handing the Web search giant a major victory in its quest to become a software provider to the world's cities and businesses." stated the article in the LA Times.

So, what does this REALLY mean? It doesn't mean that if you want to email the mayor, his new email address is going to be TonyV at gmail.com. What it does mean is that the concept of "Cloud Computing" is maturing and getting a resounding vote of approval from a major organization. While I'm not here to voice my opinion on whether Google's solution is better than Micosoft's or Novell's (the other competitors), I am interested in what this means to the millions of other businesses out there and the trend towards more and more cloud computing.

If you're not familiar with this concept, simply put "cloud computing" is about moving the computer systems you rely on from being at your location to someone offsite who can provide these same functions through your internet connection. This also goes by the name "Software as a Service" (SaaS). This greatly reduces the strain put on your business to own, manage, and maintain pieces of your own network infrastructure and put this responsibility on to someone else who's sole purpose is to provide these services. We're seeing this more and more these days. The greatest example of this are things like Salesforce.com, Google apps, Mint.com, etc.

What does this mean for you practically speaking? For many of our clients this can be seen in hosted email and hosted spam filtering. You can run MS-Outlook internally on all your workstations while NOT requiring an internal MS-Exchange Server (but rather using one out in "the cloud"). While this has many advantages: lower cost to start, lower cost to maintain, upgrades taken care of, etc.) there are also a number of significant disadvantages: data stored offsite, reliance on your internet connection, reliance on a 3rd party, etc. Like I said, we are seeing this more and more these days. While it's not for everyone and certainly not for every application, for certain size businesses and certain applications, it's a very cost effective and valuable solution that we will be seeing more and more of in the future.

While the base need to leverage technology to achieve your business goals hasn't changed, what has changed is "how" (technically) this gets accomplished. And how, we, as a company are changing "how" we do what we do is changing. While historically we've been focused on internal technology and how we manage, maintain, and support it for our clients, we now are moving in ways to ensure that we're able to effectively provide similar consulting services for hosted or SaaS or "cloud" technologies to ensure the technology our clients' are using are as effective for them as possible.


Good article Craig. I didn't have a mission really but I'm finding my IT steadily moving into the cloud. We've gone from internal SharePoint for production tasks to Zendesk. Our sign-up process uses Formspring, billing Freshbooks and I'm looking to migrate MS CRM to a hosted solution. What's amazing are all the APIs and widgets that connect these apps. I am seriously considering moving to Google for email instead of internal Exchange. At that point I have a file share and that's all. I'm also seeing how for us and our clients we can unify authentication across all these cloud apps with OpenID. It's going to be like my IT has left the building.

I think over the next few years MSPs are going to have to see their role as helping SMBs "get the most from technology" and move from "taking care of IT".
Posted by: Derek Brown( Visit ) at 10/29/2009 8:18 PM


HI Craig-

I've been doing some research into MSPs and stumbled across FPA because of MSPmentors.

What do you think about the Private Cloud ie MSPs offering their own SaaS to their clients and managing their cloud.

In Iaas, Paas and Saas, exploiting Cloud Computing can be surprisingly easy. Cloud providers are becoming more and more accessible to the cloud uninitiated. Morph (www.mor.ph) is a perfect example. It can give you a HA cloud with little up front costs that enables you to transform your existing datacenter resources into an easy to manage, instantly scalable and highly available cloud… without your IT staff needing to understand the ins and outs of virtualization. It isn’t just a virtualization front end like EC2, but a full, open standards based end to end solution. With built is necessities like application version tracking, self-healing, load balancing, on-demand scaling as well as automated graphing, monitoring and notifications for every aspect of the application and virtualization layers. It currently is the only ready for production cloud solution. Offering easy enablement of Iaas, PaaS and SaaS. It is multi-tenant and even has built in billing.

Let me know if you're interested in hearing more!
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What does this mean for you practically speaking? For many of our clients this can be seen in hosted email and hosted spam filtering. You can run MS-Outlook internally on all your workstations while NOT requiring an internal MS-Exchange
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Home > Our Company > Blog > What's in Store for 2009?

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What's in Store for 2009?


2008 was one of the worst years for the economy in a long, long time. I think we're all ready to put it behind us and look forward to 2009. But what's in store for 2009?

Here we are at the most technologically advanced time in the history of the world and yet while also in one of the deepest recessions since the 30's. We're already seeing companies holding back rather than looking forward. Unfortunately, this mindset will prevent many companies from taking advantage of all that technology now has to offer. Some of the hot topics that we look to see more of in 2009 include:

cloud computing
managed services
virtualization
increased storage requirements and capabilities
disk vs. tape backup
online backup
web conferencing
video conferencing
VOIP / unified communications

These all have their strengths and weaknesses, but the bottom line of most of these is how they can help companies become more cost effective in how they utilize technology.
Posted by Brett Schoneman at 1/16/2009 8:24 AM

I think that you are right about the amazing future for cloud computing. This is a topic that I had heard as a buzzword for some time now, but as I really start to understand the implications of it I am excited for the future. Of course along with these exciting technologies come the darker clouds of privacy and security, so we need to trust in the higher power of working together and shared resources, but also need to lock our doors just in case.
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What I mean by this is - similar to our clients and similar to our competitors, one of our key objectives is growth. But as I look around at others in our industry and some of the "so called" experts,
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It's one thing to aim to be "better" than our competitors, but it's another to be seen as "Best in Class". This not only goes to the services we provide, how we deliver those services, the value we provide, but ultimately to the performance of our company as a business. Being in business for 17+ years, we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
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About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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