Google wants to back up your Microsoft Exchange for less

Google's cloud-based service offers yet another bridge from Microsoft's offerings

Google stepped up its relentless assault on Microsoft's desktop dominance today with the announcement it's offering a cloud-based email backup and disaster recovery service for Microsoft Exchange -- for around half the price of Microsoft's quoted cost. Conveniently, the service also provides a first step for organizations to move from, say, Microsoft Office to Google Apps.

Dubbed Google Message Continuity, the service is designed to ensure that users of Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007 maintain access to their email during planned or unplanned Exchange outages. Part of Google's Postini email service, Google Message Continuity synchronizes an organization's on-premises Exchange accounts, allowing users to get at their messages via Gmail, whether or not the organization's Exchange servers are up and running. Once servers come back up, the service syncs with them, updating to reflect messages sent and received during the outage, as well as changes made to message states.

With this service, Google clearly has its sights sets on luring Microsoft users to its own cloud offerings. First, as noted, the service gives users access to all their Exchange messages via the Gmail interface. That way, users could theoretically get comfortable firing up Gmail in their browser to access messages, contacts, and calendars -- instead of opening up Exchange.

Second, Google is pitching the Message Continuity Service as "a smooth bridge" from Exchange to Google Apps: "If you decide to deploy Google Apps, you won't need to migrate any email data since Google Message Continuity will have already done so via synchronization."

Notably, this isn't the only such bridge to come from Google: The company has offerings such as Google Cloud Connect, Google Apps Migration for Microsoft, and Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.

Finally, Google is offering the service for $25 per users per year for new customers and $13 per year for current Postini customers, about half the cost of Microsoft's backup Exchange service.

This article, "Google wants to back up your Microsoft Exchange for less," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.