Google's full-court marketing blitz to counter the Microsoft Office 2010 upgrade includes a familiar face to assure old-school IT executives that cloud computing can be trusted: Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun.
Bechtolsheim is fully embracing cloud computing applications these days, as co-founder and chief development officer of Arista Networks, a startup that builds data center switches. Arista, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has only minimal IT infrastructure and relies on Google and several other companies to deliver core technology services.
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Google this week has written numerous blog posts touting the benefits of Google Apps in an attempt to sway IT executives away from Microsoft Office. Bechtolsheim joined Google as a guest blogger on Monday and described his experiences with Google Apps during a Webcast for IT pros on Thursday.
Adopting Google Apps was easy for Arista because it didn't have much of a legacy IT environment to rip out, Bechtolsheim said.
"We didn't have a legacy issue," he said during the webcast. "We started like this from the very beginning of the company. One reason for that was no one wanted to be the IT administrator, quite frankly. We still don't have an IT administrator, and I don't think we'd ever want to change away from this model."
Arista is using Google Apps for email and word processing, along with the Amazon cloud for hosting the company Web site; NetSuite for ERP database; and Salesforce.com for CRM.
Bechtolsheim raved about Google Apps during the Webcast, which was not surprising given that the Webcast was sponsored by Google. He did offer specific reasons why Google has worked well at his company, however.
With 150 licenses, Google Apps costs Arista $7,500 per year, less than one month's salary for a really good IT administrator, he said. Spam filters work well, searching e-mail is easy, chat is integrated, and the 25GB limit on e-mail storage is massive, he said.
"Even large corporations have very tight limits on email storage," Bechtolsheim says. "It's hard to believe why that is. I have close to 100,000 emails in my folder and I can still find every one of them. To me it's like a database. It turns email into a storage system, which I just didn't have before."