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Microsoft recently partnered with WIRED magazine to ask the WIRED.com community what they think is important when looking at cloud solutions. The answers are what everyone should expect from good business solutions:
These are all things that you should not just expect but demand from your cloud solution.
[click to enlarge]
Take a look at Office 365 in comparison with these answers:
Yes, Office 365 is the right choice for businesses of all sizes.
Microsoft brings 20-plus years of experience to Office 365. Since our company was started we've been working closely with people and companies to understand their business needs and how they want to work. Despite being in the market for almost five years, Google Apps has struggled to gain real traction among businesses of all sizes due in part to the lack of functionality they offer.
So check out the results and weigh in. Do you agree with the WIRED community? What are you looking for in a cloud solution?
Noticed the article got pulled from the main Blog screen, but (un)fortunately it takes more than that to stop me ;-)
When it comes to the "Cloud" in general then I'm a "CloudCritic". Its overhyped; "the cloud" doesn't do what was foretold and as such many people will end up eying things negatively when the word 'cloud' falls.
I know this is (and should!) be Office related but I'm going to extend my (probably non-existing) privileges a slightly bit here by going a little beyond Office... "The cloud" was promised to be an entity which should enhance redundancy. After all; a virtual instance could be powered by one or more hardware components thus it would be the perfect environment. If you needed more capacity you could add those, and if you needed less you simply could ease up. And then Amazons EC2 cloud went down for a few weeks, to be followed by Google's "application cloud". So much for redundency.... Oh I'm sure things have improved over time, but the event alone showed us that 'redundency' has nothing to do with the cloud.
In general its not several hardware components which produce a virtual instance. Instead its more often one hardwae component which powers several virtual instances. Loose the hardware component and you're out of luck. (and yes; for the techies I am well aware that hardware is often redundent. Raid 5 or 6, dual PSU's, hot swappable, etc.). Take out the CPU and you're still toast.
Now back fully ontopic...
I think the key advantage which Microsoft has is its seemingly integration between common and virtual. I have Word 2010 open, I go backstage (love that term) and go "save & publish" and can instantly put my document online with the click of a mouse.
Better yet: I'm now in control of whether to work online or offline.
And now back to 365... I truly think Microsoft suffers one very /heavy/ problem and that's lack of information. Up until now I always thought "365 = online office suite", as such my conclusion: "you're better off with Office 2010 which is offline + online".
So now in your article I read "on- and off-line". How do you do it ?
Research got me this:
DO I assume right that with 365 people basically get a full fledged version of Office Professional plus /AND/ extended online support (Skydrive, Exchange, Lync) ?
Honestly; representing a (small!) company that is my main gripe. I often cannot get through the buzzwords and pick up what exactly I'm looking at.
Ok, lets go concrete (and I hope you guys read this /and/ are willing to chip in!).
I found this: www.microsoft.com/.../compare-plans.aspx
Now lets go mid-range: "Mid-size business and enterprises" (for $10,-/month? easy!)
What /is/ "active directory synchronization" ?
Also; E1 & E3 come to mind: (small letters): "with E1 you can only view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files online. With E3 you can both edit and view these files online."
E1: $10/month (=$120 / year). E3: $24/month (=$288 / year).
So, from a total enduser POV attempt my first thought is... $288.. For $199,- I get Office Home & Business (Word, Excell, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook & Publisher) and with a Live account I get Skydrive and 25Gb online. Isn't that cheaper ?
From my own admin POV I think I can see where this is getting at; 24/7 support (cool!), SharePoint (winphone,online (live), Office... share and share alike), e-mail, etc.
Yet I feel this isn't being made fully clear on the whole 365 aspect. Further more; in many ways (even this article) you claim "on & offline". Yet I came to conclude that offline is only available with the high-end (C3) subscription. (please DO correct me if I'm wrong).
If I'm right that puts things into totally new perspectives...
I'm a small firm so I also have a decent but not high end internet provider. Talking cold cash here; taking the risk of going E1 (so "saving" the purchase cost of 1 office package per year) and being met with downtime (never underestimate the damage this will cause!) doesn't weigh up IMO with getting yourself a copy of Office and enjoying the free virtualisation (SkyDrive) which is provided when you have a Windows Live ID.
Just to be sure; don't get me wrong.. This is all constructive criticism. I write the way I see things, and the only reason I take my time to do so is because I've become a strong believer when it comes to the potential of Office 2010. That goes deep. Yet I'm not too sure if companies would benefit from taking the risk with the 'regular' 365 subscriptions that its not always on and offline.
And please do correct me if I'm wrong.
I would love to see Azure-powered virtual Windows servers for example. I honestly that will be a key seller. "If you cannot trust Microsoft wirth virtual Window servers then who can you? (think key strengths here!)