Google has announced a new service, Google Message Continuity, that provides customers with a hosted email service that can be used if the on-premises email server suffers an outage.
Google Message Continuity basically replicates all incoming email that is sent through Postini, Googles email security platform, to both the on-premises Exchange server and the backup mailboxes that are hosted in Google Apps (Gmail). An ongoing synchronization process then keeps both servers up to date with internal email and other changes such as deletions.
Google Message Continuity is only compatible with Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2007 at the moment, which makes some sense since Exchange Server 2010 ships with a very strong continuous availability feature with Database Availability Groups. Although Exchange Server 2007 had cross-site CCR and SCR available, these were somewhat tricky to set up.
I’ve been critical in the past of the Google Apps feature set in comparison to Exchange Server, however as a failover option in a disaster the limitations of Google Apps are less important.
Priced at $25/user per annum Google Message Continuity is potentially a strong option for small to medium sized businesses who are still on Exchange 2003 or 2007, and have a need for a cloud-hosted failover option for their email. The price includes Postini for email antispam and antivirus, making it an option with consideration.