Mac OS Server vs Google Docs & Mail

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by designjohn, May 13, 2010.

  1. designjohn macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Hoping someone could help me out.

    I work in a small design studio of ten people, sharing files through a snow leopard xserve and we currently use communigate for webmail.

    I'd like to start a company address book, shared calendars available on iCal and iPhones and Blackberries and have a better webmail client. Our external IT support have recommended using google's docs and mail to achieve this and so have set us up a 30 day trial.

    However my first impressions are that we don't need the docs, it doesn't integrate very elegantly with iCal or address books and we would be paying for a service which we could simply turn on for free in the server we already have.

    I know that if our server died our email would not continue to work, but otherwise I don't see what the google mail system has over using the xserver. But perhaps someone has some experience of using both methods and can let me know if I am right or wrong....
  2. mbestel macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2010

    You can host your company email with google for free, the catch is that when you use the gmail interface (from home, or whatever) you see ads. I've been using gmail for my company almost exclusively for the last year and don't even notice the ads.

    Signing up with gmail gives you docs and calendar as well. If you don't want to use them, you don't have to.

    All of the services are pretty well integrated and you can (fairly) easily plug address book, calendars and mail into your Mac apps if you want.

    I run a very small company so have not really needed to use shared calendars on either platform, although it seems reasonably easy on both.

    With either solution it is pretty trivial to get iPhones and Blackberries working.

    Once again this is free if you want it to be:

    OS X Server does everything too, although it does tend to be more tightly integrated with Mac clients.

    It's a shame that you have a G5 as Snow Leopard appears to have improved the Address Book and Calendar situation considerably although I haven't yet looked at it myself.

    OS X Server includes a webmail services based on Squirrelmail - tarted up a bit and while it certainly isn't gmail, it might be worth a look.

    I am probably rambling at this point, but ultimately both solutions can do what you want with a bit of mucking around.

    It all depends on how technically capable your team are, as having a file server is one thing, but hosting additional services on there can get a bit more challenging and also creates a great big single point of failure.

    If you want to talk specifics, drop me a line.

    Hope this is helpful.


  3. designjohn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thanks for your reply Mark, much appreciated.

    Although I can't immediately see the setting again, I believe I have turned off ads. I am certainly not getting any in the trial version I have.

    We do actually have Snow Leopard Server and snow Leopard on all but one mac here, not a G5, so we are as up to date on the apple side of things as we could be.

    Currently i am inclined to use google mail for our email but host calendars and address book locally. We are using crashplan to backup our data, locally and offsite and I'm tempted to buy a mini server to use as a mirror incase of disaster.

    I had expected more comments on this issue from people, as I would have assumed I'm not the first person to be going through this decision process in one form or another.

    Thanks again for your reply.
  4. mbestel macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2010

    Sorry, not sure why I thought you had a G5 server.

    Anyway, you don't get ads on the paid version of google apps, only on the free one.

    It's not a bad idea to do things the way you are thinking, as long as you use a desktop mail client most of the time, otherwise you will probably run into address book issues - contacts not in gmail, etc.

    BTW I have a theory on why nobody replied... in my very limited experience, longer multi-part questions seem less likely to get reponses. This is only my observation and I am not keen to get flamed.


  5. designjohn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Thanks for the reply Mark (for some reason I didn't see it until today).

    In case anyone comes across this thread. I am still testing the google system, but find it rather less intuitive and rather more limited than I would expect.

    Contact sharing is difficult to say the least. It is randomly impossible to create new calendars and events and the folks I work with strongly dislike the way gmail gives you an email thread view. Finally google's help is amongst the worst I have encountered.

    But still, I will continue to test it for the duration of the free test period.

  6. Silas1066 macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2009
    My company currently uses Google Enterprise Apps for over 500 users.

    It has generally been OK, but there are issues for sure. The product is immature, and support is lacking (you get routed to India, and don't expect a call back until 24+ hours later). We also get errors and outages.

    I don't drink the Google Kool-Aid. They are a search company pretending to be an enterprise application provider.

    For a shop of under 200 people, the native OSX mail and calendar utilities are a better way to go.
  7. designjohn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Do you have any experience with the webmail client built into mac os?

    The web interface for google mail does seem to be the best part of the the google package - I imagine that the snow leopard web mail isn't up to the same level.
  8. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    The webmail.... is Squirrel Mail. Squirrel Mail is horrible. You may be able to replace it with something like RoundCube, but I haven't tried it. When I get some time, I will play around with replacing Squirrel Mail and post a guide.

Share This Page