Rackspace and Microsoft: A Possible Answer for Small and Medium Businesses

In a world of the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”, the “Haves” will always have a clear advantage. In business, large companies “have” dedicated IT personnel, while small to medium businesses “have not”. Rackspace Communications Services is looking to help change all that by making it possible for companies of all sizes to have their own IT access while providing a wide range of hosted and “cloud” solutions.

Rackspace offers products including hosted exchange for email, calendar and task management, SharePoint, mobile solutions and storage. Rackspace is designed to provide comprehensive communications solutions in a manner that is affordable, powerful, and backed by constant customer service.

I’ve been reluctant to try a paid a service like this one because I’ve been using Google Apps for Gear Diary’s mail and calendar server. Google Apps has been a decent solution so far, but with the changes made yesterday and with the limitations on storage space already placed on the free accounts, I’m afraid that the writing is on the wall for the future of this “free” service.

For instance, we are almost to the end of April, and even though I have been trying to carefully manage my storage, I am at 28% of the 7576MB Google Apps gives its free users. In order to upgrade to 25GB, I would have to also upgrade my Google Apps account to one of the $50/year accounts. But this is the catch — I can’t simply update mine, I would have to update every person with a geardiary.com email address to the same $50/year plan.

That’s where I start wondering what other options might be open to me that fall in the same or similar price range, if this is the direction I’ll eventually have to go. Particularly aggravating is the fact that I have 207.4GB storage available to me on my personal Gmail account, which only costs me $50/year. =P

Anyway; I’m thinking out loud here, but I would love to know what other small business owners are doing about their mail, collaborative calendar and cloud storage situations. Are you using Microsoft hosted accounts? Google? Do you have a particular reason why you think one or the other is better?

Inquiring minds want to know. =)

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