We had a TechStars picnic at my house yesterday afternoon. Given that there were 30+ software nerds hanging around, a little teeny tiny bit of the conversation was about computer stuff.
One of the conversations was about Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office with a big focus on Enterprise Gmail vs. Microsoft Exchange. I’m a heavy Exchange user (one of the things that prevents me from getting serious about using a Mac) but I’ve been paying a lot of attention to Google’s action around enterprise email on the heals of its acquisition of Postini.
- synchronizes users from Active Directory or openldap into Google Apps
- detects new and exited users automatically and changes Google Apps accounts accordingly
- handles user id / account renames automatically
- handles attribute updates automatically
- keeps track of changes and only propagates deltas (to allow syncing every 10 minutes for example)
It’s a brilliant move that Google has open sourced a “package for synchronizing Google Apps for Your Domain with an LDAP server.” Cross-platform / cross-application data synchronization is one of the most challenging parts of enterprise proliferation of a lot of the cool stuff that has emerged in the past two years. While it’s not sexy, it’s critically important and its fascinating that Google is taking an open source approach to some of the integration points.