miércoles, octubre 28, 2009

El municipio de Los Angeles vota Google

Un primer paso importante de Google por lograr una porción en el mundo de los negocios y el Estado: el municipio de Los Angeles, en California, acaba de contratar su sistema de aplicaciones de oficina, luego de un año de lucha con otros competidores, que incluían a Microsoft.
En ZDNet, escribe Sam Díaz:

The Los Angeles City Council today voted unanimously to “Go Google,” approving a $7.25 million contract to outsource the city’s e-mail system to Google’s cloud and transition some 30,000 city employees to the cloud over the coming year, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Clearly, this is a big deal for the city of Los Angeles. But this vote is also monumental for cloud computing as a whole, which has gained popularity and widespread interest but still relatively little adoption as companies - and municipalities, apparently - weigh the anticipated cost benefits over the unknown risks that might come with system failures or data breaches.

The stakes are also high for Google, which has stepped up its campaign for Google Apps, its cloud-based suite of offerings, by highlighting how companies who are fed up with breakdowns and costs of maintaining old legacy systems finally decided to “Go Google.”

Both Google and Microsoft had put in bids for the city’s contract and, at one point, it seemed to be a showdown between the two, representing a bigger winner-take-all battle between old school systems and 21st Century cloud systems. In a post last month, I suggested that a win for Microsoft would show that Outlook and Exchange are still big players and that a win for Google would show that the cloud is ready for prime time.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the beginning of the end for Microsoft in this space. Los Angeles is just one city on this planet - and it’s only 30,000 city employees. But Google clearly has its sights set on the enterprise for the next wave of growth, even to the point that it could overtake - or nicely complement - the advertising business.

At the Gartner IT Symposium 2009 in Orlando earlier this month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the largest number of seats for Google runs about 30,000 users and that goal right now is to gain users for its enterprise apps. He sees the enterprise as “humongous,” a multi-billion dollar business that has real potential. By Gartner’s calculations, enterprise accounts for about 3 cents of every dollar that Google makes, leaving plenty of room for growth.

That growth could come from the countless other municipalities, agencies and companies that have been toying with the idea of a move to the cloud but have held back, waiting for someone else to jump off the cliff first.

Los Angeles Times agrega:

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to outsource its e-mail system to Google Inc., making it the largest city in the nation to make the move and handing the Web search giant a major victory in its quest to become a software provider to the world's cities and businesses.

After more than two hours of debate, council members voted 12-0 to approve the $7.25-million contract that would move all 30,000 city employees to Google's so-called cloud over the coming year.

"The City of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, made a world-class decision today to support a state-of-the art e-mail system," said Councilman Tony Cardenas, who made the motion to approve the Google system.

[...] The vote today ended a nearly year-long process during which Google competed furiously with other software vendors, including rival Microsoft Corp., to secure the city's valuable stamp of approval. Parties on all sides believe that if smaller cities see Los Angeles successfully transition to Google's cloud system, they may be more likely to follow suit.

Si bien la votación fue unánime, previamente se expresaron dudas, aquellas que la computación en la nube mantendrá por largo tiempo, desde el punto de vista de la privacidad y la confiabilidad:

Before the vote, several council members had voiced objections to the contract, including whether the city would see any real cost savings, as Google had contended, and when the new system would be ready to store data from law enforcement, where security standards are more rigorous.

Because Los Angeles will be among the earliest adopters of the Google system, council members expressed concern that the city might be signing on before Google's cloud system was fully proven.

"It's unclear if this is cutting edge, or the edge of a cliff and we're about to step off," said Councilman Paul Koretz.

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