Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome Ron Brister, Senior Manager of Global IT Operations, and Arron Privatsky, System Administrator, of Serena Software as our guest bloggers today. Serena Software, a leading provider of software to accelerate application development, helps IT departments keep pace with the demands of the businesses they support. Serena’s tools automate software development processes and help business users create powerful mashups – without requiring any coding. Serena is a privately owned company with 29 offices in 14 countries and 800 employees. Founded more than 25 years ago, Serena has more than 15,000 customers including 96 of the Fortune 100.

Serena Software recently selected Google Apps Premier Edition for its messaging and collaboration needs, saving more than $750,000 and countless IT hours. Members of Serena Software will be on hand next Thursday, June 18, to talk about that experience in a live webcast.
Register here.

My name is Ron Brister, and I’m Senior Manager of Global IT Operations at Serena Software. I'm here with Arron Privatsky, System Administrator for Serena. Serena is a leading provider of software to accelerate application development. Because we are software experts, it’s no surprise that we are always looking for the best solutions.

For us, it was becoming increasingly clear that our messaging infrastructure was lacking. Inbox storage space was a constant complaint. Server maintenance was extremely time-consuming, and backups were inconsistent. Then we found that – calculating additional licenses of Microsoft Exchange, client access licenses for users, disaster recovery software, and additional disk storage space to increase mailbox quotas to 1.5GB – staying with our existing provider would have cost us upwards of $1 million. That was a nearly impossible number to justify with executives.

We thought about replacing our on-premise solution, but to tell the truth, we were skeptical. I, personally, had been a Microsoft admin for 15 years, and Microsoft technologies were ingrained in my thought processes. But Google Apps provided many pluses: Gmail, Google’s Postini messaging security software and 25 GB of mailbox space, as well as greater uptime and 24/7 phone support.

Apps also offered reliable mobile access and included other Google productivity and collaboration applications, such as Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations – all at $50 per user per year. The cost savings would amount to a whopping $750,000 per year. All this added up to the ability to save the company money and to transition to a more advanced, flexible infrastructure.

Once we selected Google Apps, we decided on a “Big Bang” migration. Employees would switch over on their own, migrating their old emails to Gmail if they chose to, or simply starting with a clean inbox. We did not support local email clients, opting to support only the Gmail web interface through Mozilla Firefox to best accommodate the company's mixed Linux, Mac and PC environment.

We also enlisted four small groups of early adopters who would try the Google solution first, and then assist IT and support their peers during the full-scale migration. We used a lot of Google’s existing support documents to help us during the migration.

The overall move to Google Apps took all of six hours. We waited for the phones to ring, but all we heard was silence – in fact, we sat there playing meebo for quite a while – and still, nothing happened. We cut the cord all in one stroke to avoid the hassle of living in two environments at once. We made the switch globally, all in one day – and, due to the advantages of this cloud computing solution, we’ve never looked back.

I expect that what I am saying is probably setting off a lot of questions in your head. We welcome you to join us for a live webcast to learn more:

Thursday, June 18, 2009
1:00 p.m. EDT / 10:00 a.m PDT / 5:00 p.m. GMT

We'll give you more details and take questions on our recent switch to Google Apps. We hope that you'll join us.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

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