Google has released a migration tool for Lotus Notes users who want to move over to Google Apps.
The Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes tool, released on Tuesday, is a native Notes application that migrates mail, calendar and contacts via a centrally administered, server-side process, Google said.
Its release comes a few days after Google removed the beta tag from Google Apps including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk, a move the company said was intended to appeal to enterprises by removing "any doubt that Apps is a mature product suite".
The Notes tool allows migration to be carried out without user intervention, and users can continue to use Notes during the migration process, Google senior product manager Chris Vander Mey said in a blog post.
Multiple offices can be migrated simultaneously or separately, and administration controls can be assigned at the organisation and office levels as needed, Google said. The tool includes centralised event logging to manage and monitor migration across a number of Domino servers and sites.
Introducing such a tool is a necessary step if Google wants to increase its Apps market share, but the company still has a long way to go before it represents a serious challenger to Notes, according to Burton Group analyst Bill Pray.
"Google will be hard pressed to win seats from the IBM Lotus Notes faithful — just ask Microsoft," Pray wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Google has released a white paper including guidelines on migrating customised Domino applications to Google Apps, but Pray said he does not see Notes users migrating their custom applications in the near future.
"Even Lotus Notes accounts that migrate to another vendor's email solution tend to keep Lotus Notes for the custom applications," Pray wrote.
For Notes users, Google is not the obvious choice when considering the switch to software-as-a-service (SaaS), particularly since IBM already has its own LotusLive service, Pray said.
"Google... has to reassure the IBM enterprise customers they are targeting that Google is in the best position to solve some of the challenges of software-as-a-service email — eg security, compliance, regulatory requirements, discovery, storage, bandwidth, management and provisioning," Pray wrote.
The migration tool is available from Google's website.