If you set up a free G Suite account and have been using Google’s online services for your business over the past few years, news that your account is being “upgraded” to Google Workspace may have come as a shock.
Google Workspace is a comparatively expensive upgrade to G Suite, one that doesn’t really add anything substantial for most users.
However, there might be an affordable alternative to Google Workspace. It’s time to familiarize yourself with Linode Marketplace and discover Nextcloud.
What Is Linode Marketplace?
Imagine you could set up your own server, based on your own specification, that was pay-per-use. On that server, you could instantly deploy the software you need to use on a day-to-day basis, all without hiring an IT consultant to set it all up.
What you’ve just imagined is basically Linode Marketplace.
With the aim of “making cloud computing simple, affordable, and accessible to all,” Linode boasts 1 million customers worldwide, covering 185 countries and delivering 99.99% uptime.
It is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) company, relying on advanced APIs, and promising customers a scalable, global network, simple cloud computing, sensible pricing, and 24/7/365 customer support.
Comparable with competitor services such as AWS and others, Linode Marketplace offers pricing estimators and calculators. These are suitable for multiple uses, giving you an idea of any significant financial outlay required for using Linode.
However, while calculators are available, it is fair to say that you don’t really need them. Linode’s pricing is simple, transparent, and capped at a monthly rate.
In-House Hosting Is Expensive
An alternative to using Google Workspace is to move all your services in-house. This would mean migrating mailboxes, cloud-based documents, contacts, and potentially rewriting a lot of automation scripts to accommodate the new hosting.
Despite the massive undertaking this would involve, there are obvious benefits. The data would be wholly under your control, and no future migration should be necessary. It is unlikely that you’ll be caught out by a cloud host switching pricing around and changing policies, although you will be at the mercy of physical hardware that needs regular maintenance and backups.
Add in the cost of running a server room and a local system administrator, and you can see why cloud-based solutions are so attractive. Indeed, this may have been a factor in choosing G Suite initially.
Consequently, Google has a good deal of leverage over companies that have been using the free G Suite account. Upgrading to Google Workspace need not be that expensive as Google is offering a discounted fee for transitioning.
But there are alternatives, not least Nextcloud. This is a suite of open-source applications which offer similar functionality to Google Drive, as well as Office 365. It features a calendar, contacts management, cloud storage, and integrated office tools thanks to a choice of Collabora Online and OnlyOffice.
Deploying Nextcloud is straightforward enough, but if you’re reluctant to buy, run, and maintain your own servers, you’ll need cloud hosting. That’s where Linode Marketplace comes in.
Deploy Cloud-Based Applications with Linode
Offering over 80 cloud hosted applications and suites, Linode also provides custom server setups, cloud computing, storage, database management, networking, and developer tools.
Deploying an application is as easy as signing up to Linode, selecting the app, adding your credentials, and clicking a button to start. Meanwhile, custom solutions (such as a cloud firewall) require a slightly more detailed setup process.
Of course, Linode isn’t free, with a low-spec shared CPU virtual server just $ 5 a month, while a dedicated CPU virtual server starts from $ 30 a month.
Apps from Linode Marketplace go beyond Nextcloud. You’ll find a marketplace full of useful services, from the Peppermint ticket management system to live video streaming with Ant Media, VS code server and other tools for programming, and even game servers.
Online security services including OpenVPN, WireGuard, MagicSpam antispam and more are also available through Linode.
Is Nextcloud a Suitable Replacement for G Suite?
With G Suite you’re probably already using its built-in features:
In addition, G Suite provides a central Admin console, with the ability to control user access where required. Mobile devices can be remotely managed, hardware and activity audited and reported, and 24/7 expert support is also on offer.
Furthermore, G Suite can be expanded with additional Drive storage and archiving.
G Suite’s replacement, Google Workspace, offers:
Google Workspace is scalable depending on your team requirements, starting with a basic $ 5 a month. At the other end of the scale, custom pricing can be arranged for Enterprise businesses.
Nextcloud, meanwhile, gives you:
- File sync and share
- File collaboration
- Calls, chats, web meetings
- Task management
In addition, there is account management with two-factor authentication, group management, tracked changes to documents, and full data encryption.
While Nextcloud can be used for free with a custom server solution, it makes a smart alternative to Google Workspace. Even when taking into account the price of Linode’s hosting, Nextcloud is available for less than Google Workspace.
For the best results, you might want to amp up the server specification, but this added reliability will pay for itself. Plus, you won’t be held to ransom, as you’ll be in complete control of your own data.
How Easy Is It To Export G Suite To Nextcloud?
One of the key challenges with any wholesale change of software is migrating the data. Naturally, the data cannot be lost. Similarly, it will prove to be impractical to keep running G suite as a long term legacy system.
The only answer is to export the data to a new service. If you’re already interested in Nextcloud, you’ll be pleased to learn that it features a set of migration tools. These are for OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google.
Nextcloud’s Google migration tool can be used to import almost everything except emails from Gmail. So, contacts, calendars, Google Drive storage, Google Docs, and even data from Photos can be migrated to Nextcloud.
So, what about email? Well, thanks to the nature of email, this shouldn’t be too difficult to sort out. IMAP and POP3 inboxes can be downloaded. However, while you can send and receive emails with Nextcloud, it does not support email hosting. As such, you’ll need to arrange a separate mail server.
Say Goodbye to Google With Nextcloud from Linode Marketplace
If you’re using G Suite, Google wants to evict you. It plans to do so with a discounted monthly subscription which will eventually be ramped up to the full amount.
Considering you’ve been using G Suite for free for years, this is an unforeseen budgetary development that might be difficult to deal with. But the alternative, splashing out on your own server and the costs associated with managing it, could reasonably be considered far worse.
You don’t have to migrate to Google Workspace, however. Plenty of alternatives exist, including Nextcloud. And as you can build a dedicated Nextcloud virtual server from the comfort of your desk, this is arguably the simplest option available.
While there might be some data migration required, Nextcloud features the tools you need to import from G Suite. Absolutely nothing needs to be lost.
So, kick G Suite and Google Workspace into the long grass and switch to an open-source replacement that you can control, with Nextcloud hosted on Linode.
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