How Does Amazon WorkMail Compare To Google Apps And Office 365?

How Does Amazon WorkMail Compare To Google Apps And Office 365?
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Amazon has just announced WorkMail, a hosted email service using AWS that’s meant to eliminate the hassle of running your own on-premises mail server. What does it offer and how does it compare price-wise with rival hosted mail packages from Google and Microsoft?

WorkMail provides what would appear to be an Exchange back-end; Amazon says it is compatible with “advanced Outlook capabilities”, it offers Active Directory integration and uses Exchange ActiveSync. If you don’t use Outlook (perhaps because of the high licensing costs), there’s also a web-based front end, and the service can be accessed from smartphone mail clients. The web client also offers integration with Amazon’s WorkDocs storage (the service formerly known as Zocalo; AWS seems to have quietly changed the name this month).

The WorkMail site heavily pushes the degree of security the service offers. You can choose which region your data is stored in, and use the AWS Key Management service to control encryption. Right now, WorkMail is in preview, but you can sign up to be added to the trial. (You can test the service for free for 30 days with up to 25 users).

WorkMail costs $US4 per user month; for that you get 50GB of storage per user. You can choose which AWS Region your data is stored in, but (unusually) the pricing doesn’t vary based on that choice. For $US6 per user per month, you can access both WorkMail and WorkDocs.

How does that compare with rival services? Google Apps For Work costs $US5 per user per month. That includes access to Google Drive Apps, but has a slightly less generous storage offering (30GB per user). On the Microsoft front, Office 365 Business Essentials (the email-only version) costs $5.61 a month and also includes 50GB of storage.



  • I’d be less sure about the exchange backend – Amazon doesn’t usually run their services on software they cant modify at will.

    They say it supports AD integration, Exchange Activesync, and “all of the advanced Outlook capabilities your users depend on, such as free/busy support, conversation view and out of office replies.” That featureset also covers things like open-xchange, openchange and zimbra…or knowing them, grabbing some standard libraries and starting from scratch.

  • I was thinking the same “openxchange” thoughts…but they don’t mention their backend in the docs. Kind of hope it is…being able to query the backend (Postgres?) directly would be very useful for the types of apps I build.

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