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Death of a Beta

In another sign that Google means business, the search giant dropped the "beta" tag from its Google Apps brand of hosted applications.

IT pros are used to tracking and testing software upgrades and patches in their shops. Common wisdom suggests they wouldn't deploy a beta version of any piece of software live on the network. But for some time now, Google has established contracts with companies running essentially "beta" software.

Google claims its betas have to pass stringent internal tests before being released. No software is without troubles, though. For example, a beta release of a potential Microsoft Exchange-killer, called "Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook," had a few bumps that have since been remedied.

For those used to Microsoft's releases, a common refrain is to wait until the first service pack is released before deploying an OS or application. Don't deploy betas in a production environment. Do your testing first. But maybe SaaS has changed the game. Can enterprises trust the instant software delivery model such as Google's service? Or are careful testing and patch management indispensible to the enterprise? What's been your experience with managing SaaS-delivered applications? Tell Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Kurt Mackie on July 08, 2009 at 11:53 AM