Cloud-Based Email Considerations: Round II | Port25 Solutions, Inc.
Fred Tabsharani

By port25admin

Cloud-Based Email Considerations: Round II

All messaging organizations, from SMBs to massive enterprise-class organizations, face the same dilemma. Do they stick with the on-premise email infrastructure solutions that have shaped the world of email communications over the years? Or do they move to a cloud-based email provider? This dilemma is fueled by IT and budget constraints along with insights on total cost of ownership.


On the surface, the cloud cuts down on licensing costs, reduces the need for IT staff recruitments and allows the IT department to focus on product launches and more business-specific processes.   On the flip side of that coin, there are several hidden costs related to cloud email service providers, few of which are budgetary concerns.  For instance, with a cloud-based email provider, organizations have less control over sending policies and processes, and expose themselves to security vulnerabilities.  Secondly, sender deliverability and bounce policies are at the mercy of the cloud-based email service providers.  Mature ESPs understand that these in-house sending policies increase deliverability and profit, while decreasing total cost of ownership.  Also, in the long run, cloud-based email service providers end up requiring more sophisticated infrastructure to meet the challenges of today’s demanding senders, negating some of their advantage over on-premise solutions.

Clearly, each approach has pros and cons.  Let’s take a closer look:

On-Premise Considerations

First, let’s start with what’s not broken with on-premise enterprise grade email software solutions. The main benefit of using enterprise level infrastructure has to do with security and, ultimately, maintaining control over your own data.  With dedicated email software solution you have 100% control over all aspects of email data management.  Security and data management are critical issues and, in these areas, software solutions remain more reliable than the cloud.  However, it is important to note that, even now, enterprise-level infrastructure and cloud-based services are not entirely independent.  In order to scale efficiently, cloud-based ESPs cannot rely wholly on open-source software.  Increasingly, they are migrating towards specialized email infrastructure solutions to meet the needs of their customers.

Cloud-based Email: Getting it Right the First Time

With that said, cloud-based ESPs are growing more powerful all the time – not least because, to a certain extent, they are pretty light-handed on the company checkbook. Cloud-based services do have some real advantages.   For instance, with the cloud, you don’t have to worry about any licensing costs like those associated with on-premise software.  Additionally, there are no major infrastructure costs because the cloud email provider handles all of the heavy lifting.   You’re also not shelling out tons of money for services that can be consolidated to a single portal over the web.  And in some cases, some cloud native applications are “not” tied to a single cloud service provider, so it makes it easier to scale.  But pricing is still high.  As more cloud-based ESPs shape the market, a deflationary trend will be upon us and pricing will come down further.

Real-World Examples of the Cloud

  1. SendGrid – Managing custom email systems can get complicated fast—especially for small businesses. When that happens, SendGrid aims to take over the reins of your company’s complex email system and move it to the cloud. Simply put, SendGrid, through its cloud-based SMTP relay server, replaces your email infrastructure and lets the shared computing resources in their cloud servers do the heavy lifting for your IT infrastructure, keeping costs down while maintaining high levels of efficiency and availability.
  1. MessageGears – This innovative enterprise-level provider recently joined the Port25 Network. They are among the leaders in cloud-based SMTP relays. In a nutshell, the MessageGears relay lets you send email as if you were sending through a standard SMTP relay server. The solution also comes equipped with powerful delivery metrics that give you valuable data regarding bounces, complaints and open tracking features available through the MessageGears web API. In short, MessageGears is among the most powerful enterprise-class cloud email providers out there, and they run on PowerMTA™.

Why More Cloud-Based Email Organizations are Migrating to PowerMTA™

As mentioned above, many cloud-based ESPs are collaborating with enterprise solutions like PowerMTA™, ({see previous post) chiefly because cloud-based companies “eventually’ will require more efficient email infrastructure. Many popular cloud-based companies still use open-source software such as Postfix to configure their messaging environment, but that model is becoming increasing challenging to sustain.  Not only are there are major limitations to using open-source software, but even with its use, looking at the total cost of ownership, it is still prohibitively expensive for most enterprises who send millions of email per month to use the cloud.


There is no question that cloud-based solutions deserve serious consideration.  And choosing between enterprise class MTA and a cloud based ESP can be challenging and is completely dependent on your sending environment and structure.  However, before adopting a cloud-only email distribution system, you’ll need to be sure you’re using a provider that can meet the needs of your organization and scales not only efficiently but economically as well.  With more cloud-based ESPs under development, the deflationary trend will take hold and prices will begin to drop.  Until then here are some questions to ask yourself?  How will email and communications processes be affected in the migration process? Are you willing to use a cloud-only solution, with its advantages and limitations? Or, are your needs better served by the hybrid approach? Wherever you land, it’s important to realize that no two companies are the same.  Choose a provider that will work with you to achieve your email segmentation and distribution goals.  Look for an upcoming Whitepaper on this topic in the coming months for further analysis.

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