I have used the same email providers for my own domains for a few years now however I am considering moving over to a new provider. In this email I’ll share my current thoughts and hopefully I’ll get some feedback that might help me to decide on what to do next.
What I use today
I have three email addresses that I use primarily (I have changed the domains in this blog post as I don’t want to give them away to spammers):
- firstname.lastname@example.org – My personal account that I give out to family and friends and which I use to register on websites
- email@example.com - An account that I use to catch email from the numerous mailing lists that I am on
- firstname.lastname@example.org – I am a self-employed consultant so this is an account that I hand out to my clients, my accountant, and other work-related organisations
Those two domains (jtpersonaldomain.com & jtworkdomain.com) are both managed at http://domains.live.com which is a fantastic service provided by Microsoft that for some perplexing reason they never bother telling anyone about.
It offers multiple accounts (I have seven at jtpersonaldomain.com though as already stated I only use two of them) which are accessed via Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail.com) along with usage reporting plus a few other odds and sods that I never use. Best of all though, its totally free.
In addition, given that I have got both domains hosted using http://domains.live.com I can link my various accounts together and switch between them at Outlook.com without having to login and logout:
N.B. You’ll notice that there are two other accounts listed there in addition to the three I already mentioned. One is my mum’s account which helps me provide IT support/spam filtering services to her and the other is the donation account for AdventureWorks on Azure.
I find that linking feature to be very handy indeed.
Finally, http://domains.live.com is the epitome of “it just works”. I set up jtworkdomain.com at http://domains.live.com over three years ago and I am pretty certain I haven’t been back there even once to administer it.
OK, so if I like http://domains.live.com so much why am I considering changing? Well, I earn my corn in the Microsoft ecosystem and if I’m reading the tea-leaves correctly its looking increasingly likely that the services that I’m going to have to be familiar with in the future are all going to be running on top of and alongside Windows Azure Active Directory and Office 365 respectively.
Its clear to me that Microsoft’s are pushing their customers toward cloud services and, like it or lump it, data integration developers like me may have to come along for the ride. I don’t think the day is too far off when we can log into Windows Azure SQL Database (aka SQL Azure), Team Foundation Service, Dynamics etc… using the same credentials that are currently used for Office 365 and over time I would expect those things to get integrated together a lot better – that integration will be based upon a Windows Azure Active Directory identity. This should not come as a surprise, in my opinion Microsoft’s whole enterprise play over the past 15 or 20 years can be neatly surmised as “get people onto Windows Server and Active Directory then upsell from there” – in the not-too-distant-future the only difference is that they’re trying to do it in the cloud.
I want to get familiar with these services and hence I am considering moving jtworkdomain.com onto Office 365. I’ll lose the convenience of easily being able to switch to that account at Outlook.com and moreover I’ll have to start paying for it (I think it’ll be about fifty quid a year – not a massive amount but its quite a bit more than free) but increasingly this is beginning to look like a move I have to make.
So that’s where my head is at right now. Anyone have any relevant thoughts or experiences to share? Please let me know in the comments below.