On a whim, I migrated my domain’s mail to Google Apps yesterday. Without explaining the virtues of outsourced application hosting, simply put the email sent to this domain is now handled entirely by Google.
So far I’m impressed.
The whole process took less than an hour. After you provide your domain name, Google provides file called googlehostedservice.html that contains a unique hash. Stick it in your web root and that’s it as far as verification. Once verified, they provide instructions to update your MX records.
Previously I had a three distinct mail exchangers. In case my server wasn’t available, one of the two others would accept mail for my domain and hold it until my server was available. Now, there’s five distinct mail exchangers. Now in all probability these are virtual IPs that hit one of many backend servers on Google’s ridiculously-distributed global behemoth of a network, but that’s a conversation for another time.
legend  ~ > host moundalexis.com moundalexis.com has address 18.104.22.168 moundalexis.com mail is handled (pri=10) by aspmx.l.google.com moundalexis.com mail is handled (pri=20) by alt1.aspmx.l.google.com moundalexis.com mail is handled (pri=30) by alt2.aspmx.l.google.com moundalexis.com mail is handled (pri=40) by aspmx2.googlemail.com moundalexis.com mail is handled (pri=50) by aspmx3.googlemail.com
Aside from removing the virtual entries from Postfix (and asking my friends to do the same on their servers), that was it.
I get the reliability and redundancy of hosting my email on Google’s servers as well as excellent spam filtering, for the low cost of looking at a few sponsored ads. The interface is classic browser-based Gmail or access via any POP/IMAP client; you can choose to run almost-the-same version of the web client as Gmail or opt for a slightly older (but more stable) version. Each distinct user account — of which you get 100 to start — can configure additional aliases for their account. So if Molly wants to get email addressed to “molly.d” as well as “molly” she can set that up herself. Everything is well documented, from setting up Outlook or Thunderbird to configuring your BlackBerry. Google Chat is included as well, as is integrated Calendar and Docs.
Only one piece of spam in my Inbox so far. Before I had dozens of aliases configured for services and vendors. Google only supports about 25 or so per user, so I’m in the process of migrating some of my aliases to a single address. For example, I had a unique email address for my HOA which I changed to my regular address today. I’ve got a catch-all enabled for now, until all of those changes are complete.
The mailing list features included in Google Apps looked a bit weak compared to Mailman, so I’m still running some lists off of my server. But overall, it’s pretty neat not having to worry about the mail server anymore.