Nice summary of VM benefits. What I find amazing is that the developers decided not to use off the shelf virtualization technology. How much development time would have been saved? Were tests conducted to see whether efficiency would be gained? Or did they just say "screw it, we don't know VMware, we're going to write it ourselves, from scratch!" The backup/restore/dynamic allocation/other benefits above are no joke. For a game, they are especially interesting, but so many firms ignore them.
Yeah. Google does have great uptime, generally speaking. And it's true that it takes some years for an in house e-mail system to catch up. Of course, you have to get used to the idea that every word you send through anything Google is searched, indexed and stored. They sift all of it, and you sign an agreement when you sign up with them that this is OK. And of course, their service agreement is "best effort" so you can't fault them for any amount of downtime. Would you hire a mail admin with that caveat? He'll make it work, as much as he can, but if he does not, you can't hold him responsible. He's cheap though, of course. I don't know too many folks that would make that hire. So why use Google? The answer is if you don't mind the search (making money off your IP potentially) or the cost (you're using it for less than three years or so, even for a MS compare) and you have execs that are comfy with the "blame Google" response when the thing breaks. There are plenty of small businesses and folks that don't mind all that, but for the enterprise, it's a harder sell.
Good observations. There is a large set of players that want to feel heroic. Heck, most folks do on some level want to save the day, or (conversely) achieve infamy by killing the hero. What's interesting in EVE is that, the players give one another what they want. There's a place for the skulking assassin, and for the corp hero piloting the titan. There's a place for the ruthless businessman, and for the rookie fueling the POS. It's the best kept secret in the MMO world right now, and one of the rare world that combines PVP and PVE well without too many artificial strictures.
Sometimes, entertainment is entertainment, and the value to us all is to help us forget the atrocities of the world for a little while.
You are outsourcing a mission critical part of your firm. Take it seriously, interview the folks you are using, and treat them like adults. Develop a set of requirements that you and your board are happy with, and get it down on paper, and in the minutes of your board meeting. Then hire someone to do your network, using your criteria, and documenting why they fit and where they do not. Trust is essential in business, I think, but should also be followed by a good contract, yes?