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Hello,

I was wondering if list members would be willing to share their experiences with Google Apps or Microsoft Live@Edu/Office 365?

York University is considering both solutions for student email, with a likely decision in Spring 2012, and a possible roll-out in the Fall.  However, at the moment, the solutions are only being considered for students.

Have any list members migrated to either of the platforms?  Did faculty and staff also make the move? Have you experienced any 'gotchas' with regards to either platform?

Currently, there's a collection of email services on campus, with services ranging from a 100MB inbox for students to 1GB for Faculty/staff - some are Lotus Notes based, others are Horde-based.

Kind Regards

Doug

Douglas Reid
Director, Information Technology Services
Office of the Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering
321 Lumbers Building, Keele Campus
York University

T: 416 736 2100 ext.33387
E: reidd@yorku.ca

Blog: http://itdir.blog.yorku.ca

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Hi Doug,

NC State has gone the Google Apps for Ed route.  It was a phased approach with students and faculty who were on the University's IMAP system being moved first.  From my perspective those moves were fairly painless.  For the most part students were used to "cloud-based" email so the move was relatively popular with them particularly considering the huge increase in quota. We were offering students 350Mb of space that they were able to allocate between email, file storage and personal web space.  Now they still get that space but don't have to allocate any to email.  Faculty wanted to move to Gmail for ease of communication with students.

The second/third phase involved moving remaining faculty and administrative staff who had been on the University's Groupwise system.  That move wound up being a collaborative effort of most of the IT staff on campus, both central and college/department-based.  Meticulous planning was the key and we executed the transition in essentially one day.

Major things we had to consider for the move involved acquiring and testing a tool to automate the migration of user mail, calendaring and contacts from Groupwise to Google.  Creating a usable global address list in Gmail.  Acquiring, testing and implementing an archiving solution (We use Postini).  Establishing pre-migration training on Gmail for IT staff and post-migration training for users.  I'm sure the planning and implementation teams had a myriad of other things they considered and planned for and if you need more information feel free to contact me off-list and I'll put you in touch with the project manager.

Hope all this helps.

Keith
***************************************************************************************************
Keith Boswell
Director of Information Technology and Engineering Computer Services
College of Engineering, North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695-7901

919-515-7930
***************************************************************************************************



The University of Michigan's move to Google Apps is in progress.  The College of Engineering's college-level IT group has moved as part of an early adopter's group a couple weeks ago and I am using Google for email.

The campus web page for this project is at google.umich.edu.

Faculty, staff, and students will all be moving with one big exception -- the U-M's Health System which includes a hospital and medical school.  They will run an Exchange server which others who work with protected health information (HIPAA) will also use.  Other restricted data, like export controlled items -- ITAR and EAR -- cannot be stored in Google so we are looking at options there.

I participated in the selection process and supported the decision for Google.  I am happy as a Google user and my experience reinforces my belief that the decision was right for us, but everyone is going to have their own perspective and preference as a user.

The move is a big project with a lot of moving parts, and the planning and communication pieces are pretty important.

--paul

My thanks to Paul and Keith for sharing their Google-related details.

One of the biggest issues, and perhaps it was the same at other Schools, will be persuading Faculty members that their information is 'safe' with a third party.  Of course, there's the old adage that you should treat email as a postcard, but there's perhaps an over-confidence in the security of on premises installations.  TTWWADI - that's the way we've always done it - comes to mind.

There's a number of extensive FAQs with regards to privacy and Google and we'll make use of them, but for those who have had Google on campus for a while, has there been any 'aha' moments, when Google's tools have made a real difference or overcome long-standing issues?

A quick web search - Google, of course! - comes back with a fairly substantial list of Engineering Schools who have already embraced Google Apps.  I'll let the list know how our deliberations proceed.

Cheers

Doug






From:        paul killey <paul@UMICH.EDU>
To:        ENGR-IT@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Date:        2012/01/31 10:47 PM
Subject:        Re: [ENGR-IT] Use of Google Apps/Office 365 across Engineering Schools
Sent by:        The EDUCAUSE Schools and Colleges of Engineering IT Leadership Constituent Group Listserv <ENGR-IT@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>



The University of Michigan's move to Google Apps is in progress.  The College of Engineering's college-level IT group has moved as part of an early adopter's group a couple weeks ago and I am using Google for email.

The campus web page for this project is at google.umich.edu.

Faculty, staff, and students will all be moving with one big exception -- the U-M's Health System which includes a hospital and medical school.  They will run an Exchange server which others who work with protected health information (HIPAA) will also use.  Other restricted data, like export controlled items -- ITAR and EAR -- cannot be stored in Google so we are looking at options there.

I participated in the selection process and supported the decision for Google.  I am happy as a Google user and my experience reinforces my belief that the decision was right for us, but everyone is going to have their own perspective and preference as a user.

The move is a big project with a lot of moving parts, and the planning and communication pieces are pretty important.

--paul

Message from lstorey@umn.edu

Short-time subscriber and first-time poster. I am the IT Services Supervisor/Deputy Administrator for the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) as well as the Biomedical Engineering Department (BME) at the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering (CSE) department.

Here at the University of Minnesota, we began a migration to Google Apps for Education about two years ago. I was an earlier adopter and volunteered to participate in a group that shared information from the rollout.

Google Apps was rolled out in stages here, with individual units/colleges having the ability to migrate at different times. There was a first-year opt-in for departments and a second-year opt-in for departments, followed by a final automatic migration process. There has yet to be a true "forced" migration to Google and we have remained with "opt-ins" for the most part; I say that because some restrictions (e.g. message size, folder name length, mailbox size) could prevent accounts from being migrated; to avoid migration, you simply don't resolve those issues.

Going across the University, feedback is mixed on the success. Overall, I believe it went well. The small group I participated in shared documentation and experiences from the rollouts. CSE was a later adopter so I was able to learn from the experiences of multiple units before our time came. Having the ability to learn from the rollouts and to share documentation, in my opinion, was a key to success and helped create a communication network across our units and campuses that did not exist before.

Some units migrated from internal applications like Lotus Notes and were very dissatisfied. Some have maintained departmental mail servers and are only leveraging Calendar and Docs. We're definitely mavericky at the U and especially mavericky in my college and my primary department, CEMS. People like to do their own thing.

It has been pretty clear the initial thinking was the HIPAA data issues would get worked out but they have not to this point. Our medical school finally allowed much of its administrative staff to migrate but it seems that concerns about calendars and privacy and/or the intricacies of data security were not fully considered. FERPA data is a go for us. The inability to incorporate HIPAA data, in my opinion, has meant some legacy file-sharing applications that may originally intended to be EOL for the U have been retained.

Some other issues it appears are unresolved (I have not been able to get a straight answer) are related to account lifespan and what you might call a "tombstone" process. Originally, the intention was to have accounts for non-University personnel (i.e. retired, fired, graduated, dropped out) move to standard Google accounts with ads placed back in. As far as I can tell, there is uncertainty now regarding how to handle the different categories. Obviously, something is happening because people are departing but the process is not public nor is it clear.

This, in my opinion, would be wise to consider prior to the migration. How will document shares be handled, for example, when the owner departs? What do you do with personnel who depart with proprietary data stored in documents and email folders? Some of that could be handled by using "generic" accounts, which we have begun doing more of. Having a shared account be the locus of control for a documents share helps ease some pain.

From what I understand, some discussion for departing personnel has included stripping the account back to its bare bones (i.e. no messages or folders) before allowing the individual to move forward.

I was philosophically against outsourcing this critical service (i.e. email) to an external entity. It doesn't make a great deal of sense to put a 150-year-old institution's critical service in the hands of a company that has been around for 15 years or so.

That said, I can/could find no compelling technical reason against it. The functionality across devices is superior to anything we have ever had. Moving our personnel to the web client only/primarily has been a huge win, in my opinion.

Yet it is still difficult for me to disagree with a high-level official who came to me to say, "What is MIT doing? What is Stanford doing? Why are we following rather than leading here," after seeing the list of institutions who are using Google. The conversation also led to this individual voicing a philosophical concern that Universities are institutions who's primary product is data; farming out control of that data is a dangerous thing.

In general, this has been a success. Planning, obviously, is pivotal to success.

Larry Storey