Can Google apps ever replace the on-site email system?
Can Google apps ever replace the on-site email system?
I think this depends on the educational establishment's requirements. There is some interesting discussion on the same sort of subject on the Zimbra forums.
The consensus is that for larger, FE/HE places then Google Apps is ideal. But for smaller ones and if you need more control, then self-hosted options are considered the better choice.
We're very seriously considering it at the moment. We've got a very limited webmail client our LA provides & the move to Google looks appealing, particularly if we get the calendars/chat/video up and running too.
At the moment I think it'll be on the dev plan for the year providing we can come up with a slick way to migrate.
I use Google Apps on my personal domain (standard edition). Mail controls are quite basic (well virtually non-existant).
I've also got a Google education account. There still isn't really enough control over the emails unless you route the emails through an inbound/outbound gateway. The interface is fast/clean/responsive but I wouldn't use it with pupils for this reason.
It's probably worth opening an account if you want a look - Google are pretty quick at actioning the (free) upgrade to education edition (which you need for the more advanced features).
Feel free to PM me if I can help anymore.
We replaced outlook for staff which was LEA hosted and broken more often than it was working with google apps. It works very well its fast and intuitive but we haven't rolled it out for students for the same reasons outlined above.
The the features neccessary to make it safe to use with pupils just aren't available. I tried putting it through a mail gateway of our own whihc does give you archival. But it would take a much more sophisticated configuration to make it really work.
I've been loking at this too. About 12 months ago when we were still on Exchange 2003 tools didn't seem to be available however I looked again just last night and there are now solutions using Postini for $45/user per year. I got quoted 60% discount bringing it to £12 per user per year. (currently checking on how that user count changes at the end of each year when we get another 200 students in) So with 2000 students and staff thats still £24k per year but look what you get:
-Keeps all your mail for 10 years, including deleted mail!
-Allows you to set up reg exp checks on all incoming and outgoing emails and action them
-allows you to manage attachment types
-7GB of email per user (who needs local storage anymore, think of the savings! (2000 pupils and staff x 7GB = 14TB of data, how much would it cost to back that up?) Students email work through to teachers so less paperwork for them to carry too.
-70% (complete guess, please correct me) of all PC use is generic word processing, spreadsheets, internet access that doesn't require specialist software so you cut down on licensing costs for applications. Everyone gets the same interface.
-built in chat for peer support
-built in video and voice chat now too
-OS independant so will run on Windows, Mac, Linux, mobile phone
-virus and spam checking included
-xml based user account creation /management meaning if you can get a csv of the user names you can automate the creation of new users
-no servers to look after
-no remote access to set up
-no security updates to apply
If you currently run your own exchange server(s) you'll be spending a significant amount of time maintaing those servers and going on courses to update skills, if you need to provide 24/7/365 then you may need two technicians.
Can you get all that for 2000 users for less than £24k p/a elsewhere?
You'd be pushed.
The only problem I see is a major shift in how to use IT and from my experience "Major shifts" don't go down well with those that would probably most benefit.
Please flame me
Or support me
I'd love to find out what you all think!
Have a look at zoho.com
I believe you can just buy the filtering for Google Apps for $3 per user (education price) but you'd really need the whole package.
If you want to see more about how the apps can be used in an educational setting, check out Tom Barrett's blog on ICT in my Classroom
Next question!After 10 months of discussion and debate and 4,000 hours of development, USC implemented Google Apps for Education for more than 30,000 students. This presentation will review the determining factors and decisions involved in this groundbreaking implementation, as well as the often hidden costs of this "free" service.
Last edited by somabc; 22nd January 2009 at 12:55 AM.
I have particularly strong views about Google Apps - AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE!
And I can even back up my reasoning:
1) Any functionality placed in the Cloud is fine, provided you can guarantee (within reason) that a) your connectivity will be available and b) that your bandwidth will be sufficient. While connectivity is not too bad bandwidth, or rather shortage of it, is a major issue. In your risk assessment, consider the impact on losing connectivity.
2) Google in my opinion is quite a nasty company, pushing cleverly disguised spyware out onto an unsuspecting world. There are an increasing number of people warning about how much information Google harvests and controls. When using GMail, what Google does is effectively the same as if Royal Mail opened, read and photocopied all your letters, then sent you junk mail based on the content of such letters. Google employes massively invasive technologies. Even the Google toolbar with the PageRank feature activated tracks EVERY site you visit.
3) Duty of care. How would you investigate an alleged bullying incident, for example? Hosted mail adds a large additional layer of complexity.
4) Data Protection - if staff members are also using Google Apps for mail, then it is almost guaranteed that data falling under the DPA will be indexed by Google. Where does that legally leave you?
For the reasons above, I believe an on-site mail server is by far the best option. If you don't want to splash out for Exchange, then look into Unison (UNISON - fully-unified communications software). The free version is ad-supported, but offers integrated telephony and other features not found in Exchange.
If you still want to go with hosted apps, I suggest Microsoft's Live@EDU. It will allow you to set up branded, hosted Exchange mailboxes (5 GB mailbox limit) with an associated SkyDrive that offers an additional 5 GB's of shareable storage. That's a minimum of 10 GB ad-free storage to all your users, without having all your data indexed and archived for marketing purposes, and best yet it is FREE!!
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