Monday, June 25, 2007

Moving your university/organization's email to Google

I saw this on the Official Google Blog tonight: A smooth Apps move:

Today, it becomes a lot easier for organizations and schools to start using Google Apps email services without leaving any of their valuable email data behind. Our new self-service mail migration tools enables administrators using the Premier and Education Editions to easily copy existing mail from an IMAP server over to Google Apps. Now businesses and schools can spend less time worrying about "maintaining infrastructure" and focus more on the things that matter most to them -- like healthcare or educating students.

One of the first organizations to test this out, Central Piedmont Community College, replaced its old email system for 30,000 users in just 3 weeks. And that process came down to 3 million emails flying from their server over to ours in just 24 hours -- more than 2,000 emails per minute, all without missing a beat.

So what's the downside? Seems to me like moving to Google would be a no-brainer. Why would anyone spend their time and money maintaining e-mail servers when you can get Google to do it for you? Surely we have more important things to worry about than maintaining e-mail servers, spam filters, etc? What am I missing?


Unknown said...

Why would anyone spend their time and money maintaining e-mail servers when you can get Google to do it for you?

Because some people are more anxious than you about their privacy and they don't trust Google??

Kevin Gamble said...

That must be it. I'm sure that many people at Google would find my email incredibly interesting.

Steve Judd said...

I wonder how easy it would be to get old email in the event of FOIA requests or other legally mandated requests? We've experienced this, and having the logs and archives locally made it possible (though not pleasurable.) How would such a request work if everything lived on Google servers???

Kevin Gamble said...

That's an interesting question. My guess is that it might be easier to get that information from Google than my university's servers.

Also, I note that in my 25 years of university IT administration I've never had a FOIA request on email. That might not be true for others, but it is my reality.

John Dorner said...

While we're at it, why not move the calendar too - so we can increase our personal network to include people outside the university walls.

Steve Judd said...


We just went through two such requests in the past year, and it was a royal PIA. It would be nice to just ask Google for the info, but I'm not sure how it works in reality. UNH has put forward some record retention policies, not sure about other Universities.

dbt said...

Because there are benefits to controlling your own destiny? People have had gmail accounts show up blank. no recourse.

I realize that happens at universities too, but at least you have some measure of control.

Steve Judd said...

Just saw that Google bought Postini which provides email archiving and security for compliance purposes. It'll be interesting to see how they incorporate what is now an add-on service for Apps.