Frequently Asked Questions

Which portion of the user community have you deployed Google Apps?  Did you roll this out for both students and faculty and staff?

We migrated all our student email to gmail and have made Google Apps available to them. We have not done this for faculty and staff.

Is Google Apps for Education really totally free or do they in some way, advertise on a students email pages?

Google does not charge academic institutions any fee and there is no advertisement for current students.

Do you run a different e-mail system for your user community, e.g. administrators?  If so, what e-mail system do you run and why did you decide not to move completely to Google Apps?

We have about 900 full time and 2000 part time employees who are served by Microsoft Exchange/Outlook. Our primary objective was to improve the on-line experience for our 30,000+ current students whom we migrated to Google Apps for Education. We suspect that staff (specially faculty) will pressure us to move them as well to gmail.

While Google excels at what it does, it presently does not offer as broad a suite of applications as Microsoft. New versions of Microsoft Office 2007, SharePoint, Exchange, and Office Communication Server have moved toward more comprehensive unified communication functionality with better integration (lock in). Additionally, our people are not yet comfortable with having all their information residing elsewhere. For now, we’re keeping staff on Microsoft platform.

Do your users access their mail through the Web only or some of them are using an email client?

Our students primarily access their mail through the web. Faculty and staff use both desktop client software and web access.

How do you deal with the provisioning of the user accounts. Can you massively delete accounts?

We have developed some middleware tools that operate an operational data Store outside of our ERP system. This ODS is updated daily and is the source for our provisioning and other applications. Our approach is to not delete accounts because we want to maintain a relationship with our former students to offer them new learning opportunities.

Do you experience frequent downtime for students? for administrators?

There may be a few periodic hiccups but nothing significant enough to be called downtime.

Are there any glitches in the admin interface? user interface?

It seems that Google is never finished with their development. They continue to enhance all their products. In general we’re very satisfied with their products and services. Our integration with their system runs without manual intervention.

Can you describe your experience: good points, not so good points and problems?

The single sign-on was a bit of a challenge to implement at the beginning. Overall, we would do it again without hesitation and highly recommend it to our colleagues within our own state. It would have been very expensive just to provision equivalent storage to begin with, not to mention the savings in anti-virus and anti-spam software costs.

What return do you get from users?

Our users are thrilled. Calls to the help desk regarding student email have practically vanished.

Has your experience been positive since the deployment?  Would you do this again?

Our experience has been very positive. We would certainly do it again.

When end-users have problems and issues, how do you resolve it?  Was Google been responsive to your inquiries and resolving them timely?

We have access to very responsive Google support resources accessible through both email and (if necessary) telephone.

What is the best way you have found to obtain support from Google?

E-mail has worked well. The ability to contact a resource through the phone provides a higher comfort level.

Do you utilize Single Sign On provisioning, tying user passwords with your internal system and Google Apps?

Yes. Our applications use LDAP & CAS for single sign on and it is integrated with Google Apps.

What applications, other than E-mail, Calendaring, and Docs have you found to be beneficial for your users?

We’re exploring the possibilities of using iGoogle as our portal.

Did you migrate their old messages to the new system?

Yes. We now have a total of 211,307 accounts, many of them migrated from our old system. More than 30 million messages were migrated in a very short time with tools provided by Google.