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Google Apps Pros Cons Other

Page history last edited by Jason Powell 13 years, 1 month ago

 

custom URL to get to this page easier: http://bit.ly/citrtgapps

 

Purpose - A number of us continue to evaluate the move from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps.  However, we have lots of questions and thus far not so many answers.  Hopefully this will serve as a great resource to help those of us considering Google Apps as our organization's email/calendaring solution. 

 

For our purposes here we should probably limit this discussion to On-Premise Exchange, since hosted or co-located Exchange would have only certain uniques and specific considerations that most churches wouldn't have to consider. Please comment if you feel differently.

 

** Please note ** -- I meant to add this before we got the wiki page up since we may have input from people outside of our normal CITRT circle (which is great).  We all have gmail accounts already and many of us even have Google Apps accounts for testing ... this is NOT a place for making wild unsubstantiated claims about how MUCH better gmail is than Exchange.  In other words we don't care about your personal opinion.  If your a Microsoft "hater" please move on.  Let's have an intelligent discussion as IT professionals so let's stick to the facts please. Thanks :-) [JasonP aka "the moderator" ;-)]

 

** As you find links that answer/reference questions below please link them at the end of each quesiton

 

** Since the document has grown signifigantly, please highlight open questions so they don't get lost.

 

** We have a citrt.org google apps account - if anyone wants an account to play with email JasonP (gccjason@gmail)


 

QUESTIONS

  • How do you share mailboxes?
    • (thejrod) - We don't, but didn't in exchange either
    • (Keven) - only way is by sharing passwords.  not advised.
    • (Kerner) - We don't, but often set up rules that forward messages
    • (Nathan) - Combination of sharing accounts (passwords) and forwarding
    • (RyanC) - We use imap and connect 2 accounts on the same client. Have AA's drag and drop messages from one folder to the other. AA and boss work out which folders to "pay attention to."
    • (JasonP 10/19/09) - how to delegate calendar AND email access: http://docs.google.com/view?Docid=dg76nhkx_3drd6tjcr&pageview=1#Set_Up_Delegated_Email for Premier Ed :(
    • (Sgoodger 1/7/11) - Email delegation is now available for all Google Apps users from the Settings menu of each user's account.  Click on Settings in upper right corner of your Google Apps email, Click on Accounts Tab, go down to Grant Access to your Account.

 

  • How do you add delegates so your AA can edit your contacts, approve calendar appointments?
    • (Keven) - can someone define delegates and AA?
      • (JasonP) AA=Administrative Assistant.  With Exchange you can make a user a delegate of your email/calendar/tasks so that they can read and reply to emails "on your behalf", send and approve calendar invites, tasks, etc ... and you have pretty granular control of exactly what they can see and do.
      • (Keven) no known dedicated function for AA.  Sharing password is only option.
      • (JasonP 10/19/09) - how to delegate calendar AND email access: http://docs.google.com/view?Docid=dg76nhkx_3drd6tjcr&pageview=1#Set_Up_Delegated_Email for Premier Ed :(

 

  • Supports Distribution lists?
    • (thejrod) - Yes (confirmed by Keven)
    • (Nathan) - Yes, and can include both internal and external users
    • (Kelly Gubser) - There is one caveat to "groups" and I've discovered a workaround:

The Problem

 

A contact you create can have several email addresses associated with it.  Say their work email and their home email are very common.

 

When you create a group and use it to send an email, only the first email address listed will be used.  You can't even add the second one manually.  Often, you might want the email to go to both addresses or the second one listed instead of the first.

 

The Solution

 

This appears to be a bug.  To get around it, follow these directions:

 

1. From Mail, revert to using the 'Older Version' of Mail (the link is at the top right corner of the window)

2. Go into Contacts using the link in the left column, not the one at the top

3. On this screen, just above your list of contacts, click the Groups link.

4. Select the group that you want to add your contacts into. (If you have no groups created, click the Create Group link over towards the right side of the screen)

5. As you type the names of your contacts in the Add Contacts box, you will be able to add ALL of the addresses for a particular contact (they show up in the auto-complete 'drop-down list' that appears when you start typing the contact name).  You will also be able to add addresses not in your contact list already.

6. When done typing in the addresses, click the Add Contacts button and verify that all of the addresses are listed for the group.

7. Revert back to 'Newer Version' of Mail by clicking the link in the upper right hand corner of the window when you are done.

 

From now on, when you type the name of your group as a recipient in your emails and hit TAB, all of the email addresses you selected will be added for you.

 

  • Administrative (Big Brother) access to mailboxes?
    • (thejrod) - Not like exchange
      • (darylhunter) - What does that mean?  Does that mean, no, I cannot login and view for example, your email without knowing your password?  Not that I would read your email... :)
    • Yes if using Premier edition (unsure about not-for-profit).  Feature is turned on or off from dashboard, allowing administrator to access all accounts.
    • (Nathan) - We have Premier Edition and I'm not aware of this capability as mentioned above.  You can monitor usage/password strength/quota, etc. but as far as I know, you cannot login and see another user's account/messages or change settings.
    • (RyanC) We have education and it is possible. Here is more info...

 

  • Hiding boxes from Global Address Lists? (or equivalent)
    • (Keven) No global address list (not yet, but top of list for requests - should be soon)

 

  • Can you "query" the Global Address Lists? (or equivalent)
    • that is, if I don't have john jones' cell #, but it's in the GAL (or equivalent), can I query that?
      • (thejrod) - No
      • (Keven) - n/a - no global address list yet.
      • (Nathan) There is a feature called "contact sharing" that, if enabled, when you click on the To field when composing a message, will return contacts from other user's contacts list in your domain.  It is kind of a hidden feature and is, therefore, not that useful in my opinion, but it is there.
      • (RyanC) - Ditto what Nathan said. We use this, or at least those that use the web interface do.

 

  • How can you work offline?
    • Email?
      • (thejrod) - Yes (confirmed by Keven)
        • (JVoorhis) can you elaborate on these a little, i.e. what is the client, etc.?
          • (Keven) It's a dedicated offline version that looks identical to the online version.  Still used within a browser.
          • (Nathan) It uses the Google Gears browser plugin.
      •  (JasonP) I use gmail via IMAP to outlook daily and no issues when I read,create,reply to messages when offline. Gmail also now has an offline mode which uses google gears to store "some" of your email locally.
      •  (Dhannifin) Is the offline copy encrypted?
        • (Keven) Offline copy is as encrypted as your hard drive, so likely no.  Would have to use encrypted hard drive.
    • Calendar?
      • (thejrod) - Yes (confirme by Keven)
      • (Nathan) - Yes, also via Google Gears.  You can, of course, subscribe to your calendar with iCal and it will synch both ways I believe.
    • Contacts?
      • (thejrod) - Yes (part of offline email) (confirmed)

 

  • What mobile phones support GApps?
    • Email?
      • Native mail client or "Google / GMAIL mail client?"
        • (thejrod) - Any smartphone. We usually reccommend Blackberry or Google phone since they have a native Google email app. Windows Mobile and others are IMAP.
        • (Keven) iPhone as well via native mail app or web app
        • (JasonP) Google also now licenses ActiveSync ... so most phones (including iPhone) can sync easily (AFAIK, ActiveSync with Google is only for Calendar and Tasks right now and you still have to use IMAP for email, unless they've changed it since release. --DavidS)
        • (Nathan) - The Google Sync stuff rocks for the iPhone.  My users were so excited when they released this a month or so ago.  I love it.
    • Calendar?
      • (thejrod) - Any smartphone. We usually reccommend Blackberry or Google phone since they have a native Google calendar & contacts app. Windows Mobile and others emulate exchange.
      • (Keven) - iPhone as well - via native calendar app, or web app
      • (JasonP) Google also now licenses ActiveAync ... so most phones (including iPhone) can sync easily
    • Contacts?
      • (thejrod) - Any smartphone. We usually reccommend Blackberry or Google phone since they have a native Google calendar & contacts app. Windows Mobile and others emulate Exchange.
      • (Keven) - iPhone as well - via native contacts list or web app
    • Tasks?
      • (thejrod) - None that I know of
      • (Keven) - via web app on iPhone and Blackberry.  Unsure of Smartphone support, but should be a yes.
      • (DavidS) - The iPhone has an app you can buy that will sync tasks with an Exchange server using WebDAV (like Entourage uses I think). It's an add-on, I'd have to look up the name of the app. I don't know if it will work with Google Apps though, my guess is very likely not.
    • Notes?
      • (thejrod) - None that I know of
      • (RyanC) - Google sync works spledidly on the iphone.

 

  • How to sync with current Active Directory (AD) infrastructure
    • Users
      • (thejrod) - We don't yet, but LDAP is supported on Google
        • (JVoorhis) Any additional overhead or configuration to support on the AD side of things? (i.,e, changes to firewall, changes to AD / PDC, etc)
          • (JVoorhis) There is an LDAP sync tool available for Windows, Linux and Solaris that will sync with Active Directory, Lotus Domino and Open LDAP: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?&answer=106368 (Google Apps Directory Sync). Novell Groupwise does not currently sync.  This util allows you to replicate users and groups, as well as email aliases for each.  On Acitve Directory, however, passwords do not sync.  In this case you would need to use Single Sign On: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=60224  The utility also supports exclusion lists.  It is a command line executable that can be schedule via cron or Windows Scheduler, but it has a GUI configuration tool. Active Driectory seems support to the tool without changes in it's default configuration (as tested on W2k3). Also availible is :"Google Apps Directory Sync for Email Security": http://www.postini.com/dir_sync/ , although how it differs, I don't know.
      • (Keven) - can also be done via import/export
      • (Nathan) - I always intended to do this, but the users haven't really minded the separate username/passwords.
    • Groups
      • (thejrod) - We don't yet, but LDAP is supported on Google
    • Distribution lists
      • (thejrod) - We don't yet, but LDAP is supported on Google
    • "All Users"
      • (thejrod) - We don't yet, but LDAP is supported on Google
    • permissions associated - so only certain people can send to groups as to avoid the "everyone forward the good luck angel emails" to all users
      • (thejrod) - yes, you can set users as owners or members.

 

  • How to backup/restore? (MOVED this discussion to the CONS section below -JasonP)

 

  • Mail Routing Rules / Restrictions
    • Does Google provide an equivalent of Exchange Hub Transport Rules?
    • Several of our executive staff have "hidden" email addresses that are a) not in the GAL and b) not published anywhere and c) restricted with an "allowed" list of who is allowed to email them.  Currently, if the "allowed" list isn't on staff, we create a "contact" for that... this is a key functionality we need to continue having
      • (thejrod) - We have hidden emails for exec's as well. We create an alias on GApps and a filter in their email that deletes anything that isn't sent to the alias. They usually have two email's private and public. Public is an alias to their assistant, private goes to the exec's account. -- If you wanted granular control like mentioned above, google's filter is very powerful and IT could easily create filters for email addresses instead of the way you create contacts now. (agreed upon by Keven)
      • (RyanC) - our method is very similar to thejrod's
      • (Nathan) - the downside to this approach is that you'd have to manage multiple distinct accounts and login to them separately to setup/manage filters.

 

  • What kind of security does Google offer?
    • (Keven) 256 bit encryption (roughly twice the encryption of online banking).  Some minor glitches reported via docs permissions, but Google has addressed these quickly whenever they have arisen.  You're likelier to have your info compromised by losing laptop, theft, hardware or software failure. 
    • (KevenM) why was this scratched out?  Google has had about 15 security issues with their email in the past 5 years.  Laptop theft on the other hand is more common.  Only a few months ago, one of our politicians in Toronto lost his laptop that had sensitive govt information on it.
    • (JustinM) I'm sure it was scratched out because it's totally irrelevant to the actual topic. Pretty much the same probabilities of physical security applies to any email solution.
      • (DavidS) Is this better?: Security requires relying on Google to keep things secure and fixing issues as they arise. Internal systems may be more or less secure depending on the administrator, obviously. One widespread hole found with Google Apps or in Exchange could mean compromise for anyone, but there are more mitigation options available to administrators with Exchange (such as having a front-facing service like Postini/MXlogic/Katharion be the only public SMTP access to your server).

 

  • What avenues of support are there for GApps in the the case of issues / outage, etc?
    • {KevenM) Using Premier edition, phone support is available in cases of loss of functionality.  Unsure about non-profit.  Aside from phone, email and forums to contact Goolge directly + 3rd party support businesses available in the Google Marketplace.
    • (thejrod) - We're on the non-profit edition. I've got a phone number and access code and can have someone on the phone in less than 5 minutes. Almost every time we've called, it's been due to something that we did wrong or we didn't understand about GApps.
    • (Nathan) - We're on Premier and have telephone support. In my opinion, it has not been very helpful.

 

  • Are there any plans to allow integration with Google contacts and PBX systems, such as Asterisk?
    • (kelvinc) - I've heard that Avaya has a roadmap to integrate their phone system with Google Talk, but that was a one-liner from a Avaya distributor in Australia.

 

  • A similar question as above, we have heavy investment in a Cisco Unified Call Manager solution - both for voice and voicemail (unified) through Exchange.  Any integration with Google?  I'm guessing not - I would have to still maintain Exchange just for the Unified voicemail, and then do organizatonal-wide forwarding to to gmail.  Thoughts?
    • To the person who's hopefully monitoring this question, this is Keven - we discussed this briefly in a guest chat yesterday (Friday Dec18), but the chat with your contact info was not saved (my mistake).  Can you please send me your contact info one last time to ennovative (at) gmail.com or info (at) rocketbuilt.com ?  Thanks.

 

  • For those of you that are using GApps/Gmail, are you also using Google Docs?  How are you dealing with file size limitations?  Or are you still utilizing Microsoft Office (or other) local office package?
    • We use Google Docs, but don't force it on the users. We still install Office on every machine. We've not had any issues with file size. Biggest advantage for us & our users is the simplicity of sharing and collaboration. We have many shared documents shared within departments, across departments and around the entire staff and love the functionality.
    • (Nathan) No one uses Google Docs that I know of.  We still use Office.
    • (Kelly Gubser) We still use MS Office, but there is interest in Docs for the collaboration features.
    • (RyanC) - lots of our users use Google Docs but we still install office on the desktop. The forms option in the docs spreadsheets has been a big hit with our staff.

 

  • Free/Busy?  Is there a way to schedule appointments and see everyone else's Free/Busy information?  With the web interface?  With Outlook/Mail.app/other client?
    • (Nathan) Yes, via the web interface and I actually prefer it to Exchange.  Users can subscribe to one another's calendars and see them all overlaid on one another.  The administrator can control this setting and what level of sharing is allowed (free/busy, all, none).  The administrator may also set a max sharing allowed when sharing the calendar outside the domain.  When you create a new event in calendar, you may view other free/busy just like you can in Outlook/Exchange.  As far as I know, this is only really possible when using the web interface.  I guess users could subscribe to the iCal in Outlook etc, but it would be hard to manage.

 

  • What options does an organization have for mail relay?  For example: If an appliance or application needs to send an alert, and needs an SMTP server to send the alert through, how is that accomplished?
    • (Keven) You can use the SMTP server provided by Google.
    • (JasonP) Found this link that says this is possible http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Apps+Partner/thread?tid=2398cdeb78c0c413&hl=en
    • Google only allows sending email through their servers using SMTP over SSL or SMTP over TLS, so some software may not support this encrypted connection (and sending a warning email would only work if your internet connection was working, even if you and the alerting device were located on-campus).
    • (thejrod) - As mentioned in the above post, Google only allows secured access to their SMTP servers. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but some applications (Service Desk for us) don't support sending to a secure SMTP server. Our fix was to setup an internal SMTP relay on one of our servers and we usually use it on anything that can't send to secured SMTP servers.
    • (Nathan) - Google places restrictions on the number of messages you can send out per day from a given account, as well as the maximum number of recipients a single message may contain.  I can't find the documentation of this currently, but I believe a single account cannot send more than 500 messages in a 24 hour period.  This caused a problem with a weekly e-mail which was sent out to our whole congregation.  Instead, we had to re-enable an SMTP server on our network to use for this weekly e-mail.

 

  • Does Google mail support global signature lines?
  • If we migrate to gApps, is there now a need for Microsoft Server (any edition)? 
    • (JVoorhis) This is not something that could really be answered without knowing the specifics of you environment, etc.  but for the purposes of this disussion, let's assume that everthing you needed was avaliable in the GApps suite and that another "competing" environment (such as a fully Mac or Linux server solution) is not applicable. If that was the case then no there would be no need for any supporting Microsoft Server products.  Realistically though, you'll still have some server based solutions (Microsoft or otherwise) for managaging you network, security, etc.
  • Anyone else really frustrated by the 40 character label limit?   With users organizing folders in Outlook, this is extremely short.   How are you all getting around this?    (Two side notes, 1.) we are on the non-profit edition and 2.) when migrating email from our old server over using the Google Apps provided migration tool, it brought over all the folder structure correctly, however we now cannot add more folders where the length of the label would be more than 40 characters)...  (sshoemaker)

 

Are YOU using Google Apps for YOUR organization? 

Please list Organization - Contact info - How many users on GApps - What was prior email solution

 

  • (thejrod) NewSpring Church - twitter/thejrod - ≈160 (includes service accounts & core volunteers) - Exchange '03
  • (Keven) Side note: I offer a deployment, support and training service for Google Apps.  If anyone's interested, I can be contacted at ennovative(at)gmail.com [Kevin - thanks for the input! Would you be interested in being on a future podcast we'll be doing about GApps? -JasonP] [Keven to JasonP - Sure, I'd be happy to.  Contact info is available on my twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/GAppsExpert ]
  • (Kerner) Schweitzer UMC - twitter/kerner -  ≈ 100 (includes service accounts and volunteers) - ISP hosted (Exchange - unsure of version)
  • (Nathan) First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, OK - twitter/nwp - 40 on Premier Edition - Exchange 2003
  • (Kelly Gubser) Calvary Church, Muscatine, IA - twitter/kellygubser - 27 on Education Edition - Exchange 2003
  • (RyanC) North Point Ministries - twitter/ryancl - 438 users on Education edition - Eudora Internet Mail Server :P
  • (fourthmil) Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village, CA - 242 Users on Edu Edition - MS Exchange 2007 (Dave Lopez, IT Manager: dave+citrt@calvarycc.org)

 


 

PROS?

  • Cost
    • (Kelly Gubser) Education Edition is free.  (limited to 50 user accounts, but one user can have several aliases. you may also request additional user quantities, but may result in a fee)
    • Free to 501(c)(3) orgs (Nathan) Note that you must be an official and documented 501(c)(3) organization to qualify for the non-profit edition--Google verifies this by going to www.guidestar.org or requiring you send IRS documents.  Churches, however, are not required to be registered per the IRS (Publication 557), and my church is not, and will not do so.  Therefore, we have to pay for Premier Edition.
      • (mmcconnell) We are not 501 (c)(3) and still were able to aquire the non-profit edition. We have a letter from our lawyer and a couple other documents we use when trying to aquire non-profit pricing that explains that we are a church and therefore are not required to be 501... so far we have not been turned down. If anyone wants a copy of what we use email me (mmcconnellATparkchapelDOTorg).
        • (Nathan) FYI: We used the note from mmcconnell's laywer as a model for our own such letter (also from our laywer)  and sent it to Google when our account came up for renewal and they still refused our request for education edition.
        • (Rob Lamarre): I've used the same legal letters and statues which has worked for every vendor EXCEPT Google. 
    • No need for Exchange licenses (although for non-profits it's dirt cheap)
    • No need for Exchange storage
    • No need for Exchange server (physical or VM)
    • (Keven) Reduced necessity for IT department and associated costs
      • (JLee) What metrics are you using to back up this statement? - (Keven) no metrics, just the fact that you don't have an exchange server to maintain, therefore, no need to pay someone to maintain it.
      • (Nathan) As a part time, non-paid staff member, I can tell you that the support call volume has gone down.  Probably 75% of my calls before were related to e-mail.  Now, I have very few of those calls.  This probably has less to do with Exchange vs. Google Apps, and more to do with the fact that the server we were hosting Exchange on was getting older and had several hardward issues.
      • (Kelly Gubser) We are small enough without dedicated IT staff and are running Exchange on the same server as file storage.  Removing Exchange will free up significant space for file storage on that server.  In turn, this puts off the need for a new server as would be our other option to open up space for file storage.
    • (Keven) Fewer backups
      • (JasonP) Since we don't know google's backup strategy or recovery I'd say this is not a PRO (Keven) Data is mirrored on multiple Google servers around the world.  Their servers fail like anyone else's, but you don't notice as working server pick up the slack without you noticing.
      • (Nathan) I've got 4 organizations on Google Apps and none has lost data.  Of course, we never lost mail in Exchange either, but I had to maintain the backups.  You can backup Google Apps e-mail account by downloading the mail via IMAP or POP.
    • (Keven) Lower system requirements (much lower)
      • (JasonP) You mean the end user system? Then yes all you need is a browser.
        • (Keven) - Yes, end user system.  I can run a browser on a 7 year old laptop, but not Outlook 2007.
    • (Keven) Increased staff productivity
      • (JLee) What metrics are you using to back up this statement?
        • (JasonP) Ditto to JLee ... I can't see switching making much of a productivity difference unless your current solution stinks.
        • (Keven) Decreased time to download and delete spam which adds up over the span of a year.  With document collaboration, no need to save, email, attach, receive, download, merge changes - the merging changes part is what takes the longest.  Nearly instant search results which Outlook can not do. 
          • (JVoorhis) - search is instant w/ windows search 4.0.   As well, Outlook will index other docs formats as attachments
            • (JasonP) Agreed. Search is fast and great with Outlook 2007.  ALSO we have no spam issues to deal with.
        • (Keven) These are not major cost savings, but subtle cost savings where the savings are realized over a span of time.
      • (Nathan) I don't know if I can agree about productivity... it has had no affect as far as I'm concerned.
    • (Keven) No cost to upgrade software
      • (JLee) No Cost?  Don't you have to setup each mailbox in addition to any network structure ie AD?  There are forsure personell costs... and i would ask would those costs be higher than configuring Exchange when setting up AD?
        • (Keven) Mailbox setup takes 20-30 seconds from the dashboard per user.  Going back to the original point of "upgrading software" (which is NOT the same thing as provisioning new mailboxes), you do not need to install patches or updates.  With Exchange, you do.
          • Link 1 (scroll to bottom of page)
          • Link 2 (there's a lot more where that came from)
        • (Keven) What is AD?
          • (JVoorhis) - Active directory - Microsoft's authentication technology for Windows based networks.
          • (darylhunter) - Keven - most all of us in here have an Active Directory setup. That our centralized directory for users/security/distribution/etc.  I hope you were kidding about "What is AD?"  But, if not, the people in here, like myself, that are responsible for the overall directory architecture are going to be particularly interested in comparisons with AD and integrations/synchronizations with AD as well.
    • (Keven) Not prone to hardware failure and unexpected hardware purchases
      • This is by far the biggest boon for me.  I love not having to deal with the hardware!

 

  • (JasonP) Large Mailbox sizes
    • (JasonP) No more scolding users for taking up too much space.  Current GMail mailbox size for non-profit accounts is 7.3GB (see http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/org/index.html)
    • (David) On the other hand, you're limited to that mailbox size unless you pay for Premiere to get 25GB mailboxes, if you for some reason have a need for lager (hopefully not, but you do lose the flexibility)
    • (Nathan) Probably need to mention the 20MB maximum attachment size in Google Apps which you don't really deal with in Exchange.  Our users had to adjust because they were using Exchange to pass 1 Gig video files around the network.
    • (darylhunter) For what it's worth, as DavidS says, the flexibility of larger mailboxes is key for some people.  Of our 400(ish) users, we have about 100 with mailboxes more than 1gig.  50 more than 3 gigs.  20 more than 5 gigs.  Only 1 currently with more than 7gigs.  Our mail is in about 5 different stores with multiple databases in each.  Exchange 2007 SP1 Enterprise.  Because our users are USED to "instant" search with Search 4.0 / Google Desktop - they are going to want to put any PST files up on GApps too - which means we'll have LOTS of people pushing against the 7gig limit.  That means we'll need to look at Premier.  $50 per user x 400 = $20,000 a year.  Yikes.  Yes, large mailboxes are a plus.  But that's relative of course :)

 

  • Management
    • (thejrod) Don't have to manage/support the physical equipment

 

  •  Availability
    • In the event of an Internet connectivity failure at Offices, GApps still accessible from remote locations.
      • (Dhannifin) - Hosted Exchange (BPOS) offers same feature.  
        • (JVoorhis) - yeah kind of figured we were assuming On-premise install, but that brings up a good point)
        • (DavidS) - Hosted Exchange doesn't get the same Microsoft Charity pricing treatment and is therefore harder to justify over in-house Exchange because of licensing (compared to a corporate environment looking at Hosted Exchange)
          • (JVoorhis) For the purposes of this discussion we should probably limit to On-Premise Exchange, since hosted or co-located Exchange would have only certain uniques and specific considerations that most churches wouldn't have to consider as David mentioned.
      • (Nathan) - Remember the big Gmail outage last August?  That was the day we went live on Google Apps and my users were very upset with me.  Then a few days later we had our main router go out which means users were without e-mail.  It was a bad week, but since then, its been very nice.

 

  • Platform agnostic (JasonP) - if you have a browser and internet connection your golden. And most people are already familiar with GMail so training should be easy.  "Should be"
    • (Keven) Good point JasonP - works from PC, Mac, Linux, Android, etc..
    • (DavidS) - People who haven't used Gmail may have more trouble getting used to the interface and slightly different way of doing things from the web interface (Labels instead of Folders, threaded conversations, etc.)
      • (Nathan) - We've had a few users who just really hate the Google Apps web interface.  We put them back on Outlook but set them up with IMAP.  Most users, have adjusted and now love both lables and search.
    • (Nathan) - Before the migration from Exchange, very few used Outlook Web Access, and non used the VPN to access Exchange via Outlook.  Now, everyone has e-mail everywhere.
  • Calendar
    • (Kelly Gubser) this is probably a preference, but viewing multiple calendars overlays the items on a single calendar as opposed to side-by-side in Outlook.  I prefer that look. 
    • (Kelly Gubser)I can also have several calendars in my account to keep them private and separate from the shared calendar everyone else sees. (Even though you can set a private setting on items)  For example, I have US Holidays on a separate calendar so as not to clutter what everyone else sees on my shared calendar.  i also have a task due date calendar tied into Toodledo that is separate.  All three of these are set to sync with my iPhone (I think you can sync up to five calendars to the iPhone).
    • (Kelly Gubser) Our office manager has created a separate Events calendar that she shares with the staff.  That has become the central calendar for everything going on at our facility.  She even posts out-of-office schedules on it.  This does not require a separate user account like Outlook/Exchange might require.  We can set up other calendars for other resources like digital cameras, conference rooms, etc. as needed without burning up more of our 50 available user accounts.
      • (darylhunter) I was just about to ask re: "Resource Calendars" and "Resource Mailboxes" - how do you handle these?  For instance, our "Conference Room Calendars (several)" are unmanned mailboxes.  You just "include" that mailbox on an invite, and it shows up in the Free/Busy scheduling to see if it's available.   How does this work with GApps?  Is it manned/unmanned?
        • (Nathan) I don't know about the education edition, but I know you don't get resource mailboxes in standard edition.  I do know that premier edition includes resource mail boxes which can be created from the management console, but they have these odd and long email addresses (yourdomain_32348739323637lotsofnumbers@resource.calendar.google.com) associated with them and you have to manually give the e-mail address to the user who needs to manage them.  However, for most users, they simply invite the resource in the user and resource availability dialog and it is actually quite nice.  Here is what it looks like:
        • (RyanC) - Resources are available in the free version.
          • (Nathan) By "free version" do you mean Education Edition, or Standard Edition?
  • Integrated IM/Video Chat (Nathan)
    • (Nathan) Google Talk comes along with the package and supports simple IM as well as group and video chat.  It works directly from the web interface as well as includes a client-side application if you wish.
    • (Nathan) It can be configured to only show status to users inside the domain, and it warns users if they are commencing a chat outside the domain.
    • (Nathan) Chats are stored in All mail and searchable.
    • (RyanC) Since most of our users used iChat already we just showed them how to connect to Gtalk via jabber in iChat. Some use it some dont. It is great cause the barrier of not knowing someones screen name is gone assuming you know their email address, which means you know their name, which I hope you know the name of the people you work with. :)

 

CONS?

  • Control
    • We (administrators) only have so much peek into the ins and outs

 

  • Lack of granular backup/restore
    • Can you backup calendar items, contacts, emails, tasks?
    • (Keven) Why would you need to backup?  Every instance of your data is mirrored on dozens (if not hundreds) of Google's servers around the world.  when one fails, the others pick up the slack without you noticing.
      • (JasonP) Why a need to backup? What if a user goofs up their calendar or contacts or who knows what. Sadly this is easy to do with some sync tools (ask me how I know).  Or what if someone hacks their account, easier now that it's just a user/pass, and goes in and maliciously messes stuff up?
      • (Keven) - short of using a keylogger on the user's computer (user's lack of security), Google accounts have yet to be hacked.  Same scenarios apply to Exchange, or any local mail solution - consider this at best a neutral point.
      • (Keven) Good point JasonP - all content can still be downloaded to a local PC if desired.
    • (thejrod) - We are trusting Google at the moment.
    • (Keven) - Almost all features can be downloaded to a local source (Email, calendar, Docs) for local backup purposes.  Only needed if Google data centers ALL be destroyed (unlikely), or the Internet gets shut down (then we have bigger problems)
      • (darylhunter) - backup needed for "oops I deleted that important email" or "uh oh, where did my very important contact list go?" That's why I want/need backup and restore. (Keven) Yes, you can d/l mirror copies of your info onto local source.
        •  
        • (RyanC) for the email piece Postini can help.
          • (darylhunter) this seems like a VERY big con - so - now rather than running internal-to-my-network backups (Backup Exec or whatever) and then being able to granularly restore items that were accidentally (or on purpose) deleted, I'm now having to rely on my end-users having a properly synced "mirror?"  Is that what you are saying?  Or, are you saying there's a way to ORGANIZATIONALLY sync all the data from gapps?
            • (Nathan) When you move to Google Apps Mail you should expect that your users will learn the "GMail workflow" which is to say, you really don't delete messages anymore. Instead, you archive them.  When you've got between 7-25 Gig of space, it just makes a lot of sense.  However, if the users do delete a message, using Postini's archive service will keep all messages for 90 days and it can be recovered.  In truth, in my 10 years of corporate IT and Exchange, I never had to recover an e-mail for a user.  Maybe I just got lucky...
    • (JasonP) Say you have an employee leave on bad terms and they go in and delete important emails or contact or calendar events before you can restrict their access?
      • (Keven) admin has ability to lock a user's account.  This scenario is dependent on the admin and independent of Exchange, Google, etc...
      • (DavidS) If the employee were to delete important info before you lock the account, how do you get it back? With Exchange only Exchange administrators have access to delete recently deleted message stores and full Exchange backups, the user can't delete the information fully in the first place.
      • (darylhunter) I agree with DavidS on this one...
      • (Keven) restoring emails after deletion from the trash is available with Postini 90 day, 1 year, or 10 year retention add on service (unsure on pricing)
        • (DavidS) That's good to know and I've seen the Postini archiving option, but that's something like $25/user/year (up to 66% discount if you can get Google to give it to you, which seems dependant on volume you're willing to purchase) which starts to make the cost savings dry up (how much I don't know) and you lose the "but it's free for non-profits" angle somewhat. And Google Apps already has awesome spam filtering, so having to add Postini to get archiving seems kind of redundant since you get Google Postini's filtering, too. (Google owns Postini if anyone doesn't know.)
        • (RyanC) - postini for NPO's is much much cheaper than that.
        • (Nathan) if you use Premier edition, you get Postini as part of the deal and it includes the archiving
      • Ok so there's an option (using Postini) to archive emails as a backup, but what about contacts, calendar, tasks?
        • (Nathan) As far as I know, Postinin only backs up e-mail.
        • (Ryanc) - While this is certainly a CON there are ways to make it slightly less painfull. You can sync your contacts with a local app. Same with Calendar. Then backup your local machine like normal. Havent tested a restore with this method but at least you would have the data in a worst case scenario.
    • (Dhannifin) Google has exposed customers' documents at least once in 2009.
      • (Keven) Confirmed as true.  Big picture though, still better security.
    • (Dhannifin) GMail has had at least two major outages recently.
      • (Keven) Outages lasted on average 4 hours, for SOME users - not all were affected.  Not 100% SLA, but 99.9% SLA
      • Where do small orgs like churches fit on the priority list when events like this occur?
        • (Keven) Unknown
        • (RyanC) - I have never felt like a 2nd class citizen when speaking with Google support. They are an equal opportunity bad support center.
      • How about in the event of a true datacenter disaster? 
        • (Keven) There are a few hundred other datacenters to pick up the slack.  This actually occurred a few years ago when an entire Google datacenter nearly burned to the ground.  NOBODY NOTICED.  This is the advantage of Google's datacenters - they're mirrored all over the place, and even portable (each "datacenter" is actually housed a shipping container)
      • what is Google's SLA to small orgs to have data back online? What do churches get in return if these SLAs are violated?
        • (Keven) You get your money back ;)
          • (DavidS) Exactly :-)

 

  • Bandwidth?  Is this a con?
    • (Keven) If users are currently on dialup, they should upgrade to basic DSL.
      •  Instead of local access to your Exchange (or whatever) server, you're now using Internet Bandwidth for your email. 
        • (thejrod) - we've had no issues with bandwidth problems
        • (Keven) no issues on bandwidth either
          • (JLee) Both Jrod & Kevin what are the metrics on your bandwidth usage per user using google apps? (Keven) no metrics - If your ISP still charges by the megabyte, it's high time to switch.
    • (darylhunter) I was the original question-er here.  Let me restate.  We have a very large internet pipe.  I'm not worried about us, per se.  But, for the purpose of this wiki, and for many of the non-profits on here, many of them have small internet connections - like T1 or bonded T1.  So, every bit of bandwidth matters.  Sometimes they may have 70-100 people (or more) sharing a 3-5meg internet connection.  So, having a core app like "email" relying on Internet connectivity, and add some "clients" on top of that (Mail.app + Outlook + Thunderbird + whatever) could be chatty.  So, when I ask about "bandwidth" - it has nothing to do with cost be megabyte, it comes down to perceived speed and responsiveness.  I just wanted to be more verbose with the question.  So, for those of you using gmail, and connecting with CLIENTS (like Mail.app or Outlook) are you noticing any bandwidth utilization/responsiveness/speed (perception) difference?  Rather than saying "not noticing" - have you actually done usage reports with before/after details?  That's a lot of words.
    • (Nathan) Since we only have a DSL connection, this has been a bigger issue for us.  Before, if someone was sending a large attachment or such, no one noticed because it was on the LAN.  Now, however, since attaching a file is an upload, this affects our capped downstream connection pretty dramatically at times.  A few months ago, we were experiencing terrible bandwith problems and tracked it down to a Mac running Mail.app and communicating with Google Apps via IMAP/SMTP--it had a message with a 50MB attachment stuck in the outbox which it was trying to copy to the outbox over and over and over again.  By the time we tracked it down, it was trying to upload 100 or so copies of the attachment to the outbox.  I had to delete the mail profil in Mail.app to get things working again and I don't know if it was Mail.app or Google Apps.
    • (RyanC) Our backup circuits are DSL. When there is an outage (which of course never happens) Users are able to get their email just fine but cant send at all, due to the limited upload speed. This is frustrating. But like I said, it never happens....right?... right?

 

  • Security
    • Less layers with google.  user/pass and you're in. 
      • (JLee) And this is diffrent from Exchange how... Users can't get to google apps if they can't login to the network.. if they can login to the network they are in Exchange right?
        • (Dhannifin) - You can do a lot protect Exchange servers including domain isolation, 2 factor authentication, etc.
          • (JLee) - Dustin, I am thinking the same thing as you... Seeing now that this point was a con... my comments don't make alot of sense.
      • (JasonP) I think the attack surface is greater from offsite. At least exchange you can hid behind VPN, RPC-HTTPS, etc. Gmail is pretty much out there available to the world.  
        • (Keven) Sorry, but Google users multi-million dollar security systems.  The simple proof is that Gmail has yet to be hacked, whereas one only needs to look at Exchange and Windows Server security updates to see that there are many vulnerabilities.  High end firewall and security systems to protect your private network will cost a fortune and likely will still have more vulnerabilities.  At this point, we're comparing 99.999999999% secure compared to 99.9999999999999% secure - the only difference is what's left over in your wallet.
          • (JasonP) No, you're not understanding or I'm not explaining it well enough.  Not sure how to explain this to someone that's not administrated an Exchange environment.  Unless I've missed it, basic fact is that from anywhere in the world all you need is user/pass to access a users data .. or the admin login.
    • (JasonP) Are there any audit logs available per user? Say you want to check the last time user A logged in or how many incorrect password attempts were used on a mailbox.
      • (Keven) - yes, integrates with Google Analytics to monitor user usage statistics.
      • (Nathan) You can also login to the management console and view users and it displays the last time they logged in.  Google also recently added the footer to the web app so a user can see if he or she is logged in elseare (or someone else)
    • (Dhannifin) Does Google provide any type of rights management? For example can I flag an email as "Do Not Fwd" or "Internal Users Only" and have those controls enforced?
      • (Keven) - none that I'm aware of, however, there are group permissions to help ensure some email remain internal to the business.
      • (Nathan) - Nothing to enforce this at all.  For example, there is no mail recall (though Google just released a 5 second delay so you could undo sending for 5 seconds).
    • (Dhannifin) Does Google provide any type of secure email solution? If I want to email someone outside my org can Google encrypt the message?         
      • (Keven ) this is available through Postini service which integrates into Google
      • (Nathan) I'm not aware of this being offered via Google Apps or Postini, but you could do this with a PGP plugin for a client app which sends via Google Apps SMTP
    • (Dhannifin) Google terms of service basically state that you cannot sue Google for any damages or losses.
      • (Keven) - ditto with almost any corporation these days.

 

  • No folders
    • (JasonP) Call me old fashioned, but I MUCH prefer folder structures over labels. Perhaps not a CON, but just something that will require some major adjusting for many users.
      • (Keven) yes, may take some getting used to)
      • (JVoorhis) This is akin to to the issues we see with Metadata vs folders in the SharePoint world - it's a tough sell for most users
      • (Nathan) This was an issue for several of our older users.  Many elected to continue using Outlook and get their mail via IMAP.  A lot of users complained at first and now love labels.
      • (Kelly Gubser) GApps is significantly different from Outlook.  The transition was bumpy up front with a need for some significant support and basic training.  I have not given the option of using Outlook, yet, but it may be necessary for a few people.
    • (JLee) When using Imap with Outlook i have found there is no "deleted" items b/c outlook doesn't really do well with imap when your users are using google apps what email client are they using... or are they using one?
      • I haven't had any issues with IMAP and Outlook 2003/2007.  I have, however, experienced some issues form Mail.app
    • If someone wanted to use a desktop app like Mail, it sees these labels as folders over the IMAP protocol, so that's still an option if someone just absolutely can't live without a "folder".
    • (darylhunter) Folders / Labels - We've discussed that "folders" don't exist in gmail, but, there are "labels."  Further, it's been stated that using the Mail.app (MacOS) connected via IMAP - the "labels" are translated into "folders."  Can someone confirm this?  Also, what about Outlook 2003/2007?  If it connects to gmail via IMAP, will it also translate the "labels" into "folders?"  And, lastly, if I'm connected via IMAP, and the label/folder thing works, if I drag-n-drop an email from one folder to another, will it automatically add and/or change the "label" on gmail.com?  Our userbase is heavy folder users.  We have a TON of GTDers and Inbox Zero fanatics.  Folders are a pretty important to us, so in order to get through the label/folder thing, we need to find a way for that to work.
      • (DavidS) I've used IMAP with Google Apps. Not extensively but I've used it personally, with Outlook and Thunderbird, and set it up for others. Yes labels show up as folders. You get some built-in defaults like Spam and Trash and such as well that you see and can use but not delete. So you can "mark as spam"  by moving to the Spam folder, etc. I don't know if copying an email to a folder "adds"  the folder as an additional label; I would assume so. Moving an email from the inbox to a folder adds the label named for the folder, and archives it out of the inbox, on the web interface. I'm not sure if you have an email tagged with multiple folders, and you use IMAP to move (not copy) the email to another folder, if it deletes the other existing labels for that email or not. You may have to copy the email to the other folder, which I assume would preserve all existing labels for said email (again this is where I  haven't done extensive enough testing to be sure). But yes, drag-and-drop works fine and if you only use IMAP the experience should be generally similar to folders in other systems and esp. close to "regular" IMAP accounts. Daryl, if you want a Google Apps account I can give you one on one of my several domains or I'm sure someone else would, if you want to play with this hands-on (especially if you report back here! :-)
      • (Nathan) The Lables as folders via IMAP is not a function of the mail client but of Google's IMAP implementation, and therefore any IMAP client will see labels as folders.

 

  • Availability
    • If internet connectivity goes down office workers can not continue to email internally as they would if Exchange was on-premise. ---On a side note to the previous comment, while the email wouldn't be sent/received to Google, with Gears it would be stored locally and once internet connectivity was regained it would sent/received; doesn't solve the whole problem but at least you still have offline mode, and for any intermittent outage this should be sufficient.
      • (JLee) Wouldn't having 100% dependence for email on SAAS does that = you to have ISP redundancy, as well has Firewall redundancy?
      • Offline via Google Gears gives you read-only access to your calendar so no updates while disconnected.
      • No contacts or tasks offline via gears.
      • Google Gears are not covered under SLA
    • SLA is not financially backed (if SLA missed you get one month free) several other cloud vendors are beginning to financally back their SLA. (dhannifin)
    • Labs features are not covered under SLA (dhannifin)
    • SLA has been missed 4 out of last 6 months. (dhannifin)

 

  • User account rename
    • Another con for us is the ability to rename a users account. Most of the time, this isn't a problem, but we've had a couple of female users get married and we need to change their account name. We can change the display name, but not the account name. Our solution has been to add an alias for their new name and change the reply-to address to their new name. Not ideal but it works until we're able to change account names. Anyone know of a way to change account names?
      • (Nathan) - I know this is a feature that people are asking for.  But, you're right, it is a pain.  My approach is the same as yours (create an alias).
      • (RyanC) - Ditto, this makes me wanna punch a Koala.

 

  • No delivery/read receipts
    • (Kelly Gubser) Correct me if I am wrong, but Outlook allows you to get these while GApps does not.  Perhaps using Outlook via IMAP would, but not via the web interface.  This has been a major loss for some people.
  • Contacts
    • (Kelly Gubser) You can not sort your contacts by last name.
  • User Acceptance (Nathan)
    • (Nathan) We certainly had some resistance to Google Apps initially, particularly the web interface and the previously mentioned labels instead of folders.  Most of the really vocal individuals where older and, therefore, pretty influentual and we caved and gave them Outlook back (setting it up to communicate with Google Apps via IMAP).  However, this is a bummer in some part, becuase part of the power of Google Apps is its integrated nature which is done best via the web interface.  It would be a dream to have the entire organization in the web interface because we could see everyone's status in chat, share everyone's calendars, etc.  I've put three organizations on Google Apps in the last two years and only one has everyone using the web interface.  This is not to say that it doesn't work when users are using client applications (for example, Mail.app, iChat, and iCal work with it pretty well), but it doesn't work as well.  So, if you take the Google Apps plunge, be prepared for some resistance.  But, on a positive note, I've seen even initially resistant users change their tune after awhile.  One user told me today (when I told him about this wiki) that he can't stand Outlook or Yahoo mail anymore because he loves conversation view, labels and lightning fast full text search.  He, of course, was one that initially hated both labels and conversation view ;-)

 

OTHER DISCUSSION POINTS?

  • Anti-virus?
    • We currently use Barracuda - others have used Postini and MX Logic
    • (Keven) Anti-Virus is pretty strong via Google Apps - yet to see or hear of any instance of emails carrying viruses that automatically activated (unlike with Outlook where you can get viruses without even opening an email)
    • (RyanC) Postini, love it.

 

  • Anti-spam?
    • We currently use Barracuda - others have used Postini and MX Logic
    • (Keven) Anti-spam in included, and there's simply no better anti-spam (paid or free) anywhere.  I've had clients go from 100-125 spam messages PER DAY, to 1 PER MONTH.
      • (JasonP) Yo Keven...We all use gmail and know it's good, but calling it the best is a bit over the top. You do know that Google purchased Postini :-)
        • (Keven) yes - aware of that.  I've tried dozens of spam filter services, none come even close.  If anyone can point me to a better service, I'd love to hear about it.  Also consider the flipside - of false positives as well, which Google seems to handle very well.
      • Jason, while the claim may seem a little outlandish, I will go ahead and say that out of the email systems I've used GMail lets the least amount through while also not registering any false positives that I've caught, which our current Barracuda system does do.
        • (JasonP) I agree gmail antispam works great ... reminds me of our google/postini solution ... hmm ;-)
        • (Dhannifin) Been using Symantec Secure gateway for several months now and great results. May migrate from Postini to cut cost. May only apply to larger orgs.
        • (Keven) comparing apples to apples, are there costs to using Barracuda, or Symantec Secure Gateway?
    • (thejrod) - We were using Postini with exchange before our switch to GApps and haven't had any complaints from users. Some like it more since they don't have to have a postini account to log into to look for SPAM.
    • (Nathan) - The default out of the box Gmail solution works pretty well, but also note that Postini is included in Google Apps Premier edition.  However, if you already have a Postini account (as we did) Google does not currently have a way to migrate that account to your Google Apps account.  They say they're working on it.
    • (RyanC) Postini, love it. We have the NPO (free) version of GApps and pay the NPO version of POstini. MX goes to Postini, Postini sends it to Google. When we first set this up google would then mark it as spam which is frustrating because I basically told our users to ignore the SPAM label/folder in their client. We ended up adding every single POstini IP address to Gmails whitelist table. Lame but it works. You would think they would talk to each other ( Google and postini that is).
    • (Kelly Gubser) in Education Edition, there is a place for specifying inbound gateway IP addresses and then the option to only allow incoming mail from those IPs.  this would be the better place to put those addresses than in the whitelist table.  Ours for Postini is 64.18.0.0/20 to save entering all the addresses separately.

 

  • Recipient Limits
    • Is there a limit to how many people are in the TO: / CC: / BCC: field?
      • (Keven) Standard edition limited to 500 emails sent per day per user.  Premier and education editions limited to 2000 per day.  Realistically, this is a BAD idea either way - spam filters can recognize an email that was sent to hundreds of people, so some recipient's spam filters may block the message.  Consider using a DEDICATED service for newsletters (Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact)
      • (darylhunter) I'll ask a different way - can I, administratively, limit this to 25 or 50 people instead of the "default" setting?
        • (Keven) no.
          • (darylhunter) ouch, not having that ability is a bummer.  Sure, yes, we have all sorts of external products we use to handle CAN-SPAM / opt-in/opt-out or whatever.  But, that doesn't prevent a dumb mistake that can get you blacklisted.  Thus, the ability to limit that administratively can help.  We JUST had to do this recently.
          • (DavidS) Yes but using a service like Google Apps and to a further extent, Postini/MXLogic, if you're using their servers for outbound, they do "spam" filtering and it's their job to stay off the lists more so than yours. It doesn't remove your responsibility but does give you a buffer, since email isn't coming from your internal IPs and the organizations have a vested interest in customer's outbound emails going out smoothly!

 

  • Any chance of someone BCCing, for example, 3300 people a stupid email with a vimeo link and being blacklisted from hotmail? Not that this has happened, or anything...
    • (Keven) See above note (darylhunter) see response above

 

  • Ed Edition vs. Premium
    • (JLee) What are the differences between Premium and the Free version for 501c3 (Ed Edition?)
      • (JLee) If a org isn't 501c3 are they up a creek?
        • (Keven) why would they be up a creek?  Support is still available.  Though there is no exchange of money for the service, Google still has an important reputation to uphold.
          • (JLee) Up a creek refering to if they aren't an 501c3 then they can't get the Ed Edition for free... so if an org isn't 50c3 but is a non-profit they can't use google apps for domain for free right?
            • (Nathan) Anyone can use standard edition for free.  It, however, lacks some of the advanced tools education edition has like migration tools (which are way helpful migrating from Exchange)
            • (mmcconnell) If you are not 501c3 that doesn't mean you can't use the non-prof edition (see my post above in the "PRO'S" section under cost)
        • (Nathan) Note that you must be an official and documented 501(c)(3) organization to qualify for the non-profit edition--Google verifies this by going to www.guidestar.org or requiring you send IRS documents.  Churches, however, are not required to be registered per the IRS (Publication 557), and my church is not, and will not do so.  Therefore, we have to pay for Premier Edition.
      • (DavidS) The Free edition for 501c3 has the same mailbox size limit as the free-for-all version (7.x GB)  vs. 25GB  for the paid Premiere accounts. I think that's the major difference.
      • (Kelly Gubser) Education Edition is limited to 50 user accounts (though each user can have many aliases)     
        • We've got 500 accounts available with the Education edition. Standard edition is limited to 50 users.
        • (Kelly Gubser) If you were to go get a new account right now (got mine in March) with Ed. Edition, it is limited at 50 users.  I think in the past it allowed more.  You can also request additional accounts, but i don't know what the upper limit would be.
        • (mmcconnell) Our rep just said to let her know if we needed more than the 200 accounts she gave us. She said there was no cost for more.
    • (Nathan) Several of the "advanced tools" are only available to Premier Edition.  I believe this includes SSO, API access, and reporting.  I honestly haven't used any of these tools.  The migration tool rock though!
      • (Kelly Gubser) I have the Education Edition and these features are available to me.
      • (RyanC) - yes this statement is not true. We have all the same tools.
      • (Nathan) It seems that there has been some change as to what is in Education Edition, user limits, etc.  When I last looked there was a chart, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore.  At the time, Education Edition was almost identical to Premier Edition with the exception that it had less storage and no Postini.  However, with the recent emphsis on resellers and the 50 user limit, there has obviously been some changes.  Sounds like Education Edition is now more like Standard Edition but it includes the administrative tools.
    • (RyanC) - We seriously considered the pay option when we started but decided against it. Here is why.
      • More Storage - Since we were just a POP shop before they effectivley didnt have any storage before (just HD storage but no server based storage) so no matter how much we have its way more than what we had.
      • SLA - Yeah, we thought/hoped that this meant you were on different/better servers but you are on the same boxes as everyone else. Only difference is you get some money back if there is an outage outside the SLA. Not worth the cost if you ask me.
      • Postini - it was cheaper to just buy postini with NPO pricing outside of GApps.
      • User Limits - We are allowed to create up to 600 users. I think we are good here.

 

  • Global Provisioning
    • (JLee)We can very easily provision a mailbox (creating the AD account) and the mail client settings with tools like ScriptLogic can Google Apps be as easily provisioned for your users
      • (Natha) Via the Provisioning API yes

 

  • (JasonP) Do you ultimately trust your data in Google's hands?
    • (Keven) Yes
    • (Nathan) for now yes, but it does sometimes bother me to think that they have a log of what I'm searching for, all my work e-mail (we use Google Apps Standard), all my personal mail (I use GMail), all my churches e-mail, and a lot of other people's stuff as well.  They could, very well, take over the world...
  • Are they using your email in any way to benefit Google?
    • (Keven) If you're implying "by selling your information", I do not believe they do.  Ignoring right and wrong for a moment, there's no financial sense to doing this.  They earn close to 3 billion $ every quarter - nobody is going to buy customer data for enough money to make it worth the risk.  Word would get out in 2 minutes flat and it would destroy the company's revenue model. 

 


 

Resources / How-tos: (please add any helpful bogs, sites, etc., regarding comparing / transition to or using GApps)

 

Comments (6)

John Voorhis | Tenth Presbyterian said

at 6:50 pm on Apr 5, 2009

This has been a great exercise - I think we need to do this more frequently, particularly for some of the FAQ's in the IRC channel. As well, maybe we could do some of these for general technology 101 articles i.e. what is Twitter and why does it matter, etc.

ToddGrace said

at 2:54 pm on May 5, 2009

The Leaving Outlook Issue.

I have noticed quite a few people don’t add their contacts to their address book. They just have it in their AutoComplete and call it good. This is unfortunate because when you export your contacts from Outook it will not export the AutoComplete addresses.

AutoComplete Addresses is located in a separate file called a NK2 file. The path is C:\Documents and Settings\ProfileName\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.

There is a good solution for this problem, there’s a free tool called NK2.info (that’s also the web address) that will convert the NK2 file into a CSV file. This will make it exporterable to Google. It will not have all the contact info, but it will have the email address, which is great because in Gmail when the user is typing in the first couple letters of an email, the address will be among the ones that drop down.

I hope this info helps, because it has sure helped me when I bring people over from Outlook.

Also, I love this support page, it has truly been a blessing.

Todd

Brian said

at 2:02 pm on Feb 16, 2010

and if anyone needs pricing, feel free to contact me via email, irc (in #citrt) or on twitter

citrt people get the special deal :)

Tarra Thompson said

at 12:34 pm on Mar 31, 2010

Hello everyone. I am new to this group. I am the church administrator for my church, but also am responsible for a lot of our IT. We have another church volunteer who also 'consults' with us...late last year he switched us to Google Apps and it was not a pleasant move.

I LOVE the features that Google Apps offers, however, we discovered that we had a number of systems that ONLY operated with Exchange (our inability to connect to Shelby through email, being unable to scan documents through our network printer, and the length of time it took to transfer emails from Outlook to Exchange were among my top issues).

Also, regarding email - I love the functionality of Gmail, but prefer most of the functions available only in Outlook, so some of us stuck it out with Gmail, others of us switched back to Outlook Email yet others are using both. We still have Google Apps running the engine behind the scenes instead of Exchange. It took many hours of time working with each of our software/hardware vendors to get a Google Apps fix so our equipment would be back up and running. With all that said, I have spoken with other churches who have not had one problem with the transition, so all in all I just highly recommend doing some extensive research and making sure all of your systems are set up to work with Google Apps before you make the switch.

Tarra Thompson said

at 2:18 pm on Mar 31, 2010

Thanks...we actually did use the Google Sync application. It took a full day for the emails to transfer, and when I use the 'synced' email account, it takes a bit of time for me to get emails. It's been a few months now, so we are making our way through ...but at the time it was very frustrating and time consuming.

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