On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM, Mitchel Davis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The offsite backup email server is part of Bowdoin's overall DR
> planning. If you don't have the resources to provide DR for email, how
> do you support the rest of your applications and services?
Frankly, we don't. Bowdoin is very fortunate to have all the
resources you want and need, but for a small school like us it's a
struggle just to keep the campus network running. Offsite warm
failover is nothing but a dream for us. We do have offsite tape
backups and have acknowledged that a major on-campus disaster would
likely require months of recovery time. So anything I can outsource
provides DR that we simply can't provide any other way.
> At Bowdoin, the Internet connection does have outages during the winter.
> Some gmail users have asked for IT help with Google when they have had
> issues with the services. Some of the hosted issues related to a
> calendar outage lasted for over 3 days. Email addresses being turned off
> does seems to happen if they don't actively use their accounts. One
> Google web related issue took us over 3 months to resolve. The final
> solution to this problem was having someone who went to college with one
> of the owners of Google give him a call. This fixed the problem. The
> responsiveness of these outsourced solutions should be listed in a
> contract if you are going to depend on them.
I agree with your last statement, but my sense is everything before
that relates to the consumer service. Our Google support has been
exemplary and speedy, and we have a dedicated technical contact to
which I can escalate any response. We have full and complete control
of the provisioning and deprovisioning of accounts, and Google doesn't
ever deactivate an account automatically.
> Data mining is always an issue.
With all due respect, that is a myth, at least with Google. Google's
contract very specifically outlines who owns the data and what they do
and do not do with it.
> Historical archives are a problem if you outsource admin, faculty, and
> even some student organization communication.
Google provides a pay option for archiving of all incoming and
outgoing email that is far superior to any onsite solution I've ever
seen for a fraction of the cost. So I consider that a solved issue.
These are all important issues that should be discussed, and I believe
some institutions will continue to have resources they want to
dedicate to email and calendar services. I am ecstatic that those
institutions have resources to do that, but for many, many small or
resource constrained schools outsourcing email is likely to be a
viable alternative to trying to complete with Google. And don't fool
yourself. That's who you're competing with when it comes to email.
Kyle Johnson : Chief Technology Officer
Guilford College : Bauman 105B
[log in to unmask] : 336.316.2360
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice there is.
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