Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Hallelujah!! Successful Google Apps Migration
Today we went live with Google Apps! The transition went very smoothly, the MX records propagated instantly and there were no bounces.
I have been using Google Apps and I believe this is a good move for the Church. It's not only free, but it will allow us to have access to all our information from any computer at any time. I'm not certain how much everyone will use Google Docs, but Gmail, Calendar, and Sites will be used quite a bit.
And we get the high end Educational Package for free because we're a non-profit.
And I love 'Remember the Milk' and the Firefox plug-in that integrates the task list with Gmail! It's very useful. Combined that with the fact that you can call Jott to send messages to your task list, and also have your task list send text messages to your phone and you have a very versatile package.
The legacy system that was in place at the Church when I arrived was an internal MS Exchange server that housed all the internal mailing lists AND an external mail system with our domain name. There were plenty of problems with people in-house sending email via the exchange server,which the Pastors with Laptops could not receive until they physically plugged into our network, because VPN was disabled, and the Firewall Appliance was inadequate for our needs in general.
We're going to replace MS Office 2003 with open source OpenOffice on all our work stations. We were using 2003 on machines that don't have nearly enough Oomph for Office 2007, and we were running into compatibility issues already. We certainly could not afford to upgrade all the boxes. Even MS's non-profit pricing is high in my mind, especially when compared to FREE software. OpenOffice runs fine on our machines, and again, it's free, and totally compatible with just about everything, as long as you set the default save to .rtf.
I was very pleased with the way the change was received. The Lead Pastor had suggested it to me at the same time I was emailing him about the same subject, and I'm lucky that there are plenty of folks at the Church that are very tech savvy so I didn't have to 'sell' it.
The downside is that what is free today may not be free tomorrow and that putting all your data eggs in one Googley basket may not be wise. And I do wonder about the level of future support. But even if things go sour two years down the line we've still saved a bundle, still have OpenOffice, and we just jump back with another email provider like we did before. And I love Thunderbird.
Considering the ease of use, and the fact that Google Apps is very user friendly I'm positive that everyone will love it.
I'm just happy that the MX propagation went well!!!