Vassar College, which was founded in 1866, has decided to replace its current email system Zimbra with Google apps. This is part of the Google apps in Education project, which was started some time ago via collaboration between Google and Stanford University.
The project doesn’t just replace email by Gmail but adds many of the other well-known cloud services, including Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk.
Speaking with miscellanynews.com, a spokesperson for Vassar College said “Personally, I don’t think that we really will be losing anything. There will certainly be changes, but I would not consider this a loss.”
However, the spokesperson did concede that they will have to rely on Google’s servers and not their own. While on the one hand it reduces the costs of maintenance, if something does go wrong the College IT staff will not be able to carry out any work unless they are a Goggle certified engineer. The college spokesperson added “I do not think that it is a loss, but it is one thing we are giving up to move from an on-premises email system [Zimbra] to a cloud based email system [Google].”
I believe the other advantage of switching is the flexibility that Google allows its customers when wanting to improve or change the system being used. It seems Google rolls out these changes as and when needed whereas, when using Zimbra, the college did not have any control at all.
It will take some time to switch, but college management hopes the work will be complete by autumn 2012.