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Developed for EDUCAUSE 2010 …

Developed for EDUCAUSE 2010
The University of South Florida moved student e-mail to Google Apps in February 2008. This presentation highlights the successes and challenges that USF has faced since the beginning of the project and offers practical knowledge for institutions that are either investigating outsourced e-mail or have recently taken the plunge.

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  • 1. October 15, 2010
    From Development to Deployment & Beyond
    Eric Pierce
    Identity Management Architect
  • 2. About Me
    Started at USF in 1996
    Help Desk
    System Administrator
    Student Email
    Student Unix Accounts/Webpages
    Student Blogs
    Identity Management Architect
    Identity Reconciliation
    Authentication & Authorization
  • 3. University of South Florida
    47,000+ students
    4 Campuses
    St. Petersburg
    Medical School & research facilities in Tampa
  • 4. Student Email pre-GoogleApps
    Difficult to maintain
    Cobbled together over a number of years
    Assortment of Commercial & OSS technologies
    Fighting spam was a losing battle
    6 servers dedicated to spam/virus scanning
    Long delays & constant tweaking required
  • 5. Student Email pre-GoogleApps
    Students wanted:
    More space
    Less spam
    Calendaring & collaboration tools
    More reliability
    I wanted:
    More reliability
    Geographic redundancy
    To spend less time fighting spam or fixing hardware issues
  • 6. Upgrade or Outsource?
    About $1 million over 3 years to keep it ‘in-house’
    Fully redundant storage for 70K+ mail users is expensive
    So is commercial spam/virus scanning
    No single package compares to GoogleApps or Live@edu
    Even with multiple applications, many features are not available
    IT resources required to develop new features and/or upgrades
    More admin time required for maintenance and trouble-shooting
  • 7. Get the students involved!
    Student Government
    Improving Email was a top priority during a ‘Town-Hall’ meeting with the CIO
    Helped generate ‘buzz’ about the switch
    Promoted GoogleApps to the students
    Create Pilot Groups
    We selected 300 volunteers to evaluate GoogleApps & Live@edu
    I stayed in contact with that group throughout the rollout period
    Pick students from across campuses/colleges/departments
    Limited-release beta testing
    The pilot group could send invitations to 5 other students
    Those students could send invitations to 3 more
  • 8. Implementation
    • Scope – Students and Affiliates only
    • 9. Project Initiated – October 2007
    • 10. Student testing began – November 2007
    • 11. Selection completed – December 2007
    • 12. Released to students – February 2008
    • 13. Legacy mail system shutdown – June 2008
  • 14. Identity Management
    GoogleApps was a major component in our IdM plan
    Web Single SignOn (Jasig CAS)
    Automated account provisioning
    Unified Acceptable Use policy
    Increased password strength requirements
    8 character minimum
    Regular-Expression tests
    Cracklib scoring
    Windows Password Complexity requirements
    6-month password expiration
  • 15. Account Provisioning
    Utilized the PHP client to work with our existing account management application
    Up & running in an afternoon
    Fully integrated with our account manager in a few days
    Lesson Learned
    Use the Java or Python client
    • PHP client is not updated often (at all?)
    • 16. Many new API features are not available in the PHP client
  • 17. On-Demand Account Creation
    The announcement was in the middle of a semester, so a single move wasn’t feasible
    An outage during the migration was unacceptable
    Users were able to move when they were ready
    A ‘cleanup’ after the semester ended moved all remaining accounts
  • 18. #E10_SESS128
  • 19. #E10_SESS128
  • 20. #E10_SESS128
  • 21. Password-Syncing
    All web-based access is done through SSO
    IMAP clients and mobile access use the password stored at Google
    We sync passwords - most schools don’t
    Most schools have students set their Google password separately
    Some enforce the separation and keep students from setting them to the same value
    Lots of discussion of this on the Internet2 IdM list
  • 22. Mail Migration
    Mail Migration was semi-automated:
    GoogleApps account created automatically
    Username added to the migration DB
    Daily process:
    Changed legacy IMAP password
    Created the migration CSV file
    Emailed CSV to the admin group
    Admin (usually me) logged into the GA admin page and started the migration process
  • 23. Promotion
    Student Government special event
    Multiple mass emails to all students
    Multiple articles in the Oracle
    New Student Orientation brochure
    Announcement in Blackboard Portal
    Lesson Learned
    Google has help with planning the rollout
  • 24. Results
    Where has 2+ years of GoogleApps taken us?
  • 25. Student Reaction
    Students love the new system
    70x storage increase
    Docs & Calendar have been widely utilized
    Several classes use Sites for assignments and portfolios
    Biggest complaints?
    Not USF-branded enough
    Missing features from ‘regular’ Google accounts
    Some faculty felt like “second-class citizens”
  • 26. Cost-Savings
    Outsourcing Email != fewer jobs
    The university gets more results from the same number of jobs
    Mail administration time has dropped from 2 FTE to .1 FTE
    Both mail admins have moved to Identity Management
    Most of the work involved with GoogleApps is now IdM-related
    Retired or repurposed 12 servers & 2 storage arrays
    HUGE savings over upgrading legacy system
    Hardware/software upgrades: $300,000/yr
    Additional Personnel requirements: $60,000/yr
  • 27. Help Desk
    We expected a major impact to the help desk, but the traffic level has stayed roughly the same
    Many more applications to cover, but students are more familiar with Google tools
    Help desk staff training is quicker & easier
    Lesson Learned
    Have regular Q&A sessions with Help Desk staff
    • Better answers for your customers
    • 28. Fewer support tickets for you
  • 29. Campus Integration
    Directory Synchronization
    LDAP -> GoogleApps
    Contact entries are created for all non-GA accounts
    Group Synchronization
    Slow for very large groups
    We don’t use them effectively yet
    Lesson Learned
    Find group applications BEFORE planning groups
    • Emergency notification
    • 30. College/department announcements
    • 31. Class-based access for docs or sites
  • 32. Staff & Faculty
    Exchange is still our ‘official’ mail system for faculty/staff
    Except in St. Petersburg
    Faculty/staff can opt-in and forward their mail to Google
    Exchange Integration has been a challenge
    Email is easy
    Calendars are harder
    Lesson Learned
    Having multiple Email environments is difficult
    • If there is any way to move everyone to GoogleApps at one time, go for it
  • 33. Where do we go from here?
    Google Calendar
    USF Calendar of Events
    Athletic practice & game schedules
    Class schedules
    Blackboard Integration
    Bboogle project (Calendar & Docs)
    Gtalk links & status display
  • 34. New Google Tools
    New GoogleApps Infrastructure
    GA accounts can be used with almost all Google tools
    Only for ‘early adopters’ right now
    Two-factor Authentication
    iPhone/Android app or text messages authenticate user in addition to their password
    Can’t be used with SSO logins yet
  • 35. Questions?
    Thank you for attending
    Eric Pierce