UNG Email System Consolidation Whitepaper
October 23, 2012
To support the pending consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University, an Information Technology (IT) email work group reviewed existing systems at each institution and recommends creation of a unified email service using Microsoft Exchange for the University of North Georgia. The options suggested by the work group included:
Google Apps Gmail
Microsoft Exchange (3 implementation options)
- Local Exchange Servers
- Hybrid (Faculty/Staff local and Students in the cloud)
- Hosted Office 365 (100% cloud)
Microsoft Exchange is an enterprise-friendly, best-of-breed messaging solution with features that meet the requirements of large, complex organizations like the University of North Georgia. Exchange was recommended for its many enterprise messaging features and outstanding management capabilities that will be key contributors to the success of a large regional university.
“An internal research study from last year confirms Exchange’s market dominance in the large enterprise to the tune of 73 percent share.” — Microsoft
“InfoWorld has published its 2011 Technology of the Year Awards and Microsoft Exchange 2010 was selected as the Best Mail Server!”
“Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is best-in-class, and offers greater cost savings, granular administration, improved anywhere access, and built-in archiving and eDiscovery features” — Radicati.com Research
IT recommended a model involving an implementation split between Dahlonega and Gainesville because it takes advantage of Exchange’s multi-site administration capabilities that allow enterprises to centrally manage messaging environments that can span the globe and will allow maximum benefit to be realized from the Exchange 2010 redundancy and resiliency features.
“Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 introduced increased storage support, new high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) features, granular administration, built-in archiving and compliance capabilities, enhanced anywhere access, and improved unified messaging (UM).” – Radicati.com Research
In addition, the University System of Georgia has a fully-vetted contract in place enabling the use of Microsoft services with appropriate clauses protecting the university from eDiscovery failures or FERPA information exposure. From a business continuity and disaster recovery / IT best practice perspective, Office 365 or duplication of GSC’s Exchange environment are the best options. A “hybrid” configuration with students hosted in the cloud and a local exchange environment for faculty/staff is compelling and puts the university in control of where critical messaging information resides. Microsoft’s solution allows seamless transfer of mailboxes to the cloud and back again, should the need arise.
From a cost standpoint, all hardware, software and licenses are already in place to run Exchange locally for faculty and staff. Both Gainesville State and North Georgia subscribe to the Microsoft Campus Agreement that includes an Exchange license for each faculty member, staff member and student. As a result, implementation costs consist only of IT staff time and ongoing training and maintenance. Gainesville State IT staff has been successfully administering Exchange for more than 10 years, so internal knowledge transfer may limit the need for training. Ongoing costs of running Exchange are largely offset by discontinuing the Gmail archive service contract. This plan currently allows for continuation of support for Google Apps.
With the approval of the Executive Planning Team and university leadership, Information Technology is developing an enterprise-grade email solution built on Microsoft Exchange technology for the University of North Georgia consolidation.
Additional information related to the Microsoft messaging and cloud services, including comparisons with Google can be found at: http://whymicrosoft.com/.
Please address any questions to the following:
Chief Information Officer
Gainesville State College
Chief Information Officer (Interim)
North Georgia College & State University