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   Date: 12/13/11 Bookmark and Share

Smith Announces Move to More Reliable Email System

The Smith Technology Steering Committee voted this week to change the college’s email and personal calendaring system to a new platform, a move that will reduce costs and save energy for the college, and improve reliability and features for users.

The decision came after the committee received positive feedback about the proposal from faculty, staff and students in recent weeks, and it was approved by President Christ.

Beginning in January, Smith’s current system, Novell Groupwise, will be replaced by the Google Apps for Education platform. Members of the Smith community will retain current email addresses and receive instructions as to how to make the change.

Unlike the current complex email system, which relies on computer servers locally managed by Smith, and is therefore susceptible to a variety of issues such as the recent power outages, the new system will be hosted and managed by Google in multiple data centers.

Even in an extended power outage, the college’s email system will continue to operate, facilitating communication among all members of the local and extended Smith community, said David Gregory, chief information officer, Information Technology Services (ITS), who is overseeing the change in platforms.

Faculty, staff and students will be able to access email from any modern computer with Internet access anywhere in the world, he noted.

The transition to Google Apps for Education is slated to begin in January, first with students, then staff and faculty. The goal is to switch everyone to the new platform by April 2012, said Gregory.

The changeover will occur department by department, with ITS copying all the messages, appointments and contacts stored in the GroupWise system to the new environment. As is currently the case with Novell Groupwise, members of the Smith community should continue to pose all questions about email and the personal calendar to the ITS User Support Center.

Numerous higher education institutions, including Colgate University, Hamilton College, Oberlin College, and the University of Michigan, use Google Apps for Education, noted Gregory.

Read more details about the switch to Google Apps for Education.

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