We are investigating email providers in the event we ever wish to consider moving from our own self-hosted and self-maintained Exchange Servers.
How many schools are using a MS Edu Live / Google Apps for Education setup? Have you liked it? Are there any other "cloud" 3rd party email services being used?
Thanks for any input. :)
I know I'm joining this conversation late, but I've just discovered TTEG. Perhaps my input will be helpful, nevertheless.
Westminster is now using Google Apps for all email/calendar services. On the whole, we are very happy with it.
We've been using it for our student body for about two years now, and it's worked well. I have two main complaints for student use: 1) Users can't reset passwords themselves, so we they're forced to contact us and have us do it for them. When we have the resources, we're going to develop a SSO service for students that will eliminate this problem. 2) Google's forwarding configuration is a little bit elaborate, and some of our students have missed out on our emails, falsely thinking that they'd completed setting up a forward to their personal addresses.
As for staff and faculty, we finished our transition last month. We've received a lot of positive feedback about it. Those who elected to use Outlook with the Google Sync plugin do require some special attention at times, because some features (e.g. out of office assistant, setting up an alternate "from" address, delegation, filters) require the user to log into Google Apps itself.
We haven't yet enabled Google Docs for our personnel. I'm concerned about having yet another document repository when it's already difficult to get our staff to organize their documents in a meaningful and unified place, but in all likelihood we will need to enable it soon: help often uses Google Docs, making those help files inaccessible to our users.
As with any software, Google Apps had some drawbacks that we had to work around. I won't list them all here, but if you are interested in the particulars, let me know.
We have been using Microsoft .edu Live for almost 3 years for students, alumni, faculty and staff with great success. We have several thousand users on the system. Our users connect through a wide range of devices and programs - iPhone, Andoird, Microsoft phones, Outlook, Entourage. We set up the programs to automate the interface of AD account info to the hosted email servers. We're saving tremendously on Exchange server support and maintenance costs and have experienced good reliability.
Ashland Theological Seminary uses Google. We like having access to Google Drive and all the integration that it provides. We have also been using the available Google+ accounts that come with using GMAIL to do Google Hangouts for video conferencing, streaming live events and using it for free lecture capture.
We just received our Chromebox for meetings last week. So far we love it.
We don't use the email, drive, or other components of Google apps, instead we opt for Zimbra. The decision was made because the Zimbra platform has a single unified interface (similar to MS outlook) and a relatively low cost. This means we are unable to take full advantage of the Google apps for education.
However, we've been using the Chromebox for ad-hoc video conferences and we've loved it. You could accomplish the same with any chromebox/chromebook and USB mic Camera, but the Chromebox for meetings makes the experience just a little easier for our average user.