I started working tonight with a quick tweet:
OK, on to setting up Google Apps for our domain...can I finish a migration in a week? I'm not thinking so...
I've blogged before about Google Apps for Educational Domains and our move to use this service for email, calendaring, and collaboration. Most folks know that I'm a big fan of the GOOG, but I have to say that I simply haven't had time to prepare as much as I would like for this migration.
My goal was to have teachers walk out on their last day (June 29th this year) with login instructions and basic training on their new email service so they would have email access this summer. Since our contract with our current ISP (and email provider) ends this month, I was definitely heading into panic mode for the week.
I had already contacted Google and been through domain verification (a very simple online process proving that I have control of my district's domain) as well as the upgrade from a standard Google Apps account to an Educational account (unlimited users, no ads, discounted archiving, etc., assuming that their review verifies that you are, in fact, a non-profit educational institution).
Tonight, however, I actually sat down and started creating accounts and looking at the administration settings, migration tools, and DNS requirements to get everything running smoothly. Guess what? Google makes the migration remarkably painless. I was able to upload a list of staff from our SIS and almost 300 users accounts were automatically created.
Similarly, I was able to establish an IMAP connection to our existing mail server and all of my 10,000 mail messages are automagically moving themselves over to my new Google mail account. I'll have to jump through a few hoops, but I should be able to have all of the other users' accounts migrating themselves this week.
I've created user groups, shared contacts, set up user privileges, and otherwise have the system running in parallel to our existing mail services. While it's going to be a busy week, a few hours of work tonight went a very long ways towards meeting that goal of sending teachers home for the summer with login information and basic training materials.
I'll keep you posted, but I have to say that Google has assembled a set of tools that makes switching to Google Apps a really attractive prospect.