Campus / News / January 16, 2013

Knox College, you’ve got Gmail

The long-awaited switchover of campus email from Zimbra to Google Apps has nearly arrived.

On Monday, Jan. 21, the new email accounts will go active and Knox students will bid farewell to Zimbra. At 8 a.m. that day, all email sent to students’ Knox accounts will begin going to Gmail.

Vice President and Chief Information Officer Steve Hall and Senior Programmer James C. Stevens, who are overseeing the transition, are both happy with how the process is going and excited about the new features on Google Apps.

The ability to save and edit documents from multiple computers or mobile devices with Google Docs and 25 gigabytes of email storage are among the new advantages that Google Apps will provide. Additionally, the school will save the $20,000 it currently spends annually to pay for Zimbra.

A live webinar was recently held to allow students to ask questions as they were guided through the transition. Around 50 students participated.

“Generally, people were excited,” Stevens said.

Other students later watched a recorded version on the webpage. The video is still available for those interested.

Though the initial target for the switchover was to have it done before the start of winter term, the temporary closing of the college for a week during December led Hall to push it back.

Earlier concerns about the security of students’ data have been alleviated, as many larger schools have now already use Google Apps and have not reported any major problems.
“We’re far from an early adopter at this point,” Hall said. “[Still], there are going to be problems,” he added.

One such problem will be delays in the process of migrating email from students’ Zimbra inboxes to their new Gmail ones. Though dependent on inbox size and on how many students are attempting to migrate at any one time, the process will likely take several hours. Bottlenecks, if too many students attempt to migrate at once, are certainly a possibility.

A third-party provider, NeoNova, is handling the migration. Students will receive instructions when logging into their new accounts on the exact procedure to migrate.

Tags:  email gmail google apps zimbra

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Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

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Jan 21, 2013

I’m glad this got done. Way to go Siwash!

Jan 21, 2013

I wish we did not have to switch. I liked Zimbra’s simplicity and will miss not having little banner ads like there are now due to the service being free. However, I do appreciate not having personalized ads.

Jan 25, 2013

I liked Zimbra better too. I actually did not migrate my mail to Google and set it to forward to another address through Zoho Mail (which is free, adless, and very similar to Zimbra). The downsides are, you have to export/import all your old mail manually, which is a hassle, and you have to manually add Knox addresses to your address book; they do not come up automatically. You can set it to send from your address, however.

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