I haven’t posted a blog entry in some time. As a university, we schedule many technology maintenance projects for the May through August time frame when fewer students and faculty are on campus. On my plate this summer has been the deployment of Google Apps for Education to our incoming freshmen class, the continued roll-out of Notes 8.5 to our faculty and staff, and the upgrade of several servers to Domino 8.5.
The Google Apps for Education deployment has been an interesting experience needless to say. Google recommends a six week time period from start to finish. We were able to deploy two weeks early. Thanks go to some very able programming staff here who were able to integrate the Google API and Postini directory process with our current LDAP account create process. We continued to maintain student entries within the Domino Directory so that faculty/staff will be able to email students using Notes.
A important reminder for those who might be reading this – Google Apps for Education – is free to universities. FREE. And students, for the most part, LOVE Google. Or at least Google is that system with which they are most familiar (that is my theory regarding their apparent affection for Google). We have implemented single sign-on with the SAML API that works with our Central Authentication System or CAS-based system that we use for our portal and other web systems. It does have a draw back. If you use SAML, SAML does not provide password authentication to IMAP or POP. So users must use a separate non-synchronized password for IMAP or POP access. Google Apps for Premier customers also have access to Postini spam/antivirus reports for analyzing inbound traffic, etc. Education customers do not receive access to that feature set. Management of the Google account process is through APIs or the Postini directory synchronization product. We used Postini to get a large group of users imported, but are considering moving to the Google APIs for more granular control, as we are seeing many false positives with error reports in Postini. We have also had some issues with creating portlets that would work with our current portal (Oracle) and our future portal (Liferay) as there are limitations with the implementation of 2-legged OAuth vs. 3-legged OAuth. When Google Support was contacted to discuss this, we received a rather ambiguous response in terms of when the technical issues would be resolved. Of course this is type of response is not unlike other software vendors.
When Google moved from being a beta to non-beta product, we did not receive notification, nor did we receive a system-wide alert about the label architecture changes that took place globally (despite having set up notification options in our Google domain). With global web changes taking place on 10,000 web accounts, it was a bit disconcerting not to receive some warning.
On the Notes/Domino side of the house, our Notes 8.5 migration continues to roll forward with the primary issue being upgrading workstations that do not have more than 512 Mb of memory. We have seen overall that the Notes 8.5 standard client requires 1 Gb or more on Windows XP – hands down. From a user perspective, the users have required minimal training and continue to comment positively on features that they find useful.
I am preparing to upgrade our archive server to Domino 8.5 from Domino 7.0.3 over the next few weeks. I’m really looking forward to implementing DAOS on this server as it is currently a disk and backup resource hog. The disk footprint alone is 4 TB. I have not had an opportunity to run the DAOS estimator, but I’m sure I’ll see many GBs of disk savings, and will be sure to post our results. This server contains data going back to 1991 for some faculty!
I hope others are enjoying some lazier days this summer! Have fun!