Google Apps vs Live@Edu – initial impressions

September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

As I said earlier, one of my major projects this year will be comparing Google Apps for Education and Live@Edu to see if either will work as a solution for our district.  I’ve started the process of getting both set up so that our department can test them side by side and decide if one, both, or neither, should be pursued as a beta with teachers, and ultimately, students.

I have a contact inside Microsoft – someone I went to high school with, who has gotten me in touch with some of the folks inside Live@Edu.  My own contact actually handles portions of the email systems within Live@Edu.

For Google, I don’t really have any insider info, but I’ve sat through a couple of webinars and have gathered a lot of info from the people I follow on Twitter.

We are not looking to replace our email system right away. Rather, our focus is more on finding a replacement, or at the very least, a supplement to our current in-house storage.

We give our teachers 10 gigs of space on our server, and 500 megs of space in their email inbox. Students don’t currently have email accounts through the district, and I honestly don’t know how much storage space we give them with their network accounts.

In comparing the core of each program, side by side, a couple of things stuck out to me.

It appears that Live@Edu is based more around the email side of things, and less around the online apps, yet their storage limits are much greater than Google Apps.  Live@Edu give everyone 10 gigs of email space and 25 gigs of online storage, while Google gives just over 7 gigs of email space, but only 1 gig of online storage.

So at first glance, it appears that Live@Edu would be a better choice for us, simply because of the storage limits. We don’t want to go backward as far as the space we’re giving teachers, but we could run either of these as a supplement to our in house storage, rather than a complete replacement.

I also started the process today of setting up both so that we could test them out, and the setup process is very different for both.  The Google Apps setup is actually pretty simple – you put a file on your web server, or add a CNAME record to DNS. We’re actually doing both because I’m not sure the html file will work because our website will not work without a www and the URL showing for Google has it without.

The enrollment process for Live@Edu appears to be much more difficult, and it actually scares me a little because it looks like it is completely based around changing where you email is delivered to.  We’re going to set up a testing subdomain to do this, but the directions for setting it up are at least half a page with several links to many other sites with descriptions and instructions.  I’m going to tackle that tomorrow after we get our subdomain set up.

So, to reiterate, my initial impressions – better storage space with Live@Edu, easier setup with Google Apps.

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