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Yale Delays Move To Gmail 176

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-in-the-cloud dept.
Mortimer.CA writes "The Yale Daily News is reporting that the move to Gmail has been postponed. After further consultations with faculty and staff, the concerns raised 'fell into three main categories: problems with "cloud computing" (the transfer of information between virtual servers on the Internet), technological risks and downsides, and ideological issues.' In the latter category, 'Google was not willing to provide ITS with a list of countries to which the University's data could be sent [i.e., replicated], but only a list of about 15 countries to which the data would not be sent.'"
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Yale Delays Move To Gmail

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  • Re:Know what... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:20PM (#31692694)
    Why don't any of them mention privacy? Or is that what they are trivializing by calling them "ideological issues"? Why don't they just come out and say the word "privacy" and be done with it?

    I think they forget the notion that i.e. "stealing is wrong" can also be described as "ideological" but it's quite evidently more than some theory. It really is better for everyone when that "ideal" is recognized. Privacy is no different.
  • Re:RAID (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:25PM (#31692784)

    congratulations, that's officially the worst idea i've ever heard.

  • Good for them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:25PM (#31692786)

    I would delay the move for aesthetic and functional issues like:

    1: Why can't I simply move from composing an email to the many labels without being warned about losing my work? Yahoo figured this out and so should Gmail.

    2: The interface is still wanting big time. Heck this is 2010!

    3: Though Gmail's search is fast, filtering is still so basic. YahooMail's filter is good. Google can surely do better. When I search for an email from someone, I would like the opportunity to filter further "on the fly"...in real time...say by attachment type if any, subject and so on. Currently the filter functionality does not cut it!

    4: Sorting by sender, subject, time of arrival etc is non existent! This is on a service that prides itself on users never having to delete email! For those with tens of thousands of email, Gmail is mediocre!

  • Re:Know what... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flavio (12072) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:56PM (#31693282)

    It surprises me that you even discussed the option of having confidential documents stored on a system that makes little guarantees about security or privacy, and that by design distributes your data around the world.

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:57PM (#31693290)

    There is no fucking way there are google servers in 190 some odd countries.

    The cliche IT answer to "Where does your cloud store data?" is "Why do you want to know?" And it is with good reason.

    Are you trying to avoid embargoed countries? The list of places it will not be stored should be pretty good. Are you trying to avoid a specific country? Again, the list of places it will not be stored will reveal enough.

    If your customer (in this case, Yale would be Google's potential customer) wants data stored in a specific country, they gotta ask why instead of just caving. If you care WHERE your data is stored, then you don't really want Cloud storage. And I'm pretty sure Google would like to reserve the right to have servers in the Vatican if they got a sweet deal there.

    This is kind customers with non-functional requirements ("you should use SQL Server, I saw an ad in InformationWeek magazine that says it costs less in the long run!").

  • Re:Know what... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:07PM (#31693436)

    If there's one area GMail or any other cloud provider should not be used, it's law firms.

    Oh, you'd be surprised how many have already made the switch. My firm's a non-profit, so the costs alone, or lack thereof in GMail's case, are a huge incentive to make a switch. Couple licensing fees with sharp increases in demand for management of issues like retention policies that can vary with statutes of limitations, data loss, time-based archiving, and legal compliance and its easy to understand why a lot of firms are just giving up as the headaches just don't seem worth the effort.

    Personally, I'm leery of the, but it's hard to go your boss with a proposed budget of close to $100,000 for an internally managed system versus $0 (and some geek's time) to drop the problem on someone else.

    I bet all of those terrible horrible complexities make you wish that it were a common, non-exotic, well-understood item like e-mail for which a wide array of tools and talent are available. Oh wait, it IS just e-mail and many thousands of other businesses manage it just fine...

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:42PM (#31693840)

    I think the problem is that Google is trying to get in to a new kind of market and they aren't ready for it. They are used to providing free, no tech support kind of services. You access their site and do what you want, but if you can't figure it out, too bad, there's no number to call. Everything is very much a system where they internally decide what to provide, put it out there and see what people do with it.

    Fine for free web services, not fine for businesses. Businesses have specific needs for their enterprise applications and are going to expect them to be met, especially when there's money involved. That's going to necessitate having a support staff on hand to address that, and that the staff has the power to talk to the devs and so on if changes need to be made.

    Google is toying in a new market, but they really aren't ready for it.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:44PM (#31693854)
    It would be pathetic if Yale, one of the richest schools, can't spare some fund to maintain its own email system. Tuition there is, what, approaching 40k a year?
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:48PM (#31693900)

    It's not about hacks - it's about evil foreign governments physically seizing servers. Redundant or not, secure or not, try telling the Pentagon that your nuclear research is in the hands of evil foreign powers.

    Sure, they'll reply "Yeah, we know. Our is too! LOL!", but your ass is still going to the gulag.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:50PM (#31693932)

    Wait.. you do know how banks work, right?

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unix1 (1667411) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @05:21PM (#31694310)

    There is no fucking way there are google servers in 190 some odd countries.

    The cliche IT answer to "Where does your cloud store data?" is "Why do you want to know?" And it is with good reason.

    The answer is NOYB (none of your business) and it is with good reason. Even though Google provides the service, the data belongs to the customer, i.e. Yale. It is in Yale's discretion where they want to store their data and what reasons they are willing to give out to 3rd parties for doing so.

    However, I'll give you a good reason. If Google can guarantee that the data will be stored in certain countries (or even offer an option for an extra fee or whatever), then it will satisfy Yale's comfort level with respect to the privacy and legality of their data.

    For example, for argument's sake, if Google could guarantee the data would only stay in the U.S. Yale would be well aware of the legal process and rights with regard to their data. However, this may not be the case in other countries such as China, Iran, Italy, Indonesia, etc.. I bet there are plenty of Chinese students studying at Yale, and there are professors of Chinese descent who then would be exposed if the data is stored in China. If Chinese government gets access to their communication and determines it needs to put certain individuals on their watch list based on their views on free speech, human rights, government, etc. they will risk being detained and jailed next time they travel home to visit relatives or after they finish school. It is in Yale's interest to protect their faculty and students from such threats.

    And, from no reasonable perspective, does Yale have to come out and state to any 3rd party, including Google, that so and so is a member of their faculty and they have a concern that that person's communication is stored in such and such countries then they may have a problem. It's NOYB.

    On the other hand, why doesn't Google provide an additional service to their clients where they, the clients, get to pick the countries to which their data could potentially be replicated? It seems like a feature that their clients (companies, universities, governments, etc.) would very likely pay extra for; especially considering Google's own recent encounters with Chinese and Italian governments.

  • Re:Know what... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @06:16PM (#31694928) Journal

    No, because _you_ have done nothing inside USA jurisdiction.

    Country's jurisdiction is over anyone who ever passes through its borders. The fact that action itself takes place outside the borders doesn't matter here - if U.S. law says that something is a crime even when it doesn't happen on U.S. soil, then they can absolutely charge him, and should he ever happen to find himself in U.S. at that moment (or later) - arrest and sentence him.

  • Re:Know what... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tiger4 (840741) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @06:27PM (#31695050)

    OK, but he isn't a US citizen (Well doesn't indicate that he is). What are they going to do? Extradite him and charge him? If this was the case, why the hell haven't they done this to the rest of the world?

    Ask Manuel Noreiga. He was rather forcefully pulled out of Panama for crimes against the United States.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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