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Los Angeles will test a migration to Google with 30,000 employees

Google has received a boost of support after the Los Angeles City Council approved a deal in which 30,000 city employees will begin to use Gmail and other Google tools

"The City of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, made a world-class decision today to support a state-of-the-art e-mail system," L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas said regarding the decision.

Prior to the final vote, some council members said the deal wouldn't make fiscal sense since the city likely wouldn't receive any significant cost savings by switching to Google.  Furthermore, L.A. will become the first major metropolitan area to switch over employees to Gmail, which has some council members concerned regarding the site's stability.

"It's unclear if this is cutting edge, or the edge of a cliff and we're about to step off," L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz noted to the L.A. Times.

Google and the city included a clause that says if there is a significant data breach in which city employee information was stolen or viewed, Google would pay compensation.

Depending on the stability of Google's servers, and the city's overall satisfaction with the service, it's possible other cities will try and work Gmail and Google's other cloud-based services into their IT infrastructure.

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By StraightCashHomey on 10/28/2009 8:26:54 AM , Rating: 5
Is there some enterprise version of Gmail that I don't know about?

Seems like you'd want Exchange or something enterprise-grade for an employee base of this size. There's no managability with Gmail compared to all of the stuff you can do with Exchange.

RE: Gmail?
By amanojaku on 10/28/2009 8:35:08 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, I believe it's Google Apps.

RE: Gmail?
By StraightCashHomey on 10/28/2009 8:39:40 AM , Rating: 2
Not bad.

RE: Gmail?
By Souka on 10/28/2009 11:13:03 AM , Rating: 5
So, if I understand right, no servers on site? no data mirror?

Won't that be a ton of bandwidth. I mean, every click loads data over the internet. How about when someone sends a 20mb+ attachment to 5000 people. Each of them will download it through their ouside data connection which I"m sure is fairly expensive compared to in house 100/1000mbps service (LAN).

RE: Gmail?
By JuPO5b4REqAYbSPUlMcP on 10/28/2009 12:03:55 PM , Rating: 1
When one person sends a 20MB attachment, the file is created once, and all the other users have a pointer to it.

Los Angeles likely has Fiber 1Gb to the net, so any data transfer would be equivalent to inside their own LAN. (Well, I work for a small company and we have fiber and that is how it would work for us.)

RE: Gmail?
By Gzus666 on 10/28/2009 7:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
What provider is giving anyone 1Gb over fiber WAN links? Are you confusing port speed capability with actual provided speed? I hate when people pull crap out of nowhere.

RE: Gmail?
RE: Gmail?
By Gzus666 on 10/28/2009 9:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
Let me rephrase, what company is actually buying this? I have yet to see anyone use over a DS3 in most companies let alone a city that is half broke. The cost of these links is quite prohibitive to anyone but major corporations.

RE: Gmail?
By Gzus666 on 10/28/2009 9:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
Take that back, I have recently seen someone with a OC-3 MPLS circuit, but an OC-24 or more is pretty much non-existent in anything but top corporations.

RE: Gmail?
By jonmcc33 on 10/29/2009 8:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
Is that AD integrated like Exchange is?

RE: Gmail?
By cochy on 10/28/2009 8:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
They were on Novell GroupWise prior to this as far as I know. I'm sure Google could support Enterprise needs minus the fact that it's cloud-based storage.

RE: Gmail?
By bhieb on 10/28/2009 9:18:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well when your entire state is on the verge of bankruptcy, and cannot even afford to pay for tax refunds, anything that saves money is good I guess.

RE: Gmail?
By weskurtz0081 on 10/28/2009 9:42:05 AM , Rating: 4
I think they said it wouldn't save them any money.

RE: Gmail?
By StraightCashHomey on 10/28/2009 9:42:34 AM , Rating: 3
Prior to the final vote, some council members said the deal wouldn't make fiscal sense since the city likely wouldn't receive any significant cost savings by switching to Google.

It doesn't sound like this saves any money, although who knows if those council members' opinions are accurate.

Microsoft offers online services for $15 per month per user. This includes SharePoint, Exchange, and Office Communicator 2007. I'm not sure why they wouldn't look into that instead?

RE: Gmail?
By StraightCashHomey on 10/28/2009 9:43:37 AM , Rating: 4
Nevermind, I guess it helps when I read ;-)

Google's services are $50 per year, not per month.

RE: Gmail?
By Zandros on 10/28/2009 9:27:24 AM , Rating: 3
The university I'm attending switched the e-mail system over to Google's mail solutions two years ago. We're not quite as many people as the LA city administration, but not far from it. It works well from a user standpoint; it's more convenient and snappy than the Exchange web-based solutions I've had experience with, admittedly half a decade ago.

RE: Gmail?
By mcnabney on 10/28/2009 9:33:32 AM , Rating: 2
I occasionally use an Exchange webmail portal and it has improved in the past couple years. Not as snappy as the G, but better. It seems that if it wasn't for Apple and Google, Microsoft would be completely unmotivated.

RE: Gmail?
By FITCamaro on 10/28/2009 10:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
Yes you can host your own gmail server to use for your enterprise.

RE: Gmail?
By VooDooAddict on 10/28/2009 10:24:02 AM , Rating: 1
As another said it's called Google Apps.

I've used it for a number of small businesses. Essentially it's:

- Gmail using your own domain, with centralized user management.
- Google Calendar with some lightweight but usable group meeting tools.
- Google Document sharing enhanced for your organization.

For many small places it is cheaper than outside hosted exchange services, maintaining an internal exchange server, and a big step-up from what most ISPs provide with POP/IMAP email accounts.

A webmail system is also pretty familiar to many small business users that have never used exchange/outlook.

RE: Gmail?
By Taft12 on 10/28/2009 10:28:28 AM , Rating: 3
Exchange licensing, hardware costs, technical staff for 30,000 users is significantly more than $7.25M. As long as the service is good and data is secure (and penalties for breaking SLA's are harsh) this is a wise fiscal move.

Also, I'd like to call out Michael Barkoviak for calling this Gmail. The linked article never uses that name and what LA has purchased is not the same as Google's free email service (clearly it's confused the OP StraightCashHomey here and in other comments he made in this thread)

"world class decision" lol
By Visual on 10/28/2009 8:26:28 AM , Rating: 2
what kind of a phrase is that at all?

and i could see them switching to google docs to save on office software costs, to have certralized document storage etc... but gmail?

there's no way to create their employee accounts automatically or to administer them, no way to make them recognizable as belonging to the city administration, no way to keep a common address book for use within the administration, no way, no way, no way...

it is pretty much like just saying "bring your own random email account", there doesn't even seem to be a valid reason to require it to be gmail.

quite absurd.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By amanojaku on 10/28/2009 8:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, the city is paying Google $7.25M USD for this. That implies this isn't the typical Gmail service, possibly including all those "advanced" features. How else do you explain the high cost of a normally free service? Anyway, the source article points out the contract is being amended to include typical SLA features like data protection, security, etc...

I still think this is a bad idea, however.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By Zoomer on 10/28/2009 7:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Please see google apps for your domain. It's not just a normal google account.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By sparks on 10/28/2009 8:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
To me 7.25 Million per year for 30,000 accounts has zero cost savings. I run an Exchange email system and I can tell you if you gave me 7 million a year, there would be ZERO complaints from my user base. (BTW my Exchange system has over 150,000 mailboxes)

RE: "world class decision" lol
By erple2 on 10/30/2009 5:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
True, that's possible. Now add all 150,000 people using other business applications like office and the like. Now, factor in the cost of server space to house the documentation base (which is admittedly not that much). Oh, plus the power required and cooling to host that internally. And the facilities to house that. Plus the overhead to manage those facilities.

I think that the cost is surprisingly cheap.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By nafhan on 10/28/2009 9:50:43 AM , Rating: 2
They're using Google Apps. They will all have "" (along those lines) email addresses. There are quite a few universities and corporations already using Google's mail service and quite happy with it. I'm fairly certain that the only notable thing about this announcement is that it's a government organization switching to gmail.
I work for a corporation with almost as many employees and we've probably had more down time with Exchange than Google has had with Gmail this year. The difference is that more people are affected when Gmail goes down.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By damianrobertjones on 10/28/2009 10:57:07 AM , Rating: 3
Exchange downtime here:
2009 - None
2008 - 4 days. BT cut a cable. Thanks for that
2007 - 2 Days
2006 - None

If it's done right, it's done well.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By nafhan on 10/28/2009 3:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
If it's done right
This can be a big issue in some places, and potentially a reason to go with Gmail over Exchange. My point wasn't that Exchange is bad, but that Gmail is a realistic alternative.
Congrats on the uptime, I'm sure your customer is pleased.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By Patrese on 10/28/2009 11:05:02 AM , Rating: 2
That's it. I work for the Belo Horizonte city office (, it's one of Brazil's biggest cities. Our e-mail is GMail based for nearly a year, and it works great. Our addresses are the same as before, with the "" ending and all. No data leaks or problems as far as I know, and the system is rock solid and way faster than the old one.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By HrilL on 10/28/2009 1:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
We use gmail for work. In google apps. Its free for a less feature filled version. But it does most of our needs at this point and as a start up we don't want to spend a lot of money on infrastructure in house. We still have so its pretty much the same as if we were hosting it.

RE: "world class decision" lol
By Adul on 10/28/2009 3:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
yes there is look at google apps and set it up if you have your own domain. I have done several on my own domains as well as for business. You have plenty of control over it, contact lists, groups, chat, docs, etc

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?
By straycat74 on 10/28/2009 8:33:54 AM , Rating: 3
One step closer to TAKING OVER THE WORLD!!
I bet sitting high atop Mt. Google is a tiny white mouse with a huge melon.

By acase on 10/28/2009 9:36:48 AM , Rating: 2

By CityZen on 10/28/2009 2:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
I think so, Brain, but where are we going to find rubber pants our size?

City of Los Angeles Employee
By btc909 on 10/28/2009 12:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I'm a City of LA Employee, we all have Gmail accounts now, my e-mail looks offical enough. I copy pasted the city logo into the signature. Please mail payment to Nigeria.

Hell the City of LA Is going to remind me of Craigslist.

By itbj2 on 10/28/2009 5:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
Google is quickly becoming a Monopoly. They will grow very big giving things away for free or close to free which all is supported by search. Eventually they will stiffen innovation just as MS did in the 1990s.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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