One of the pieces of good news for Pittsburgh is the amount of money it will save. By migrating its email to Google's cloud, Stern said the city will see its licensing costs drop from $200,000 a year to $160,000.
The city will also save money on personnel costs. Stern pointed out that the two administrators who manage the Exchange system will see their email duties cut by 60% , freeing them up to spend more time on other IT tasks.
"Overall savings, between staffing and real dollar figures, we'll save well over $100,000 a year," said Pittsburgh's CIO. He was quick to add that the decision was not all about money. It was also about security, added versatility and efficiency.
For instance, the city limits the amount of storage space users have for their email to between 50MB and 100MB for the average user. In the cloud, each user will have 25GB of storage capacity.
Stern said he got advice from officials in other state and local governments who have recently switched to Google Apps. He contacted administrators for the cities of Orlando and Des Moines and the state of Wyoming to learn about their migrations and day-to-day experiences.
"They felt comfortable and safe, and at the end of the day, we feel comfortable and safe," Stern said. "This information must be protected. We had to feel really comfortable about this. I hold all this data, all these emails. And by giving it to someone else, I lose control. I feel comfortable with the way it's being secured."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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