“Google Apps has reduced the administrative strain on IT resources allowing us to focus on key objectives.”

Ed Mahon, Vice President for Information Services & CIO, Kent State University

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SADA Systems Migrates Over 120,000 Kent State University Students and Staff to Google Apps

Customer

Kent State University's eight-campus system, one of the largest regional systems in the country, serves both the development of a true living/learning approach at the Kent Campus and regional needs on seven other campuses throughout Northeast Ohio. Kent State is ranked among the nation's 77 public research universities demonstrating high-research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Challenges

With over 120,000 users, Kent State's migration to Google Apps presented a rare challenge in terms of scale, as the university wished to give each user the ability to migrate existing contact and email data from Kent State's legacy platform to Google Apps. Provisioning 120,000 Google Apps users wouldn't be difficult, but migrating their data in a batch process would be inefficient, and problematic. Kent State University requested SADA's assistance with the following:

  • Development of a self-service, on-demand mechanism where users can opt-in to migrate their existing email and contacts to Google Apps.
  • Consulting on Google Apps deployment best practices, go-live checklists, as well as overall oversight around project success.

Solution

SADA worked with Kent State to develop a strategy that addressed the needs of their students, faculty, and staff, as well as the stringent requirements of their IT department. These included:

  • Development of a secure, custom self-service solution that allowed users to migrate their existing email from the University's legacy email platform to Google Apps. In order to accommodate a significant number of users who could simultaneously use the self-service migration tool, SADA worked with Kent State to build a system to handle multiple simultaneous connections (up to 500), residing on a load-balanced and clustered, LAMP-based and virtualized infrastructure.
  • Overall project management and consulting services, and guidance/assistance for Kent State University and their other vendors about Google Apps deployment best-practices.
  • Continual maintenance and support for the self-service migration solution following deployment.

Result

With SADA's assistance and the development of a custom platform, Kent State University was able to smoothly and effectively implement Google Apps allowing them to gradually transition away from their legacy email platform. Improvements to efficiency while streamlining administration have made big improvements to productivity, and freed up the university's own IT department to focus on mission-critical and value-oriented projects.

"Kent State's priority was to make sure our users had the option move their own e-mail and contacts to their new Google account themselves. SADA's extensive experience in the educational space made them the go-to partner for our unique situation," says Ed Mahon, Vice President for Information Services and CIO for Kent State University, "SADA was able to develop an effective opt-in solution which allowed users to simply check a box to automatically migrate their old e-mails and contacts to their new Google Apps accounts."

"The Google Apps migration and deployment process was extremely successful," Mahon continues, "With over 120,000 users migrated, Google Apps has reduced the administrative strain on IT resources allowing us to focus on key objectives. SADA was extremely responsive during the entire implementation process and provided exceptional technical support to ensure a smooth and seamless deployment."

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