The Kentucky Department of Education has selected Microsoft (News
) Live@edu to bring a cloud-based service to more than 700,000 students, faculty and staff statewide.
The service has already been rolled out to more than half a million people in one of the largest cloud deployments and fastest migrations of all time.
The state says it expects to save $6.3 million in operational costs over four years by moving to the cloud with Live@edu.
is a no-cost suite of online services, based on the Microsoft technology. Users can access information in the cloud through popular Web browsers and from any Internet-connected PC or mobile phone.
"With Live@edu, all school districts in Kentucky have access to the same powerful Microsoft applications and Web 2.0 technologies. That means we can close the technology gap between rich and poor districts and level the playing field for students regardless of where they live," said Dr. Terry Holliday, commissioner of education for Kentucky. "Because they are 'in the cloud,' Kentucky schools will always stay up-to-date with the latest innovations. And the features are far greater than anything we could have afforded to offer to every school in Kentucky."
The commonwealth moved more than half a million people from approximately 180 distributed Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on-premise servers to Live@edu during a single weekend. The quick migration helped minimize disruption and speed access to new technology.
"Historically, it would have required months and potentially years to migrate hundreds of thousands of people to a new solution," said Chuck Austin of the Office of Education Technology for the Kentucky Department of Education. "With Microsoft's cloud technology and a collaborative focus between Microsoft and the Kentucky Department of Education on the planning aspects, we were able to dramatically reduce the implementation cycle and migrate everyone in a single weekend."
"Kentucky is getting a world-class communications and collaboration infrastructure that is dependable and highly secure," said Sig Behrens, general manager for U.S. Education at Microsoft. "With single sign-on, Live@edu integrates with existing school systems, including school portals, allowing people to access all content with one identity that makes it easier to accomplish their work. More important, Live@edu will help transform the learning environment by extending education opportunities beyond the traditional classroom walls and help students master the technology they will use in their future careers."
Live@edu is a no-cost hosted platform providing services to the global education market. E-mail and calendars with a 10GB inbox, 25 GB of additional file storage, document sharing, instant messaging, video chat and mobile e-mail are some of the features.
More than 10,000 schools in more than 130 countries have enrolled in Live@edu, representing 11 million people worldwide.
In a related matter, initially announced last November, Windows MultiPoint Server 2010
hit the market earlier this year for schools and other educational institutions to deploy in classrooms, labs, and libraries. Based on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows MultiServer allows multiple students to access a single host PC through their own individual workstations.
Ed Silverstein is a contributing editor for TMCnet's InfoTech Spotlight. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison