Kentucky schools move to cloud

The Kentucky Department of Education has selected a cloud-based service to bring 21st century communications and collaboration tools to more than 700,000 students, faculty and staff statewide. With the move, the state expects to avoid $6.3 million in operational costs over four years.

Microsoft Live@edu is a no-cost suite of online services based on familiar Microsoft technologies. Students and educators can access information in the cloud virtually anytime, anywhere, through 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,” 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 technologies, such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, which powers Live@edu’s cloud-based e-mail.

“Historically, it would have required months and potentially years to migrate hundreds of thousands of people to a new solution,” said Chuck Austin, 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.”

The service integrates with existing school systems, including school portals, allowing people to access all content with one identity and a single sign-on.