Premier Southern California School District Moves to the Cloud
Implemented Microsoft Office 365 (O365) and Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for 95,000+ Faculty, Staff and Students
One of the largest premier school districts in Southern California was seeking a partner to assist in providing a full-service implementation of Microsoft Office 365 (O365) and Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for the entire faculty, staff and students, supporting over 80,000 students and 15,000 administrative and teaching positions. The goal of the project was to migrate messaging from their existing Novell GroupWise/Netware eDirectory environment to a fully cloud-managed O365 and Google-hosted model.
The School District requires a robust and standardized suite of communication, collaboration and office productivity tools for faculty, staff and students. They utilized Novell GroupWise for email, calendaring and very limited collaboration services. The environment comprised of approximately 100 sites, 25 GroupWise mail servers and 100 Netware file servers.
Aside from standardizing on Office 365 (O365) Exchange Online for messaging and OneDrive for Business (OD4B) for faculty documents, the school district wanted to provide teachers and students their own choice of collaboration tools from Microsoft Office 365 (O365) and Google Apps for Education (GAFE). The teachers and students have the flexibility to use either environment for document creation, classroom learning resources, collaboration sites and real-time communications
The primary focus of this project was to:
- Synchronize the identities from the Novell eDirectory environment to both Microsoft and Google cloud environments
- Implement Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Migrate existing mail, calendars and documents to Office 365
- Provide an infrastructure for managing Google Chromebooks
- Provide Admin and End-user training on Office 365
In order to achieve the school district’s goals, the Prosum team leveraged their skilled Project Management and Technical Architect teams to provide a multi-track approach, utilizing a dedicated Program Manager and multiple Architects to accomplish the goals.
The first phase consisted of:
- Discussing cloud platform features
- Identifying business and technical requirements
- Performing a readiness assessment of the existing infrastructure
- Developing a migration plan
- Executing the deployment against the plan
Prosum assembled a robust plan to migrate the school district’s faculty messaging resources of 37 post offices, 15,000 mailboxes, 165 email groups and 217 resources. The team also provisioned 80,000 new student email accounts in O365 Exchange Online to replace their non-GroupWise messaging environment. Every user mailbox was configured to utilize user specific address lists, message archiving, enterprise message retention for eDiscovery, and is protected by Microsoft anti-malware and anti-spam features. The data migration included moving approximately 9TB of documents from a remotely located site user home directories to OneDrive for Business. Third-party software was deployed to provide workstation drive letter mapping to the cloud storage and provide a familiar user experience.
The second phase comprised implementation. In order to adhere to the aggressive timeline, the project was split into multiple, focused tracks around Identity Management (IDM), OneDrive for Business, Messaging and Google Apps.
For the Identity Management track, Prosum leveraged their partnership with an established Identity Management solution to create a seamless password synchronization and account provisioning process between the source eDirectory environment and the destination cloud environments (Office 365 and Google Apps). The solution also provides Single Sign-On capabilities and can be further enhanced to provide automated account provisioning based the school district’s Student Information System and Human Resources system.
Within OneDrive for Business, Prosum was tasked with migrating 9TB of home directory data from their existing Netware servers to OneDrive for Business while retaining existing permissions. Prosum supplemented off-the-shelf migration software with custom developed PowerShell scripts and the Azure platform to accomplish the successful migration of data in an incredibly short amount of time.
One of the most significant tracks was Messaging where Prosum needed to migrate the district’s thousands of mailboxes and archives to O365 and provide a seamless, single cutover to Office 365 for the entire District. This required careful coordination, training and communication between our teams to ensure we successfully migrated them on time and on budget. By leveraging our partnership with Netmail, we were able to successfully migrate all GroupWise mailboxes by selecting and distributing high-priority personal archives to the cloud while also providing the district a messaging cutover on time and with minimal issues.
Post-migration, the School District can now realize the following benefits:
- Reduced on-premise infrastructure through the decommissioning of the legacy GroupWise and message hygiene systems, resulting in dramatic cost savings in messaging, operating system and software licensing, physical hardware warranties, environmental power and cooling, and technical maintenance. The school district’s lean technology department can now focus on helping faculty utilize services rather than spending valuable resources on hardware/software maintenance and support.
- Faculty and students benefit from a modern, secure, and unified messaging platform that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, at any time. With the rapid evolution of cloud services, faculty and staff are introduced to the latest productivity tools as they are released instead of waiting for the traditional upgrade cycles of the past.
- Faculty and students have access to documents and classroom materials in the cloud from anywhere they connect to the Internet, resulting in more opportunities for learning, collaboration and content creation. Unbound from the traditional infrastructure design, planning, deployment and maintenance tasks for premise environments, the district has rapidly adopted cloud solutions such as real-time communications, instructional video streaming, enterprise social networking and web applications.
- Consistent identities across both Microsoft and Google platforms help reduce “shadow IT” by providing supported access to the two largest cloud services and allow the technology department to focus on the expanding needs of the school district in a “cloud first” workplace.