RMIT goes Google, says no to Microsoft's Cloud

Project part of five year ICT plan, Cloud-first sourcing approach

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has moved its 74,000 students to Google as part of a long-term Cloud computing strategy.

After deciding to migrate student and staff email accounts to a hosted solution earlier this year, RMIT’s executive director of IT services, Brian Clark, said the choice to go Google was easy to make, ruling out Microsoft’s Cloud offering.

“We ran a tender process and looked at both Microsoft and Google,” Clark told Computerworld Australia.

“We were pretty clear that we wanted a Cloud solution, and realistically when you look at the education sector, those are the two main providers, so we ran the process between them.”

Most students here and overseas now have access to Gmail accounts with 25GB of storage, as well as Google Apps for Education tools; staff are set to receive access between December and January next year.

Clark said moving to Google is part of a larger Cloud plan, with its Blackboard system currently hosted in the Cloud, and plans to move RMIT’s CRM already in the works.

“We’re developing our strategy now and one of the key elements of this is Cloud-first sourcing,” he said. “If there’s a vendor that meets our requirements for data security and privacy, the Cloud is definitely our primary option.”

Clark, who began working at RMIT six months ago, said the project is part of a larger ICT plan for the university.

“I was very fortunate that when I started in January we were at the beginning of a five year planning cycle, and we were able to work on the ICT plan for 2015,” he said.

“That’s enabled us to set the priorities for ICT at the University for the next five years, and that’s coming off the back of the university wide plan.”

As well as increasing the pace of technology delivery, the ICT plan is set to deliver on multiple initiatives.

“We have identified 75 initiatives over the next five years that we have to implement,” Clark said. “We’re working on a Windows 7 upgrade, piloting virtual desktops, and we want to make apps available in a virtual environment through students’ personal computers.

A number of Australian universities have made the move to Google Apps, with Macquarie University being the first back in 2007.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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Tags cloud computingMicrosoftGoogleGoogle AppsGmailRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

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