New information adjusts university’s planned course on email, online storage
From: Division of Information Technology
Virginia Tech is announcing modifications to the service decision on Google Workspace in response to a statement from Microsoft on upcoming major changes to their licensing model for higher education institutions.
While costs to the university for Google storage are slated to increase beginning in July 2024, the costs of Microsoft’s storage will also be significantly higher beginning in July of 2025. “This new information from Microsoft changed the calculus of the best path forward for our collaboration platforms,” said Scott Midkiff, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Virginia Tech. “The era of ‘no-cost’ or ‘low-cost’ and ‘unlimited’ online storage appears to be coming to an end across all cloud-based software solutions.”
The impacts of these changes are summarized below:
Email and calendaring: The university will continue its plan to consolidate email and calendars in Microsoft 365 (M365) for students, employees, and university personnel retiring after June 1, 2023. The university will provide migration services for these users. Email accounts for retirees who completed their employment June 1, 2023, or earlier will remain on the Google platform. In a departure from the original decision, alumni email will remain in Google, and will also stay in the @vt.edu domain (not @alumni.vt.edu as previously planned). These accounts will be limited to 5 GB and will not include a calendar feature.
Online Storage: As planned, Google file storage will be limited for students, employees, and current retirees, and discontinued for alumni and new retirees. Microsoft file storage and online apps will be available for students, employees, and new retirees. However, limitations on online file storage in Microsoft will also be applied in 2024.
Departments and shared storage sites: Departments will receive additional allocations of storage on both the Google and the Microsoft platforms, based on the number of full-time employees they have, and will control the administration of these allocations. Departments will need to claim ownership of existing Google shared drives and Microsoft SharePoint and Teams sites, as well as to administer the creation of new shared storage sites. Departments will also have the option to purchase additional storage on both platforms in 10 TB increments.
To review complete information on these transitions, including storage limits, please visit the university's Google and Microsoft transition website.
Consolidating employee and student email and calendaring in M365, as previously announced, will provide stronger security for university, employee, and student data and facilitate improved collaboration between faculty and students.
It is important to bear in mind that email account migrations, as well as the implementation of the new Google storage limits will still take place on a staggered basis beginning in October 2023. This means that some members of the university community will see changes and storage limitations go into effect as early as this fall. All members of the university community need to take action to ensure that their important files are accounted for, whether they need to be kept in their current location or moved to a new location. Departments and groups should collaborate with their IT personnel to chart a path toward the immediate changes, as well as for the long-term support of file storage limitations and allocations, and the purchase of additional storage when necessary.
Note that some elements of the response to the Microsoft announcement are still being assessed. The Division of IT will continue to add information to the website and will be sharing further updates and guidance as the implementation of these changes progresses. If you have questions, first visit the Google and Microsoft service changes site. For additional assistance, contact 4Help IT Support at 540-231-4357 or 4help.vt.edu.