The Kentucky Department of Education is replacing its e-mail servers with a free cloud-based offering from Microsoft, one that will supply 700,000 students, faculty and staff with e-mail and other information-sharing tools.
By going with a free, cloud-based offering, the state expects to save US$6.3 million in IT-related costs over the next four years.
Each user of Microsoft's Live@edu will get a 10GB e-mail inbox, along with 25 gigabytes of additional file storage. The service will also include document sharing, instant messaging, video chat and mobile e-mail capabilities.
Previously, the state had deployed about 180 distributed Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on-premise servers to handle educational e-mail duties. The migration for the first 500,000 users took about a weekend.
"Historically, it would have required months and potentially years to migrate hundreds of thousands of people to a new solution," said Chuck Austin, who works in the state education department's Office of Education Technology, in a statement.
More than 10,000 schools across 130 countries use the Live@edu service, according to Microsoft.