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GCN : September 2013
28 GCN SEPTEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM IT SEEMS SO SIMPLE. Offload desktop applications such as email to the cloud, and someone else will take on the drudgery of hardware main- tenance, software updates and security patching. For the price of a subscription fee, an IT manager can make those admin- istrative activities --- and their associated costs --- disappear, much to the happiness of upper management. Uptime becomes the responsibility of the cloud provider instead of the IT department. Users get access to the latest and greatest office productivity software: messaging, col- laboration and document sharing, among others. What could go wrong? But the move from the traditional desk- top set-up to the cloud variety isn't quite What could go wrong? Agencies that have made the leap share what they've learned. SECRETS OF MOVING DESKTOPS TO BY JOHN MOORE that easy. Getting to the flexibility, cost reduction and zero maintenance of the cloud requires careful planning, according to public-sector IT managers. A number of challenges can surface during the course of a migration. The task for the cloud adopter: identifying and addressing those pitfalls before they become problems. Larry Gilbert, chief information officer and vice president of Sacramento State University can attest to that. The scope of the school's migration to Microsoft Office 365, which the university aimed to have ready for its 29,000 students when the fall semester arrived, magnifies the impact of any particular issue. "Any project of this size has technical and logistical challenges," Gilbert said. "With that scale, any problem or contin- gency that occurs can cause significant 1. TESTING, TESTING. Avoiding problems during a transition "mean rounds and rounds of testing and development," said Sacramento State s Larry Gilbert. He also recommends picking the brains of others who have made the same move. 4tipsfora smoother transition 2. ADJUST ON THE GO. When EPA started moving 25,000 users to O ce 365, testing showed that moving everything would take 40 weeks. So they broke it into chucks, starting with moving users contacts along with 30 days worth of email and calendar entries over a weekend, then started planning the next phase.