Google and Microsoft Service Changes at Virginia Tech
Information about upcoming changes to Microsoft and Google storage and services, email, and calendaring at Virginia Tech.
Upcoming changes to storage, email, and calendar services
The era of 'low-cost' or 'no-cost' online file storage is ending. Both Google and Microsoft are making significant changes to their online storage cost models for higher education institutions, including Virginia Tech.
As a result, the university is making changes to its Google and Microsoft services. The elements of the new service plan are outlined within this page.
While these changes are going to present challenges for all of us, the Virginia Tech community must take steps to find the right balance between needed file storage and acceptable costs.
Upcoming changes for each user group are outlined below. Please see the timeline of changes for important dates.
- Access to the Google Photos app at Virginia Tech will end. All users need to export photos they want to keep, and then delete all contents from the Photos app before Jan. 16, 2024.
Refer to the Google Photos export guide for more details.
- Alumni email service will remain on Gmail.
- Alumni will receive email service only, with 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage space within the Gmail app.
- Email addresses will not change (you will keep your "@vt.edu"' address).
- All other Google services will be discontinued.
Refer to the alumni information page for more details.
- Email: All employees will move to Exchange Online for email and calendars. Virginia Tech will migrate data between Nov. 2023 and April 2024.
- Google Workspace storage: allocations will be set by each employee's department, and implemented beginning March 15, 2024. Employees will receive a minimum of 5 GB Google storage.
- Shared Drive storage will be managed by departments. New Google Shared Drives can be created by request.
- Employees will retain Microsoft 365 services and most Google Workspace apps, including Docs, Sheets, Forms, Sites, etc., as well as Google Groups.
- Microsoft storage: coming in 2025, employees will recieve up to 25 GB baseline storage in Microsoft 365 (date of these changes to be determined). Storage allocations will be managed by departments.
Refer to the employee information page for more details.
- Departments will manage employee storage allocations in the Google and Microsoft environments.
- In addition to baseline storage allocations for each employee, departments will receive additional storage allotments in both Google and Microsoft, which may be used to support shared storage or to increase individual employee storage.
- Departments can purchase additional storage on both platforms in 10 TB increments. Storage subscriptions renew on a yearly basis.
- Departments control the creation of Google Shared Drives. In the future, the same restriction will apply to Microsoft SharePoint and Teams sites.
Refer to the department information page for more details.
- Email: All students will move to Exchange Online for email and calendar services. Virginia Tech will migrate email/calendar account data over winter break (Dec. 2023 - Jan. 2024).
- Google Workspace: students will be limited to 5 GB Google storage beginning Jan. 16, 2024.
- Shared Drives: students may not create new Google Shared Drives. Existing Shared Drives will require departmental sponsorship to remain active.
- Microsoft 365: students will receive access to Microsoft 365 Online services. Coming in 2025, storage will be limited to 10 GB.
Refer to the student information page for more details.
- Retiree services differ based on the date of retirement:
- Retired on or before June 1, 2023: will receive Google email (Gmail) and calendar and Google Workspace (My Drive), with 10 GB storage.
- Retired June 2, 2023 or later: will receive Exchange Online email and calendar and Microsoft 365 services, with 10 GB storage.
Refer to the retiree information page for more details.
All users must empty the Photos app on their VT Google accounts. After Jan. 16, 2024, users will not be able to access the app to delete data. All users need to:
- Stop adding new photos to the app (and disable automatic backups to your VT Google Workspace account on your phone, if applicable)
- Export/download copies of the photos they want to keep
- Go back and delete the contents of the app
- See the Google Photos export guide for more information
Also, be aware of the timeline for Google storage changes and email migrations. A timeline for Microsoft storage changes will be shared in 2024.
Finally, review upcoming changes for your user group. We have created guides for each user group with specific changes and tips on how to prepare. Please review the guide that applies to you:
Note: if you belong to more than one user group, please review this knowledge base article, which outlines these cases.
Students and employees also have free access to training videos for Google and Microsoft through Virginia Tech's LinkedIn Learning library.
Managing storage costs under new licensing models
We already pay significant base costs for these collaboration platforms, and continuing to allow unfettered accumulation of files will result in exhorbitant additional costs every year. While both collaboration platforms have become a critical part of the university's IT infrastructure, and enable the achievement of Virginia Tech's mission, they also need to be managed in a fiscally responsible fashion, especially now that our costs will be increasing so significantly.
Consolidating employees, students, and new retirees' email on the Microsoft Exchange Online platform will provide significant security benefits.
Improved user experience
Consolidating email for employees and students under a single email and calendar platform also will provide a unified user experience and simplify scheduling of meetings and events.
However, given the cost structure recently announced by Microsoft, we have reconsidered the move to Exchange Online for alumni. Maintaining alumni email accounts in Google, and allowing alumni to keep their @vt.edu email addresses, will simplify the work that alumni need to do to pare down their email accounts and migrate files out of Google storage.
Meeting the university's needs in a changing digital landscape
Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we are providing the right balance of services to meet the needs of the Virginia Tech community. These decisions were not made lightly, and we recognize that they will create some challenges and adjustment. We are committed to answering questions and supporting everyone through these changes.
For answers to common questions regarding these changes, please see our frequently asked questions.
In 2021, Google announced an end to its long-standing policy of offering no-cost, unlimited storage to higher education institutions, including Virginia Tech. Google will begin enforcing a storage volume-based subscription model at Virginia Tech on July 1, 2024.
On August 1, 2023, Microsoft also announced a significant change to its licensing model for higher education as well. This change included a dramatic increase in the cost of storage on their Microsoft 365 (M365) platform. The Microsoft changes will go into effect in July 2025.
The university was already preparing for the Google changes, but the information from Microsoft made it necessary to change course on some elements of the service decision on Google Workspace, as well as to announce future limitations on centrally funded storage in the M365 environment.
The Microsoft announcement also caused the university to re-evaluate its approach to email administration. In April, we had announced a plan to move all users to one platform (Exchange Online). This plan will move forward for employees, students, and new retirees. However, given the cost structure recently announced by Microsoft, we have reconsidered the move to Exchange Online for alumni and some retirees.
For more information on Virginia Tech's Google and Microsoft service changes, and how they might impact you, please visit our user information pages, or the FAQs.
General ItemStudent email and calendar migration: what to expect Date: Nov 26, 2023
General ItemAll users must empty Google Photos prior to Jan. 16, 2024 Date: Oct 10, 2023
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