Morehouse leverages seamless integration for cloud storage and collaboration

Customer Profile

Atlanta-based Internet2 member Morehouse College sought a rapid and smooth transition from its local enterprise data network-attached storage (NAS) system to a more secure and compliant cloud storage and collaboration solution. Through its membership in Internet2, Morehouse learned about NET+ Box, a leading enterprise cloud content management (CCM) platform tailored to research and education institutions. Moreover it’s purpose-built to meet next-generation content storage and collaboration needs. Morehouse discovered SkySync to seamlessly perform its legacy on-premises to cloud migration within minutes. In the end, the solution was so valuable, they proposed SkySync to the Internet2 NET+ portfolio to make it available for all higher education institutions.

Business Drivers

Morehouse College’s administration believes in transforming operations through technology and they’re taking a campus-wide cloud-first approach. Like many institutions today, Morehouse believes it’s critical to shift resources from tactical, day-to-day technology operations to more strategic services that can take scholarship and science to new levels for instance. Morehouse sought strong partnerships to make a rapid and smooth transition from its local NAS enterprise data storage system to a more secure and compliant enterprise cloud storage and collaboration solution capable of increasing user mobility and collaboration among the institution’s users.

After selecting Internet2 NET+ Box for cloud content storage and collaboration, Morehouse discovered SkySync to seamlessly migrate its legacy on-premises storage to the Box cloud platform within minutes. Morehouse found the SkySync solution so beneficial, they proposed SkySync for NET+ service validation—meeting rigorous standards and integrating service customizations for the research and education (R&E) community. As a result, NET+ SkySync is now in the early adopter phase of the NET+ cloud services lifecycle. Now higher education can benefit from a much easier transition to Box’s cloud storage and collaboration platform.

The Challenge: On-Premises to Cloud Migration & Sync

Morehouse needed to make their unstructured data more accessible to users and bring the data into full accessibility compliance without having to make unrealistic expenditures on their existing on-premises system. They also needed to address the complete on-premises to cloud migration process and move all of the data over quickly. Transferring core data storage onto encrypted hard drives was fairly straightforward. But transferring data located in various other places throughout the organization wasn’t nearly as simple. To address these broader data transfer and verification issues, Box ultimately referred Morehouse to SkySync.

As Clifford Russell, CIO at Morehouse College, described, “There are still pockets of data that need to be found, verified and transferred. A lot of that resides on desktops, so as we discover those we are able to continue to use SkySync to migrate that content.”

SkySync was the missing link in the transition from our on-premises system to Box.
Clifford Russell, CIO

The Solution

Box provided turnkey security and accessibility compliance for Morehouse’s enterprise storage. While additionally offering unparalleled collaboration and mobility enhancements for users. SkySync provided Morehouse with storage agility, enabling them to sync, migrate and copy files, folders, sites and entire file structures across diverse storage systems in just a few clicks. With SkySync, Morehouse was able to address all the data transfer and verification issues. As well as sync the remaining data to ensure that all of the information transferred to Box was up-to-date.

“It was the missing link in the transition from our on-premises system to Box,” Russell says. “SkySync automatically synced our network file system (NFS) with Box so that all of the information in Box was up-to-date. We were able to use the tool very effectively to successfully migrate our data. Really, it transformed the migration process for us. And since SkySync can be installed, configured and operational in minutes, ROI was immediate.”

With SkySync, Morehouse was able to:

  • Incorporate Box cloud storage for user access anywhere and on any device.
  • Easily consolidate and move their data to Box—meeting both functional and compliance requirements (for example, HIPAA).
  • Integrate storage systems and begin sharing information in minutes.

The Results

Because the transition was so successful, Morehouse leveraged its membership and participation in the Internet2 community to propose SkySync as an Internet2 NET+ offering. Working with peers to guide the service through the NET+ Service Validation process.

After migrating to Box, five NAS units within the Morehouse IT department could be decommissioned and re-purposed. By migrating all of its local NAS system data to the NET+ Box platform, Morehouse has been able to secure its unstructured data and resolve its enterprise data accessibility and compliance issues.

“It’s really driven our costs down. As we no longer have to invest in physical security, capacity, and updating our NAS systems to provide a level of service that still wouldn’t have the agility of the Box platform,” Russell reported.

But Russell feels the most important benefits have been the power to reduce tactical operations spent on enterprise storage. Shifting valuable resources to more strategic areas, and the enabling of new levels of collaboration among students and faculty.

People are your most valuable resource. By moving these services to the cloud, we can get more cycles back from our most valuable resource, our staff, to do other things like teach people the ability to unlock the power of the technology,” Russell says. “Students and faculty are continuously sharing stories of how they are using Box for collaboration. And it’s a very exciting thing to see.”

“It works—plain and simple.”

SkySync complied with community security, accessibility and performance standards and developed standard, optimized business and legal terms. So now all of higher education can enjoy a quicker transition to the cloud through NET+. And to make the service even better, through Internet2 NET+ service advisory groups, SkySync is partnering with institutions to participate in an ongoing service development roadmap. With the goal being to further tailor the offering and meet evolving user needs.

Russell recommends SkySync to any peer institution to manage content migration. “It works—plain and simple,” he says. “That’s the reason we recommended the solution for the Internet2 NET+ portfolio as a trusted tool that all universities should consider while addressing their storage needs in the future. We received a level of support from Portal Architects that truly moved them into the ‘partner’ category. And it was clear that they were committed to our success. I can’t imagine having been successful in this migration without SkySync’s support and the effectiveness of the tool.”

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