Microsoft has contracted with an educational system in India to provide cloud services to more than 7 million students and 500,000 faculty members, one of the largest cloud deployments yet, the company said.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has agreed to use Microsoft Live@edu at more than 10,000 technical colleges and institutes throughout India.
Microsoft Live@edu is a free suite of hosted Microsoft services and applications designed for educational needs and is a separate cloud service from Microsoft Azure, its cloud business computing platform, Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education, said in an interview Monday.
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Live@edu will offer hosted communication and collaboration services, including e-mail, Microsoft Office Web Apps, instant messaging and storage.
When Microsoft Office 365 for education becomes available later this year, it will offer AICTE access to Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online e-mail and calendar, Microsoft Lync Online and Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft said.
AICTE is the governing body for technical education in India and is part of India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development.
AICTE evaluated several other vendors, including IBM and Google. Microsoft said a significant factor in winning the bid was its commitment to education across its products and programs, as well as Microsoft’s ability to deploy a system across geographically distributed locations.
"We have data centers around the world that will support our cloud service," Salcito said. "Microsoft has deep experience at scaling the cloud. The cloud is an ideal means of providing these services. The project would be very difficult to do with on-premise technology."
Deployment is expected to be finished by the end of this summer.