Established in 1821, George Washington University (GW) has been educating the next generation of leaders in government, international affairs, journalism, and more for nearly 200 years. With its campus located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the university’s neighbors include the World Bank, White House, and U.S. Department of State. Today, George Washington University is home to more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 130 countries around the world.
For many higher education institutions, curating an engaging online presence for students, staff, alumni and prospective applicants alike is just the beginning. At George Washington University, the web services team also supports the online needs of the various schools, colleges, and administrative departments that make up the university. In fact, GW’s digital experience platform is considered to be a premium service, means that it is essential to the success of every stakeholder across the university.
George Washington University needed a digital experience platform that guaranteed both site reliability and operational efficiency to maintain the premium service its community expects. So the university asked Acquia to help migrate its existing Drupal codebase from on-premise servers to Acquia Site Factory.
Although the team at GW has been using Drupal for some time, the university had previously supported its infrastructure and databases internally. This DIY approach created a variety of challenges, including having to navigate failovers between data centers. These facilities issues not only introduced unpredictable IT costs, but prevented the web services team from focusing on platform innovation and supporting each college and department.
As the GW team began to evaluate alternatives to DIY hosting, Acquia Site Factory emerged as the solution best suited to support the university's business needs. Acquia’s multisite approach means that GW can rely on one fully managed cloud that unifies platform updates, and maintains security and compliance across its entire network of sites. This provides the ability to seamlessly provision hundreds of sites for the university’s various departments and colleges.
At Acquia, we are proud to support a diverse community of higher education customers that are emerging as digital leaders within the industry. Thanks to this collaborative community, Acquia was able to connect GW with other universities and colleges that had overcome similar challenges. GW was able to leverage pre-existing scripts, originally developed by Stanford University, as the team began to migrate hundreds of its Drupal sites to Acquia Site Factory in record time. This strategy enabled the GW team to migrate more than 300 sites to Acquia Site Factory in less than seven weeks.
With Acquia Site Factory, GW is able to create department sites faster and more efficiently than ever before. By offering every stakeholder a standard Drupal build, the web services team can provision sites for any school, department, or university branch in a number of minutes. Not only does this reduce the time and maintenance required to provision a site, but GW can maintain brand governance for the entire university.
In addition to helping GW execute a seamless build experience, Acquia Site Factory also ensures that operations are worry free. Acquia’s Remote Administration takes care of all Acquia Site Factory platform upgrades and security patches so that GW doesn’t have to. Gone are the days of overheated data centers and failovers. Instead, GW can focus on its own code base upgrades and delivering the premium service that aligns with the university’s high-caliber reputation.
Acquia Site Factory relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for best-in-class cloud computing power that helps us deliver open source digital experience innovation to George Washington University with enterprise scale, security, and reliability all over the world using AWS services like EC2 and Aurora.
With Acquia, George Washington University has built a highly performant digital experience platform that ensures operational efficiency and provides an engaging experience for all visitors.
- More than 300 sites were migrated to Acquia Site Factory in seven weeks.
- Time required to provision a new site has decreased by 90 percent.
- Recorded site uptime: 100 percent.