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UW Google Changes Project

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The UW Google team reviews this page weekly. The information on this page is current as of January 12, 2022.

Current project status (snapshot)

We have announced additional project details and timelines (continue reading for more information). We have also added a “UW Google Background” section. The process of aligning UW Google with Google’s changes to Google Workspace for Education is a multi-year, high-priority effort by UW-IT. The project team’s primary focus currently is on:

  • Communicating to stakeholders and general community awareness about the impacts and timelines for the changes coming to UW Google.
  • Creating reports that departments can use to analyze UW Google usage by their UW employees and associated Shared UW NetIDs with UW Google accounts.
  • Documenting recommendations and self-service approaches available for users to move data.
  • Working to determine whether data migration services can be offered to the UW community.
  • Development of service design and implementation for offering Google Shared Drives as a recharge (“for fee”) service charged to a UW budget. This offering is dependent upon Google making necessary administrative features available for Shared Drives (continue reading for more information).

UW Google Background

UW-IT has offered many iterations of UW Google to campus since 2008. Since that time, the costs to support and maintain infrastructure for providing Google services have been centrally funded. This funding, however, did not include the purchase of Google services above the “free” level of Google’s education offering.

However, in early 2021, Google announced significant changes to their education offering, discontinuing “G Suite for Education” and replacing it with “Google Workspace for Education“. Alongside this name change came additional changes to technology, policy, and licensing. Notably, Google announced that their Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals offering would no longer offer unlimited storage and would instead offer a significantly reduced level of storage. Google also announced that the use of shared and business accounts (aka Shared UW NetIDs) with Google Workspace for Education was prohibited.

After several months of negotiation, in late 2021 UW-IT signed a four-year contract with Google for Google Workspace for Education Plus, which grants the UW a significant increase in our total shared storage for UW Google (though still not unlimited), along with several other administrative and technical improvements.

Changes to UW Google

With the recent finalization of UW-IT’s contract with Google, the University of Washington has entered into a new four-year agreement to upgrade UW Google from Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals to Google Workspace for Education Plus. This new contract includes both wins and losses.

Wins

Additional space for shared storage pool

The contract includes additional space for the UW Google shared storage pool, shared by all UW Google accounts, beyond what is offered in Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. This additional space for the shared storage pool minimizes the impact to most UW Google users, as we move from a “free and unlimited” storage model to a limited, shared storage pool shared by all UW Google accounts.

Extended timeline for implementation

We were also able to extend the timeline for implementing the required changes in UW Google beyond the extremely aggressive timeline required if we had remained on Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals.

Losses

Shared UW NetIDs will not be available in UW Google

Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve a concession from Google that would allow the continued use of Shared UW NetIDs with UW Google. UW Google accounts for Shared UW NetIDs will ultimately not be available for use (continue reading for the timeline and more information).

The future of Google Shared Drives in UW Google is uncertain

Google has not committed to adding administrative features that would continue to allow us to offer Google Shared Drives as a sustainable offering to the UW community. Specifically, Google Workspace for Education does not have an administrative feature that allows a quota (maximum size) to be configured for a Shared Drive, effectively making their storage “unlimited” in our new, limited shared storage pool model.

We recognize this change will have significant impacts on the day-to-day workflows for many in the UW community. UW-IT is currently exploring the feasibility of offering Shared Drives as a recharge service with the caveat that, as stated above, it would first require Google to introduce the ability to set a quota (maximum size) for a Shared Drive.

Impact on UW Google Users

UW Google will continue to be offered as a service to the University of Washington, though users and business processes will be impacted due to Google’s service changes. Not every impact has been identified, but notable impacts include:

  • The “unlimited storage” feature will be removed from all UW Google accounts in June 2022. Usage limits will be set based on existing usage levels to allow users time to adjust usage.
  • A quota of 100 GB will be set on all UW Google accounts in September 2023, even if the quota will impact services for the account.
  • UW Google accounts for Shared UW NetIDs will be deleted, including all associated data, by September 2023.
  • As previously stated, the future of Google Shared Drives as part of UW Google is uncertain. We continue to investigate the feasibility of offering Shared Drives and that work is ongoing with no current timeline for resolution. If a recharge service is feasible, existing Shared Drives will need to transition to the recharge service or be deleted by September 2023.

100 GB Data Storage Quota

As previously stated, one of the most significant changes that Google is implementing is a shift to a shared storage pool, shared by all UW Google accounts. Based on the terms of our new contract and usage analysis done by the UW Google team, we have set a user storage quota goal of 100 GB per user. According to usage analysis, this limit represents a ceiling far above what most individual users generally require. This limit will continue to be reevaluated as usage patterns change, or if the shared storage pool becomes critically low on space.

Project Timeline

The major milestones are as follows (specific dates will be posted here and shared broadly as soon as they are available):

March 2022

  • Owners and admins of Shared UW NetIDs with UW Google accounts will start receiving direct email communications about impacts to their accounts.

June 2022

  • The “unlimited storage” model will be replaced by a tiered-storage quota model. Accounts below 80 GB of storage usage will receive the 100 GB storage quota.
  • Users above 80 GB of storage usage will begin receiving direct email communications about the new storage limits and will be asked to reduce usage.

September 2023

  • All UW Google accounts will be set to the final 100 GB storage quota.
  • All remaining UW Google accounts for Shared UW NetIDs will be deleted, including all associated data.
  • All Google Shared Drives and associated data will be deleted. If Shared Drives can be offered as a recharge service model, then Shared Drives not funded as a recharge service will be deleted.

June 2024

  • All UW Google accounts exceeding the 100 GB storage quota will be deleted, including all associated data.

How do I know if I am impacted?

Personal UW NetID Google account

UW-IT will contact UW NetIDs with personal UW Google accounts exceeding 100 GB of storage via email, with more instructions and next steps. If you are not using over 100 GB of storage, no action is required.

Click here to check your UW Google account storage usage

Shared UW NetID Google account

UW-IT will contact UW NetIDs that are owners and/or admins for Shared UW NetIDs with UW Google accounts via email, with more instructions and next steps. Please make sure the accounts listed as owners and administrators are configured to receive email. If you are using a UW Group to define administrators, please make sure to enable either “UW Google Apps” or “Exchange email” on the UW Group and allow emails sent to the group from help@uw.edu. If the UW Google account is no longer needed, the owner should remove provisioning of UW Google services for the account using the Provisioning Request Tool at https://provision.uw.edu/

What if I don’t take any action?

Failure to migrate or otherwise preserve data prior to deadlines may result in permanent loss of data. Google provides very limited restore functionality and the UW is not able to preserve a copy of data prior to deletions.

In June 2024, any account threatening to disrupt services to others due to high usage will be removed and data deleted.

Can UW-IT help me?

We are developing documentation to assist impacted UW Google users with self-migration. Unfortunately, due to limited resources, UW-IT is unable to offer individualized data migration consulting or assistance at this time.

Why did Google make these changes to Google Workspace for Education?

We can only speculate that the cost of offering unlimited storage to their customers drove these changes by Google. Most users in higher education use the platform for everyday collaboration using shared documents, though a small percentage of users have capitalized on the previous “free and unlimited” nature of the product to meet high-capacity storage needs, leading to exponential growth in overall data storage. Some examples of these uses include:

  • Large video libraries
  • Departmental backups
  • Machine images
  • Massive research data sets, often produced by data streams from technical instruments

It is worth mentioning that individuals and groups that have used UW Google to meet their high-capacity storage needs have done nothing wrong. However, we believe this usage did inform Google’s decision to end their offer of unlimited storage. Google now indicates that it intends Google Workspace for Education to meet the needs of “everyday collaboration.” For high-capacity storage usage, Google offers storage services through its Google Cloud Platform (GCP), similar to other cloud storage offerings such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Alternatives to UW Google

We continue to work on documentation to assist impacted UW Google users with migrating their data to other locations. In the meantime, please see the resources below:

UW Google changes to date

As part of the UW Google Changes Project, the following changes have been made to date:

  • August 25, 2021 – Disabled the creation of new Google Shared Drives and the creation of new UW Google accounts for Shared UW NetIDs
  • June 8, 2021 – Notified the UW community about the UW Google Changes project via email

Help

Please contact the UW-IT Technology Service Center at help@uw.edu or 206-221-5000 with questions about the UW Google Changes Project.

Last reviewed January 12, 2022