University College Dublin has saved over £200,000 a year by implementing Google Apps and Search Appliance to improve student and staff access to information.

UCD is the largest university and research centre in Ireland, with 6,000 staff and 30,000 students.

Recently the university IT department has had to contend with increased demands on its internal network, with 40,000 mobile devices connecting to systems. There has also been a growth in storage requirements, with staff email alone taking up eight terabytes of storage space.

In order to support the use of mobile devices the university chose to implement the Google App suite of software, replacing its legacy SunMail email system, which required signiifcant investment in maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure.

By removing the need to spend on servers, maintenance, personnel and power supporting its email system, UCD was able to make £204,000 savings a year, according to Brian Morrissey, head of web services, IT services department at UCD. This removed a burden on the university's IT department, by reducing the number of service issues they were required to deal with.

"Before Google, we weren’t always able to respond to service issues quickly, particularly if they happened on the weekend when IT administrators were off work," Morrissey said.

"Google’s tools make service issues less frequent and easier to manage when they occur. Because we don’t have all that hardware and software to manage, we can now focus our IT staff on bringing new services to the UCD community."

The Google Apps software also enabled the use of Google Drive and Calendar, allowing class schedules and other events to be delivered directly to students via their mobile devices, and the university has begun to enable Google Plus 'hangouts' for students.

As part of the project, UCD is also using now Google Search Appliance to enable searching of publicly available information on its website, as well as allowing university staff to find internal documents on the intranet. Over 500,000 documents are stored in an index, which has more than 60,000 searches each month.

Morrissey added: "Through the use of Google Apps and Search Appliance, UCD now has a scalable solution for mail, collaboration and search which drives better communication, collaboration and information retrieval throughout our university."