Information and Technology Services launched the SiteMaker Transition Project in January 2014 and, since then, has been moving, archiving and deleting SiteMaker sites in anticipation of decommissioning the Web hosting service at the end of 2015.
“About two years ago, we examined our service portfolio to identify offerings that were nearing end-of-life,” explains Sean DeMonner, executive director of Teaching and Learning for ITS. “By transitioning from SiteMaker to more advanced, robust Web hosting technologies, we will be able to better meet the changing needs of the university, reduce costs, and advance U-M’s teaching, learning, and research activities.”
ITS proposed a two-year project to phase out SiteMaker, a move that was supported by university leadership and IT governance, and is guided by a steering committee made up of a broad cross-section of the campus community.
The project is now in its final phase. On Oct. 30, all remaining SiteMaker sites will be taken offline, and ITS will decommission SiteMaker on Nov. 30.
Since the project launch, ITS outreach efforts have included the creation of a comprehensive project site with detailed support documentation, multiple direct messages to SiteMaker site owners and administrators, regular updates to campus IT staff, notices on select U-M websites, and articles in various campus publications.
Thus far, the project team has completed almost 900 site-deletion and archive requests, performed more than 150 consultations, and assisted in approximately 100 site transitions to alternate services.
The U-M Library, Medical School Information Services, and LSA have provided significant additional support to the project by helping their users move their sites to other services.
“SiteMaker was cutting-edge technology when it was created in 1998, and it served us well over the years,” says DeMonner. “But maintaining this legacy system posed potential performance, security and opportunity risks. Retiring SiteMaker supports the mission of the university by allowing us to focus resources on areas that will help build U-M’s future learning environment.”