Buffalo State migrates to Drupal

Maris Lambie, Reporter

As of Dec. 30, all offices at SUNY Buffalo State will have moved all of their online content from the old web server Ingeniux to Drupal. “A lot has been done in the past three years, and now we are at the end of the migration process,” said Melissa Meehan, Buffalo State’s director of web administration. Many other SUNY schools have already made the switch, including Geneseo, Adirondack, Brook University and Fredonia. “Beyond SUNY, there are many colleges and universities are using Drupal, including Columbia, Penn State University, Cornell, Harvard and more,” Meehan added. So what exactly is Drupal? Drupal is a content management system. It is open source, and runs on a Unix server. “Buffalo State uses a virtual server environment,” Meehan said. “This way of hosting services and applications keeps overhead lower by reducing the number of actual servers needed. Using this method, we also save on overhead associated with the physical management of our servers.” Drupal is also easy to learn and use, and can be accessed with most devices. “It’s becoming more and more popular,” Meehan said. “It’s really a product that proved itself.” She said that while Ingeniux was good while it lasted, it was far from perfect. “The old system had limitations, you couldn’t embed videos and it just did not look polished,” Meehan said. “Drupal is very interactive and there are no add-ons.” Along with reducing the amount of servers, switching to Drupal is more cost-effective. Before switching to Drupal, Buffalo State would pay yearly fees for upgrades on certain programs run by Ingeniux. “We always need to pay for the server, but that isn’t the main expense, licensing for the programs is what costs more,” Meehan said. With an open source system like Drupal this will be a thing of the past. “We don’t pay for it, it’s free for us.” Meehan said. “You can do anything with it. There’s modules, codes you can write, you can really customize it for whatever you need to do.” Most offices on campus have already migrated all their online content to Drupal, with only a few offices left to transfer over. Training sessions to learn how to use Drupal are being offered on Nov. 16, Nov. 17, Nov. 25 and Nov 29. If any staff member needs assistance in setting up a page in Drupal, they can contact Meehan. “We provide design choices, and will help you pick a design and different features,” she said. Some features in Drupal include an events calendar, a highlight slideshow, a Facebook/Twitter poll, a description space, or buttons. Not all sites will be transferred over to Drupal. The exceptions to the migration include “low-traffic sites” that were created for a short-term purpose, or any site that has not been updated since 2010. The transition from the old server to Drupal has been smooth. “Everyone is really excited. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s impossible to beat,” Meehan said. “I feel positive, people are working on it, and everyone is aware of the migration. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible. We’re about building community. It’s what we’re committed to and I think it shows.”