Drupal 9/10 (UTDK3) Migration Project

Latest Resources

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FAS Drupal 9/10 Migration Project Video and Powerpoint

You can now download the FAS Drupal 9/10 Migration Project (PPT). You can also view the September 9th presentation recording on Box.

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Join the Drupal Migration Communications List

We've created a listserv you can join to stay up to date on the migration process

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See the Project FAQs

Find out the answers to your burning questions on the frequently updated Frequently Asked Questions. Or send a new question to fascommweb@austin.utexas.edu

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Forty-one FAS portfolio websites managed by FAS Communications currently running on the web content management system Drupal 7/UT Drupal Kit 2 need to migrate to Drupal 9/UT Drupal Kit 3 (UTDK3). Drupal 7 is over 10 years old and is being retired in November 2023 by the Drupal Foundation. While Drupal 7 will continue to function after November 2023, its performance will degrade as updates are no longer created, beyond those required for security. At UT, Drupal 7 was replaced by Drupal 9/UT Drupal Kit 3 in mid-2021. The move to UTDK3 requires creating new websites and migrating content and customizations to the new sites, recreating users and roles, and offering new training.

The 41 FAS websites in need of migration to Drupal 9 were built over 7+ years by several different web developers and designers. Some sites are highly customized and contain a considerable amount of vital information including Human Resources, Workday, Parking and Transportation, UT Police, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Services, and Financial and Administrative Services. An estimated 75% of the sites have Drupal customizations. FAS Communications has two web developers who are becoming experts in the Drupal web content management system and leading our migration programming efforts. James Buratti plans and manages the project, performs UX testing, oversees migrations, and and leads training.

UT Web Hosting

Most FAS portfolio websites managed by FAS Communications are hosted on the UTWeb server environment (37 of 41 websites). This is a free LAMP web hosting solution (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) provided by Information Technology Services (ITS) to the UT web community. It is considered critical infrastructure. Our Drupal 7 setup does not take advantage of UT’s multi-factor (EID Password/DUO) authentication, decreasing site security and increasing user management tasks. Automated Drupal updates and on-demand restoration from back-ups are not available.

Pantheon Web Hosting

Pantheon Web Hosting is a commercial platform-as-a-service (PaaS) website host built on cloud infrastructure selected by ITS to provide dedicated hosting for Drupal and WordPress websites. Six FAS Communications-managed websites currently reside on Pantheon. Pantheon provides a suite of tools for website development, deployment, and management:

  • Development, test, and live environments for each site, with a web-based user interface for syncing content and files between environments
  • Automated deployment tools for managing releases
  • Built-in version control using Git
  • Automated and on-demand backups via site dashboard
  • New Performance Monitoring tool integrated into site dashboard
  • Multidev feature for creating ad-hoc environments to stage new features in development
  • Site Team Management tools
  • UT’s multi-factor (EID Password/DUO) authentication

Pantheon's global content delivery network (CDN) provides improved performance and security for customer sites. It has strategically distributed points of presence around the globe, where site pages and assets are cached, and HTTPS certificates are fully managed using Let's Encrypt. Global CDN is SOC 2 compliant and offers protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that target network or application layers. Pantheon’s Global CDN provides industry-leading web application firewalls (WAF)-style rules and DDoS protection filtering for the management of denial of service attacks. By filtering ongoing attacks and isolating traffic streams for each site and environment, Pantheon provides dedicated resources in times of need and prevents impact between customer websites. (See more on Pantheon security.)


Following FAS Communications' recommendation, FAS is using the UT contracted website host, Pantheon, to host migrated sites and any new sites. Our research indicates this option is a more secure, robust, and developer-friendly environment that will let our small programming team concentrate on website development unifying our management under one platform while mitigating risk to our high-traffic, high-importance websites that our community, clients, and customers depend on regularly.


Pantheon requires an annual hosting pass-through cost based on website traffic. The first-year cost is being absorbed by FAS centrally and ongoing costs are being planned for by the FAS administration. It is possible Pantheon hosting will be a new budget item for individual departments in future budget cycles.

  • Basic: $300
  • Performance Medium: $1,920
  • Performance Large: $3,900
  • Performance XL: $6,480

Based on recent Google analytics and ITS’ experience with Pantheon-reported traffic, the majority of websites (33 sites or 89%) will pay a nominal $300 annual fee. See Appendix A for traffic and cost estimates (XLS) provided by ITS and FAS Communications.

Higher traffic sites (e.g., Human Resources, Parking and Transportation Services, Workday@UT, DocuSign) will pay between $1,920 and $3,900 annually (Appendix A).

The total estimated annual Pantheon hosting cost for all 41 sites is $25,140 annually.

As traffic increases, so too will hosting costs, and three sites (Financial and Administrative Services, UT Learn Homepage, and UT Police Department) could see website traffic move them from the basic $300 tier into a more expensive $1,920 tier of hosting. Increases in hosting costs are prorated based on the months left on the annual hosting contract and unexpected peaks in traffic, such as caused by a news-worthy event on campus, can also push sites over their current hosting limits. A high-end initial cost estimate is $28,080. Sites are not charged for hosting until they go live in the Pantheon environment.

Website Improvements

Darrell Bazzell, Sr. VP & CFO when the project was undertaken, tasked FAS Communications with using this opportunity to significantly improve the web presence of the FAS Portfolio. With that challenge in mind, we have created an FAS web philosophy that will drive the transformation of FAS digital content from a largely organization-based information architecture to an audience-focused, task- and content-based philosophy. The philosophy is implemented through a web policy providing multiple resources to research, analyze, and improve FAS website's usability, readability, searchability, and accessibility. This transformation will take place as websites are migrated to Drupal 9 though analytics, content audit, and user experience research.


The FAS Communications web team began the migration with 6 pilot websites in late August 2022. As this process involves moving to a new host and a major new CMS version, the pilot sites were needed to make a more accurate estimate of a migration timeline. That being said, each website is unique and the active participation of website owners and content editors, along with adherence to the FAS Website Philosophy and Policy will determine much of the individual website migration timeline. See the Drupal Migration Dashboard for additional information.


In July and August 2022, the FAS Communications web team contacted all FAS-managed websites to establish each site's main manager and lead communicator and performed a website editor user audit. All website editors, managers, and owners were added to a new FAS Website listserv. The listserv, along with this website, is the source of mass communications about the Drupal 9 migration process.

On August 23, 2022, FAS Leadership and the FAS Communications Council were presented with the Drupal 9 migration plan by Kerri Battles and James Buratti.

On September 9 and 13, 2022 the Drupal 9 migration plan was presented to FAS website owners, managers, and editors. All resources were made available on September 9, 2022. View that Presentation here.

On December 16, 2022 the migration pilot was considered complete and migration was made available to all FAS-managed websites.

On March 31, 2023 the Rapid Content Plan was finalized to assist website owners with communications planning around their migrated websites.

On June 7, 2023, Assistant Director of Digital Strategy, James Buratti sent an email confirming FAS Communications still leading the migration project, despite all of the recent changes in the FAS portfolio and unit structures.

On October 11, 2023, Assistant Director of Digital Strategy, James Buratti sent an email confirming continued support by the former FAS Communications Web Team, now a part of University Marketing and Communications. The team structure and support remain the same and migrations continue with fourteen migration remaining.

Mid-November 2023 individual communications were sent to the directors of the remain Drupal 7 websites to set a final deadline for migration in 2023.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • FAS Communications web team is responsible for project management; new website creation; user experience research, navigation, and page redesign; content, module, and user migration; website testing and quality assurance; and training and communications.
  • Information Technology Services is providing technical support for the UTDK3, access to Pantheon management tools, and training for the FAS Communications web team.
  • Pantheon is responsible for the hosting environment and advanced technical support when needed.
  • TRecs has agreed to maintain its current SLA with FAS Communications to provide timely Drupal 7 updates until all the sites are migrated to Drupal 9. A move to Pantheon would eliminate the need for TRecs' involvement in back-end web support. TRecs is supportive of this move.
  • eBITS was relieved of its legacy web editing roles in January 2022 for Accounting and Financial Management, Payroll Services, Budget, Business Contracts, and the Purchasing Office.
  • Site owners are responsible for active project participation, content audits, assuring content and users have been migrated accurately, and attending additional Drupal 9 editor training post-migration.

Training and Support

FAS Communications provides one-on-one Drupal CMS training, training videos and how-tos, website customer support, and web user experience (UX) research. Due to changes in Drupal 9/10’s web editor layout and functionality, refresher training will be required for existing Drupal editors and the replacement of existing Drupal training videos and how-tos. This process has already begun with brief videos and instructions demonstrating common Drupal 9/10 editing functions. We also plan to improve website information architecture, usability, and readability as sites are migrated to Drupal 9/10 with focused UX research and content audits adhering to the FAS Website Philosophy. ITS has created some Drupal documentation relevant to website editors.


James Buratti, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Digital Strategy, UMAC
512.560.3865 (cell)


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