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E-Mail Migration Project Update
By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Director of Academic Computing and User Services
As reported in last month's Benchmarks Online, plans are progressing for moving the University faculty/staff e-mail services from Novell's GroupWise to Microsoft's Exchange server and Outlook client. On March 23, 2007, the Dell Professional Services consulting team delivered an assessment document resulting from the first phase of their consulting project. As a result of discussions in the preparation and review of that document by a University-representative migration steering committee, several decisions have been made regarding the configuration of the new Exchange mail system. One of these decisions is to use existing EUIDs and passwords to log into the Exchange e-mail service. This gets us closer to the goal of using one login ID and password for most information systems on campus.
Training has also been a topic of discussion amongst the steering committee. Instructor-led training is being planned and will be provided to areas as they migrate in a two to three week period prior to their e-mail conversion. Jason Gutierrez is compiling a number of online resources which can be found on the NCS migration website (see http://ncs.unt.edu/MSMigration/education/). More information areas are available at the project website, http://ncs.unt.edu/MSMigration/, including a blog where any news or notes regarding the migration will be posted. Even prior to training, a test system will be available to allow faculty and staff to use Outlook/Exchange 2007 and try some of the features offered. Any messages or appointments created on the test system will be transitory and the test system should not be used for any business communication.
One feature of the new system is that messages will no longer be automatically deleted after 180 days. E-mail users can keep messages as long as they need them (and existing GroupWise messages and archives will be migrated to Exchange,) but they will need to pay attention to the amount of storage space they are using on the new system. Because storage space is not infinite, the new system will need to have a mailbox quota in place for all users. After much discussion within the steering committee it was decided to implement a 400MB mailbox quota as a soft limit with 500 MB as a hard limit. If the soft limit is exceeded, then a warning will be issued. If the hard limit is exceeded, then no additional e-mail will be able to be sent or received. Exceptions to the hard limit may be made on a case-by-case basis if the requester can demonstrate a business need for more storage space.
Data collected from some of the larger area GroupWise e-mail post offices indicates this quota should accommodate over 90 percent of existing GroupWise mailboxes, even before any elimination of unneeded messages is done. It is recommended that GroupWise users "clean up" their GroupWise mailboxes and archives to eliminate as many unneeded messages as possible as a way to assist the efficiency of the migration process and allay any concerns about fitting within the quota on the new system.
The initial timeline for E-mail migration calls for completion of the e-mail migration by the end of the Summer terms, however, some areas' migrations might extend into the fall semester. The sooner everyone is on the new Exchange system, the better it will be for seamless and efficient communication. However, during the migration, both e-mail systems will be able to coexist and exchange messages without any loss of communication services.
Support for your GroupWise mailbox is provided by your college or department's computing support team. Those same staff will be equally important in providing you with assistance on the new Exchange/Outlook e-mail system. If you have questions concerning your area's timetable for migration or need assistance with managing your existing GroupWise mailbox, please contact your area's computing support team.