Email and Calendar Moving to Microsoft Live@edu!

03/06/2012

Contributed by Beth Rugg

ITS is pleased to announce that faculty, staff and student email will be moving to Microsoft Live@ edu by June 2012. Live@edu will also replace the Oracle Calendar system although the exact timing of the Oracle Calendar migration has not yet been determined. ITS is confident that this move will provide a reliable, robust, integrated email and calendar system for faculty, staff and students.

The current IC email system is 4 years old and has capacity and performance issues. The vendor, Mirapoint, is significantly increasing costs next fiscal year. The Oracle Calendar system used by many faculty and staff for managing personal time and scheduling meetings is also nearing end-of-life and will no longer be supported by Oracle after 2013.

ITS management and staff have been looking into options for several months. We sought a solution that would fit well within our new network infrastructure - e.g. the use of Microsoft’s Active Directory for account management and authorization – while meeting the needs of current email and calendar users. Research into national trends in higher education revealed that more than half of 4-year colleges have outsourced student email services, and around 40% have either done the same for faculty and staff email or are considering it.

After researching both locally hosted and outsourcing options, we believe that Microsoft’s Live@edu service for education is the best solution. Live@edu is an Internet-hosted version of Microsoft (MS) Exchange plus added applications, and is free for education. MS Exchange and Live@edu are widely used and well supported by Microsoft. MS Exchange is the leading messaging solution in the North American business market.

More than just an e-mail solution, Live@edu will also provide our students, faculty and staff with a number of productivity and collaboration tools, including 10 GB of email and calendar data storage, 7 GB of online file storage, group calendaring, shared online documents using Office Web Apps, blogging tools, and much more. And because Live@edu is browser-based, we will be able to access all of these services from virtually any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. Live@edu email is fully accessible via Thunderbird, Apple Mail and other desktop/laptop email clients. There is no need to learn a new desktop client although ITS will be rolling out support for Outlook 2010 and 2011 in conjunction with these changes.

ITS will be hosting several Information Sessions to discuss this recommendation further:

Please feel free to attend. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Beth Rugg at erugg@ithaca.edu or (607) 274-7349. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.

More details regarding the email and calendar migration will be made to the campus community over the next few months.

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