U of L moving 13,000 email accounts in money-saving, optimizing effort

By on May 24, 2017
The Louisville Cardinal News

By Kyeland Jackson —

As the university’s expected budget approval approaches, another cost-saving effort comes from its emails.

U of L will swap its email service for Office 365 Outlook, a cloud-based version of its current service.

It’s a big project, affecting approximately 90 servers, 80 terabytes of data and 13,000 email accounts within 18 months, and it’s underway. The university has systematically notified departments, swapping accounts days after notifying users. Keith Stevenson, an interim assistant director for U of L’s Information Technology department, said the migration is a good move which avoids $120,000 normally spent upgrading email servers.

“Combining the email systems will allow students and faculty to use the collaboration tools built-in to Office 365,” Stevenson said.  “This is a good move for the university.”

But the large undertaking brings risks.

Mailboxes may be slow migrating and messages could be lost in transition. Computer Information Systems professor Andrew Wright advised people listen to directions, citing experience from the College of Business which he said completed the email migration with few problems.

“People must follow the directions precisely and stay out of the e-mail system entirely during the overnight migration or there is a risk that some messages won’t get migrated,” Wright said. “The accounts are moving from local exchange servers to cloud-based Office 365 accounts (just as cardmail already resides), so Microsoft’s tools fully understand both sides of the migration and have been used on organizations much larger than U of L. As I understand it, this move will improve things especially for the e-mail archives.”

For precaution, U of L is paying tech consultant Data Strategy $179,000 to deter risk. Representatives from Data Strategy were unavailable to comment at the time of this post.

U of L expects the project to finish by early 2018.

Information about the program and how to prepare is here.

This story will be updated.

About Kyeland Jackson

Editor-in-Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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