After 13 years with the email server UMail, the University of Utah has begun migrating 27,000 student accounts to Office 365.
The new software, Exchange Online, is a Microsoft Office 365 cloud-hosted application that will provide students with more storage than the previous on-campus hardware. More features will be available to users while saving the university money on hardware, said UIT Product Manager, Caprice Post.
Starting with the most inactive mailboxes to minimize impact, UIT hopes students will be completely independent of UMail by July.“Folks mention that they always want more space,” lead administrator for O365 with UIT, Roy Schulz said. “The cloud will potentially help in this area.”
UIT has prepared for potential confusion from students whose accounts are being transferred—emails will be sent to students with a new login process and to explain interface changes. After receiving an alert email to UMail, students can expect their account to be moved in as soon as 24 hours, Post said.
Students can expect a changed messenger platform but they can also depend on their email address remaining constant. No changes will be made to student’s email names, Post said.
The migration will reduce UIT support staff due to a hefty O365 online support team. Additionally, O356 provides ongoing software updates from Microsoft.
User advantages include—increased mailbox sizes from 50MG to 50GB, automatically updated Microsoft tools and Microsoft Pro Plus, business-specific tools for email.
Pro Plus extends tools to students wherever they may be, and not limited to their desk. 1 TB of cloud storage, online versions of Office applications through mobile apps, which allow editing, viewing and sending documents— are some of the Pro Plus features students can use.
Post said there should be no disruption in communication between students with professors and others, as student email will be accessible at all times during the migration.
UIT declined to comment about whether the switchover would save the U money that is directly pulled from student fees.
Schulz said, however, “If I had to guess, I would say no.”
More information about the migration can be found at http://it.utah.edu/news/umail-migration.php