20 February 2007

Email migration

Now that Divisional Home Directories and Shares have been migrated to ICT Services, the next project is to migrate email from the cemail server (also known as isaac) to ICT Services. While the Division should be aware of this project, it is unlikely to have any impact on staff use of email until, at the earliest, late this year.

In March 2007 ICT Services will pilot Exchange 2003 with Development and International, to iron out any problems. It will then roll Exchange 2003 out across the other areas of the University not currently on Exchange (HDS and the other non-Academic Divisions). COMEDU and BLIS are already using Exchange 2003 so there will be no noticeable impact on either Division during this stage (COMEDU and BLIS will continue to host their staff email on their existing servers: the rest of the University will be hosted on an ICT Services Exchange 2003 Server).

After Semester 2, 2007, ICT Services will implement Exchange 2007 on a new server. Over the summer break 2007-2008, all users (including BLIS and COMEDU users) will be migrated to the new Exchange 2007 Server. After the migration to the ICT Services’ Exchange 2007 Server, BLIS and COMEDU will be able to decommission their Divisional servers.

Sometime this year ICT Services’ disk images for staff will contain Outlook 2003 (PC) or Entourage 2004 (Macintosh) as a part of a rollout of Office 2003 (PC) and Office 2004 (Macintosh). While most of the Division’s staff computers will support Office 2003/2004, it is too early to say whether the Division will get the new images this year or deploy them widely. We will probably wait until 2008 before updating across the board, when there will be a move to use Office 2007 (PC) or 2008 (Macintosh) to support Exchange 2007.

The move to Office 2007 (PC) and Office 2008 (Macintosh) in 2008 will be a major change since the new Office suites are radically different to previous versions. Significant staff training will be required to ensure the transition is smooth. There may also be some problems with older hardware that doesn't run these new Office suites satisfactorily: more research is required before the impact of the changeover can be determined with any accuracy.

Once the new Office suites are in place, support will only be provided for Outlook (PC) and Entourage (Macintosh) as email (and Calendar: see following item on Calendar migration) clients. While Divisional staff will not be required to use these clients, the then current versions of Outlook and Entourage will be the only ones supported. Nothing will be done specifically to prevent staff using whatever email client they can get to work to access their email, but they won't be supported if they need assistance.

Off-campus access to email will also change. Staff will need to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, connection to the campus network to be allowed access to their email and calendar from anywhere outside the campus. There will be some difficulties with this approach (user training, infrastructure and capacity within the University to support VPN connections, VPN clients on computers used by staff outside the University to access the services here, configuration help and support, and so on) that will need to be monitored and addressed as the system is implemented.