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UAS/ACN migration to Exchange Online

February 2018: This is the next stage in an ongoing programme of work to modernise the University's administrative IT infrastructure and services, which will be taking place throughout the year.

The scope of this work includes migrating the Academic Computing Network (ACN) email service, used by Unified Administration Service (UAS) staff, to Exchange Online. In parallel, the UAS managed desktop platform will be upgraded to Windows 10, and 382 of the oldest desktop PCs will be replaced.

It will also include assisting any institutions that currently use SharePoint Public Folders to identify suitable alternative data storage and sharing solutions that will be fit for purpose going forward, and to migrate their data.


The ACN email servers were becoming unreliable. Work in December 2017 to upgrade the ACN email service to Exchange Server 2013 resolved this immediate issue and put UIS in a position to be able to migrate the ACN email to the cloud-based Exchange Online service.

UAS managed desktops are also in need of modernisation, both in terms of a newer operating system and application software for staff, and in some cases, new PCs capable of running the new software.

Another factor that will be addressed is that SharePoint Public Folders are a legacy storage solution best suited to simple sharing solutions but not for the enterprise-scale data management service it has become. The migration to Exchange Online presents the opportunity to analyse current business processes to implement a technical solution within each area that addresses this issue, before the ACN email service is migrated to Exchange Online, which does not support Public Folders with all client solutions.


...for the University

  • Licensing costs for Exchange Online email and Microsoft Office have already been paid for as part of the University's Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solution (EES) Agreement.
  • Software licensing compliance is assured.
  • Moving to the cloud eliminates the ongoing overheads of maintaining on-premise servers.

...for staff

  • As more of the University's Schools, Faculties and Departments adopt Exchange Online the benefits of using a shared platform in terms of daily inter-operability will become more apparent. For example, staff will gain the ability to schedule meetings more easily by sharing calendar information and having access to a University-wide address list.
  • Newer UAS desktop operating system (Windows 10).
  • Newer Microsoft Office software (Office 2013/2016 depending on platform) with better collaboration tools.
  • A bigger email inbox (50GB).
  • Free Office 365 software for their personal devices.
  • Some staff will also get new desktop PCs.

Next steps

In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, UIS will be working closely with area 'champions' within each affected institution, who will best understand their organisation's needs.

The upgrade process will begin with a detailed discovery phase, during which UIS will work with each area champion to understand the scope of work required and to create a tailored migration plan that minimises disruption and preserves data.

UIS will shortly be contacting the UAS Heads of Division and appointed area champions to arrange an initial meeting at which it will present an overview of the upgrade strategy, and facilitate a discussion of the various migration paths available.

Questions and comments

Please email any queries to .

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