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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. As part of this project, all affected UAS staff will have their Office software upgraded to Office 2013, which is the minimum requirement for using Exchange Online . For non-UAS staff, the cost of any Office 2013 upgrades required will be bourne by their institution.

UIS will also be assisting institutions to migrate away from SharePoint On Premise/Outlook's Public Folders (where applicable) as these are not compatible with Exchange Online. We will help to identify suitable alternative data storage and sharing solutions that will be fit for purpose going forward, and to migrate the data.

Why are we migrating the ACN email service to Exchange Online?

As users are painfully aware, 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 On Premise/Outlook 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.

Benefits

...for staff

  • A bigger email inbox (50GB).
  • Newer Microsoft Office software (Office 2013 minimum) featuring more collaboration tools.
  • Free Office 365 software for their personal devices.
  • 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.

...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.

What's happening now

In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, UIS is working closely with  'champions' within each affected UAS Division or non-UAS institution (which we're simply referring to as 'business units' to avoid confusion), who will best understand their unit's needs.

A detailed discovery phase is now underway 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.

Following on from the discovery phase, we will work with the champions to create deteiled plans for migrating individual business units during the course of the summer/autumn.

The first tasks will be to migrate data currently stored in Public Folders, and to ensure all staff have been upgraded to Office 2013. The migration itself will then happen in phases, with individual business units being migrated soon as they are no longer dependent on Public Folders and are running Office 2013.

Questions and comments

Please email any queries to .