Date: April 5, 2010
To: IIT SENATE
From: Kris Stewart
Instructional & Information Technology (IIT)
Subject: Moving SDSU e-mail (mail.sdsu.edu) to the Cloud
Over the past several months, we have evaluated the potential of migrating the current central University administrative e-mail system (mail.sdsu.edu) and Meeting Maker calendar systems to an outsourced offering. Frequently termed “Cloud Computing”, this architecture provides for all systems that support e-mail (mail.sdsu.edu) and calendaring (Meeting Maker), including storage, to be located off campus.
We initiated this investigation due to several primary factors:
1. Mail quotas. While we have been increasing individual e-mail quota limits to over 1 GB when requested, without the substantial purchase of additional hardware we would not be able to provide the large amounts of storage (7GB +) that is provided by commercial offerings.
2. Functionality. E-mail and calendar systems are fairly standard, offering a repository for messages, appointments, and events. As we move to include additional collaborative tools on our campus, we realized that the external commercial offerings could provide the University with capabilities, which we could not provide.
3. Financial Constraints. Our current system needs to be replaced this calendar year, at a cost of over $180,000. In addition, as our reduced staff continues to spend an inordinate amount of time (1+ FTE) supporting e-mail, time that could be more productively expended on other computing projects for the campus.
As you are probably aware, there are two large commercial offerings, Google and Microsoft, which are available to higher education at little or no direct cost beyond the expense of the mail migration to these services. Connie English, Manager of the Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) Help Desk and Administrative Desktop Services, led a group to evaluate both of these offerings. On several occasions we consulted with the University Senate IIT committee regarding the progress of the evaluation.
After evaluation of these two services, it became clear that Google would provide the most complete, and effective, option for the University. We will now work to develop an implementation plan to migrate mail.sdsu.edu and Meeting Maker accounts to this service. Our goal is to have the migration of e-mail completed before the end of the calendar year, 2010.
We also anticipate that other e-mail services on campus may also migrate to this platform.
Here are some key factors for the migration:
· E-mail address and aliases will remain the same, e.g. email@example.com. We will also continue to support other alias, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org . This conversion will also allow us to expand the use of e-mail addresses with the @sdsu.edu domain.
· Mail quotas will increase to at least 7 GB.
· Users can continue to utilize existing e-mail clients to access their mail. These include: Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, Microsoft Entourage, Eudora, etc. Slight changes in configurations within the clients may be necessary. Our campus ETS Help Desk (LL-200) and College or Department IT staff can assist with that change.
· We will be able to interface with our e-mail provisioning system (Identity Management System) which will allow you to initialize and reset your own email/calendaring account passwords.
· E-mail will be migrated first, with Meeting Maker calendar data moved after completion of the e-mail conversion.
· We anticipate activating additional features, such as Google Docs, etc. after the initial implementation of e-mail and calendar.