July 05, 2012 12:00AM
Imagine being asked to transfer every e-mail you’ve ever received to a new computer. Now, imagine doing this for nearly 1,000 people without losing any data or cutting off service. That’s exactly what the staff in Pittsburg State University’s Office of Information Systems is doing right now.
“We’re switching to a new e-mail and calendaring system later this month,” said Tim Pearson, assistant director of OIS. “In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, we’re moving all faculty and staff e-mails to the new system. It’s quite an undertaking.”
So how much e-mail data does a university campus maintain?
“It actually ended up being nearly two terabytes of information,” said Pearson. “We’ve migrated just under 5 million e-mail messages over to the new server. In a way, it’s a good reminder to clean out your e-mail box occasionally. ”
The official switch over to the new system will take place on July 16. It will be the first time that the university has had a common, integrated e-mail and calendar system. It will be a major improvement for campus communication according to Chief Information Officer Angela Neria
“Our current e-mail and calendar systems are very dated,” said Neria. “We currently have more than five interfaces being used on campus. As we’ve grown and technology has advanced, it has become almost impossible to support each tool. It’s one of the reasons we saw so much downtime during the spring semester. The new system will be more efficient and accessible.”
Known as Zimbra, the new system actually combines e-mail, calendar, and document sharing functions into one simple system. It was chosen after an in-depth study of the campus’ needs by a 19-member task force
“It’s much easier to access, support and use,” said Neria. “It’s web-based and compatible with most major portable devices. It was very difficult to synchronize e-mail and calendaring with your cell phone on the old system, but Zimbra is compatible with the major mobile devices on the market such as, iOS, Android, and Blackberry. It’s a great piece of communication software that is designed for the 21st century.”
Group training sessions will be held on campus for all faculty and staff members this month, and special training videos will be available online.
“Because this will affect every faculty and staff member, we want to be certain we’re offering the very best training and support,” said Neria. “We’ll hold sessions the week before and after the switch. We’ll also offer additional sessions for returning faculty in the fall.”
OIS crews will officially switch systems beginning at 5 p.m. on July 13. E-mail will not be available July 14 and 15, but return at 8 a.m. on July 16. For more information visit pittstate.edu/zimbra.