From: Tony Rimovsky, October 15, 2010
IT Pro community,
I want to take the opportunity to give an update on the Unified Communications initiative including a review of its objectives, details on the planned migration strategy, an update on the status of Express being retired, information on the governance process for UC, and some additional information items.
There are two major objectives for the Unified Communications initiative and both need to be completed by July 2012 when the current campus contract for voice services ends:
- Migrate the email services of faculty, staff, graduate, and professional students to Exchange 2010.
- Transition the entire campus community from the current legacy voice
infrastructure to a new infrastructure built on Microsoft Office
Communications Server and Exchange 2010.
IT Pro involvement is critical to the migration process. We will be developing teams in partnership with each college in order to coordinate the migrations. We will actively seek your involvement and input as we customize the migrations around college needs.
CITES is planning a college-by-college migration with two separate stages:
- Email migrations beginning this fall and
- Voice migrations beginning next spring. Colleges must have already made the email migration before beginning the voice migration.
This staged migration will better allow consideration of each unit's (colleges and similar large units) unique needs. Multiple stages will also help us build a foundation that will help the voice service transition to go as smoothly as possible. There will be a general plan that will be customized as we start working with each unit. While we are going to be migrating users to a new mail infrastructure as the primary function of the first migration stage, we also understand that there are many email related unit services that may need to stay in place for some time period and we are not planning on a forced decommissioning of all such services.
The first two colleges to be fully migrated are Engineering and LAS. At the same time, we will begin consolidating the current CITES Exchange 2007 infrastructure into the new Exchange 2010 system for users from all units.
CITES Express Email Decommissioning
CITES had planned to decommission its Express Email service by the end of this calendar year. However, in order to better account for the time that such a large service migration like UC requires and to better organize the IT and telecommunications workforce to ensure that UC is complete by mid-2012, the Express Email service will continue past the original targeted decommission date. (Undergraduate students will be migrating themselves off of Express Email by November 16, 2010.) As part of the planning for the college-by-college migrations, though, CITES is working with campus to determine how best to complete the decommissioning of Express Email.
To assist with prioritizing the order and timing of the college-by-college migrations and to provide governance for the new email and voice services, the Academic Telecommunications Advisory Group (ATAG) (http://www.cites.illinois.edu/uc/atag.html) has been formed. Minutes from the first two meeting are posted to the UC web site. The ATAG has asked that an operational group be formed under them to provide oversight and technical coordination for the projects and that group is being formed now. More information about the operational group will be available soon.
I know there are still many questions about the migration process, the impact of the email and voice changes, and the timing.
- Campus is still working on many details. Regularly check the UC web site for the latest news.
- I am talking to as many different groups as possible to explain the directions we are considering and to address concerns. I am happy to meet with any group that wishes to discuss UC issues in person.
- CITES is collecting questions and publishing the questions and answers on the UC FAQ page (http://www.cites.illinois.edu/uc/uc-faq.html). Any questions that you have regarding UC are being put into a special queue in the CITES Help Desk ticking system.
- The CITES Help Desk is always available to answer or send on your questions. You can contact them at email@example.com, 244-7000.
We welcome your thoughts and questions about the Unified Communications effort. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A special queue has been set up in our ticketing system to facilitate our handling of your UC feedback. Should you need more immediate assistance, you are also welcome to call the CITES Help Desk at (217) 244-7000 or (800) 531-2531.