In today’s post we hear from the United Arab Emirates University on why Microsoft was the best decision for their institution in their move off its Sun messaging system and onto Exchange and Live@Edu!
United Arab Emirates University
The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) offers undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and continuing-education programs in subject areas such as humanities, social sciences, education, business, medicine, and law. Based in Al Ain, the University has about 12,500 students and 750 faculty members.
UAEU relies heavily on email and other communication and collaboration tools. Students, faculty, and staff use such tools in their daily work, and the University also has a policy of providing lifelong email accounts to its 55,000 alumni.
About three years ago, the University’s Sun Java System Messaging Server email system began struggling to keep pace with the needs of the University. The system’s calendaring capabilities were limited and did not include sharing. Interfaces were not intuitive and frustrated both users and administrators. As the Sun system approached the end of its life, UAEU began searching for a messaging solution that could provide larger mailboxes and a wider range of tools and features for users, such as calendar sharing.
IT Solution and Benefits
In early 2009, UAEU replaced its existing on-premises email system with a messaging solution based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. For alumni email accounts, UAEU decided that the best solution would be a cloud service. The University considered Google Apps for Education but instead chose the Microsoft Live@edu cloud service to host the accounts.
There were several reasons for the university to choose the Microsoft solution over Google Apps for Education. One reason for the University’s decision to deploy Live@edu was the lack of calendar-sharing interoperability between Google Apps for Education and Exchange Server 2007. The Google service was also not as compatible as Exchange Server 2007 with electronic discovery, auditing, and other legal requirements that UAEU needed to comply with. In addition, with the University’s IT department already supporting an on-premise messaging solution based on Exchange Server 2007, it would be simpler for the University to support alumni in the Exchange Server environment of Live@edu. Also, new UAEU alumni would find it easier to transition to Live@edu, because they would already be familiar with the on-premises Exchange Server 2007 solution.
By deploying Exchange Server 2007 and Live@edu, UAEU reduced costs even as it provided larger mailboxes to users. The support department’s workload has decreased, and users have access to a wider range of messaging and collaboration tools.
Also, the university no longer needs to maintain the email infrastructure it used for its previous messaging system, reducing power, staff, and facilities expenses. And because the deployment of the new solution was completed entirely in-house, UAEU saved more than U.S. $270,000.
Let us know if you feel that Exchange Server is becoming the standard in education, as Muhammad Imran of UAEU states.