University Reduces Costs and Eases Administration with Office 365

Organizations of all sizes are making the move to cloud computing. In today’s post we hear from US-based University of Texas at San Antonio on why Microsoft was the best decision for their school.

“Using a hosted email solution, we can reduce our hardware costs, in addition to reducing our overall data center costs for power and cooling.”

-- Kyle Tuffentsamer, Analyst, University of Texas at San Antonio

University of Texas at San Antonio
Founded by the Texas Legislature in 1969, the University of Texas at San Antonio is the second-largest university in the University of Texas system and the eighth-largest university in the state. It currently offers 135 undergraduate and graduate programs in different fields that include business, architecture, education, engineering, and liberal arts. In the fall of 2010, the university had enrolled more than 30,000 students. The school supports approximately 7,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff members.

IT Challenges
Although the university was happy with the reliability of its messaging solution, it faced a problem with storage. The school had set mailbox quotas for faculty and staff at 500 megabytes (MB) of storage, but many professors on campus had mailboxes that exceeded the limit because they tended to use their email inboxes to store important documents. They also frequently used their email inbox to store their students’ work. Because their mailboxes were so small, professors moved old messages into Outlook Data files (PST) to help manage the size of their mailboxes. Some professors had more than 25 gigabytes (GB) of message data stored in these PST files. They would store the PST files on network file shares, which not only decreased the performance of Outlook, but also occupied valuable space on the network.

Faced with a large amount of messaging data to store, the university purchased more storage and raised mailbox quotas to 5 GB, but people continued to exceed the limits. The cost of storage was becoming an issue for the school. UTSA implemented Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for document storage and management, but it found people continued to use email to store important documents. While the IT team believed that over time more people would begin to use SharePoint Server to store documents, they needed a more immediate solution.

IT Solution and Benefits
At first, UTSA considered upgrading its on-premises messaging solution to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, which offers more flexible and cost-effective storage options than Exchange Server 2003. However, the university also decided to consider transitioning its messaging solution to a cloud-based service to help reduce costs and administration. Ultimately, UTSA decided to transition to Microsoft Office 365, which combines the familiar Office desktop with enhanced cloud-based communication and collaboration services. With Office 365, UTSA could move its messaging solution to Microsoft Exchange Online, which offers it many of the same capabilities as Exchange Server 2010 with fewer administrative and hardware requirements.

By moving its messaging solution into the cloud with Office 365, UTSA can provide better service for faculty and staff without the need to acquire additional hardware or hire additional support. Instead, it can continue to provide the same level—or better—of service that faculty and staff have come to expect.

With the transition to Exchange Online, UTSA will reduce costs in a number of areas. “Using a hosted email solution, we can reduce our hardware costs, in addition to reducing our overall data center costs for power and cooling,” says Kyle Tuffentsamer, Analyst, University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Read the full story here to learn how UTSA is using the Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011 messaging and collaboration client as well as Active Directory Federation Services, and Office 365's built-in Forefront Online Protection for Exchange. You'll also learn how they plan to use Exchange Online's role-based access control, enhanced scripting with Remote PowerShell, and the delegate access and legal hold features; all available in Office 365's Exchange Online capabilities.


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