The "e-migration" to Columbia's new email servers that began in September is well under way and should be completed by March 2006. Thirteen thousand students and staff are already using the enhanced system, which provides six times more storage for students than before (250 megabytes as compared to the current 40) and quicker performance.
Each day, new groups of staff and students are migrated over to the new system, a process that entails no more than a 15-minute interruption of e-mail service (to maximize productivity and minimize hassles, the migrations take place during early mornings and evenings).
The effort to migrate all 66,000 Columbia users is going smoothly despite last month's widespread email problems, which Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) vice president Candace Fleming says were not connected to the migration to Cyrus but rather to a failure of one server in the old e-mail system.
But in general, Fleming adds, "as we move people to this much more reliable and higher capacity e-mail system, even those remaining temporarily on the old system should notice better performance."
Students and staff can continue using the same software, and all old messages are transferred during the migration process. CubMail requires no adjustment after a switch to the new system, while programs such as Thunderbird, Outlook and Apple Mail will require a simple reconfiguration that takes only a minute or two. Instructions and assistance for this are available both online and through the CUIT helpdesk.
CUIT based the new system on the Cyrus mail server developed at Carnegie-Mellon University after user feedback highlighted the need for more storage and faster response. Columbia bought nearly 20 new servers to implement the Cyrus system.
For more information on the Cryus initiative, go to http://www.columbia.edu/acis/email/cyrus/