Email and Calendar Migration Update

Early in the summer, CIS established a cross functional team to manage the conversion from locally hosted Zimbra mail to Google Apps for Education. Team members are Cindy Abercrombie, Mitch Shacklett, Calvin Tong, Andy Davenport and Veronica Hart. During the last two weeks of July, the team completed mail migrations from the mailbox-02 (Zimbra mail for students) mail server for class years 2008 – 2014, more than 700 mailboxes. They will soon work to complete mail migrations for remaining students on mailbox-02 who were not included in the standard migration process due to mismatches in student data and status, as part of a broader mail-server clean-up effort. Also, planning work has started for the migration from mailbox-01 (Zimbra mail for admin and faculty) to Microsoft 365 or Google Apps, which includes research of Microsoft migration tools and APIs available for use within a computing environment like HMC’s, where combinations of Active Directory, LDAP, Exchange, and Zimbra mail are used for production services.

Following Microsoft’s June announcement of the official launch of Microsoft Office 365, the team evaluated roadmaps and differences between MS live@edu and MS 365 with help from the Microsoft LiveEdUS Specialist Team. One primary difference with these MS cloud services is the per seat licensing for MS 365’s SharePoint, the replacement collaboration product for “consumer products” i.e. Word, Excel, PPT and One Note currently available with live@edu at no additional cost. The team will explore this issue further.

The team continues to explore technical service and support topics for email and calendaring with two cloud providers rather than one.

Please check the website (on Google Sites) to learn of updates about the email and calendar migration work.

CIS Help Desk moves to Sprague 1st Floor

As you may know, CIS moved from the basement of Parsons up to the 5th floor of Sprague this summer.  It was a big move, and we are mostly settled in.  Everyone is welcome to come up to take a look at our space (and our view!).  You can see the construction of the new building!

As a result of the move, we also moved the Help Desk from Parsons to the first floor of Sprague.  We decided to put the Help Desk on the first floor rather than the fifth floor for several reasons:

  • Our customers (you!) would be able to find us without having to come up to the 5th floor
  • We would be able to watch over the Learning Studio Classroom and help set up for classes
  • We would be able to help students who are studying or working in the Learning Studio
  • The first floor is a nice place to work in   :)

The Help Desk is currently located in the southeast corner of the Learning Studio.   It is directly across from the group work area, and diagonally across from the classroom.

We learned quite a bit from the old Help Desk down in Parsons, and we plan to apply that knowledge towards building a more-accessible, comfortable, and technologically-advanced Help Desk in Sprague.
For example, at the old Help Desk, we had a L-shaped sit-down desk.  We found that when we worked on a computer with a customer, the customer would often kneel on the ground to try to work on the computer.  We also did not have enough space for more than 1 customer at a time, and cables were strung everywhere for power and Ethernet.

The new Help Desk will have a walk-up counter with comfortable stools, and we’ll be able to help 2-3 people at a time.  Both CIS staff and the customer will have the option to stand or sit down during the consultation.  We’ll have power and Ethernet ports in the counter for easy access, and we’ll have LED-backlit LCD screens behind us for any demos or messages.

If you have any suggestions for what makes a good Help Desk area, we’d love to hear it!  You can either add a comment to this blog post, or contact Calvin at calvin@hmc.edu or x71073.