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Queen's University

Undergraduate Student Email Service Update


On Saturday, January 26, 2013, undergraduate students were successfully migrated to their new email service, Microsoft Office 365.



A New Email and Calendaring Solution for Undergraduate Students


ITServices has been exploring options for a new email and calendaring solution for students that will provide reliable, feature-rich functionality, a robust web interface, seamless integration with mobile devices, and compatibility with systems already in place on campus.


icon representing email, calendar, tasks, contacts and mobile integration for O365

The current email system for students at Queen’s was implemented in 2007 using the Java Enterprise System (JES) Communication Suite from Sun Microsystems. However, when Oracle Corporation acquired Sun in 2009, they declared that the JES Communication Suite was not strategic to the company in the long term, and would be on a sustain-only support model. Investigations and consultations with the community about a new solution have been ongoing since that time.


Choosing a Student Email Direction


In late 2011, it was decided that service for students will be outsourced to an online service provider such as Google or Microsoft. Our CIO and AVP (Information Technology Services), Bo Wandschneider, writes about this in his blog post, 
Is there a silver lining in the Student email cloud?


Going with an externally hosted solution offers many benefits in that they:


  • are available free (without licensing costs) to both the University and the student;
  • can accommodate an email address;
  • can integrate with our existing identity management systems;
  • can operate advertising-free, and
  • can provide a higher level of service (up time) than is currently provided to students by our in-house services.

In 2012, Microsoft Office 365 (O365) was identified as the preferred email and calendar solution for undergraduate students. Learn more about how this solution was chosen.


What is Microsoft Office 365?


Office 365 is a web-based suite of software from Microsoft that offers secure, anytime, anywhere access to email and calendars, Office Web Apps, instant messaging, file sharing and more! The first phase of implementation - the email and calendar functionality - will take place in early 2013 and will include the following:


  • Email — 25 gigabytes of storage space! Yup, that's 25GB as opposed to the current 100MB mailbox quota
  • Calendar — manage your schedule, book meetings, share your calendar with others
  • Tasks — create daily to-do lists and set reminders
  • Contacts — store your contacts and then access them from any computer or mobile device



  • Larger mailbox (from 100MB to 25GB!)
  • Fully integrated email, calendar, tasks and contacts
  • Feature-rich web interface
  • Seamless mobile integration
  • Compatibility with staff and faculty email & calendaring system
  • 99.9% up-time

Other functionality in the Office 365 Suite will be implemented following the email and calendar migration.


Migration Timeline and Process


The student email migration is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013. The process will begin overnight (12:01 a.m.) and as soon as it does, there will be an interval of service disruption where migrating account holders will have no access to their Queen's email. This outage is expected to last no longer than 12 hours, but for many will be shorter depending on where they are in the queue of 45,000 accounts that are being migrated.


During the migration process, users will be able to access a tool called "Tell Me About My Queen's Email". This will let them know if their account is scheduled to be migrated, in transition, or finished migrating. It will also provide information such as the URL for the new web interface and how to get help and support.


When the outage period is over, users will be able to log in to their Queen's email using the new Office 365 web interface at Users will continue to access their mail using their Queen's NetID and password.


The transition will include the migration of archived (current) email to the new system. As soon as users are able to log in to the Office 365 email and calendar web interface, they will be able to successfully send and receive new mail and see their archived mail. However, there may be a delay of 24-72 hours before 100% of archived mail will be fully migrated into the new system.


Every account holder who is being migrated will receive an email in early January with complete details about the process, including recommendations for things to do prior to migration.


Help & Support


If you have any questions about this project, please contact the IT Support Centre by calling 613.533.6666 during regular business hours or by filling out the online help form.




Updated 30 January 2012


Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 613.533.2000