Admin move to 'Xeda' starts to get results

An effort to improve electronic campus communications, launched in late 2004, started paying off this summer when the Office of Administration moved its user system accounts and email to a centralized system nicknamed "Xeda."

The change sounds highly technical, but it's practical. Paul Drobny, manager of systems technology for Student Affairs--some units in his department have also made the switch--has seen an immediate gain for his area. Based on early indications, he said, "the workgroup functionality of the Exchange service is a much-welcomed office productivity boost."

In 2004, wanting to improve online collaboration and communication among the various departments and divisions of UC Davis, the Office of Administration (OOA) and Information and Educational Technology (IET) began working to centralize their Active Directory and Exchange services (the formal name for Xeda) for the management of individual network access, email, calendars, and file-sharing.

The switch to Xeda is intended to make it easier for participants to share online scheduling calendars and set up meetings among participants; simplify the management of systems and resources; and cut overhead costs. Users also gain access to their email and other online information from anyplace with an Internet connection.

Many users had previously used other software programs to accomplish those tasks. Even departments that already used Active Directory and Exchange had managed them independently, creating a complex infrastructure that was difficult to maintain. Moving to Xeda means switching from multiple tools to one integrated system that offers new ways to work together.

Departments in the Office of Administration finished moving over to Xeda this summer. IET has begun to convert. Other campus offices that have switched include the Office of Research, the Office of Resource Management and Planning, and some units of Student Affairs.

More than 1,400 people in the Office of Administration now use Xeda.

"Making such a big change wasn't easy for an organization our size, but the challenge itself helped to increase dialogue and strengthen relationships--both among our own departments and between OOA and IET," said Jeff Barrett, technology director in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration.

"Having a shared calendaring system has been a huge benefit for our scheduling staff," he said, "and the common computing infrastructure provides an excellent foundation for our technical staff to collaborate on future solutions."

"Xeda" is taken from Active Directory and Exchange, read backwards. The "Xe" is from Exchange, the "da" from directory and active.

The new system has redundancy built throughout, according to Microsoft Corporation, which created the software, and uses pre-eminent technology and best practices for implementation.

The Active Directory and Exchange services are currently designed for staff and student-staff interactions only. With interest growing, IET can now offer the services to other departments that hope to share the benefits.

For more information, please contact Paul Singh, administrator of Xeda services, at, or Patrick Kelly, at On the Web, visit