The campus email migration is underway

Get ready to say goodbye to Cyrus/Geckomail, the central email system that much of the campus has used for several years. UC Davis will retire it, as well as dozens of smaller departmental email systems, as departments move to one of three main options for their email, shared calendars, and related collaboration needs.

The three services people are moving to are DavisMail, based on Google's Gmail and Google Apps; uConnect Cloud, which is based on Office 365 from Microsoft and is sometimes referred to simply as Office 365; and uConnect Local, the existing campus uConnect service, also known as "uConnect on premise" or "on premise Exchange."

As of early July, 22 departments had migrated to a new email system, and another 75 were in progress. They can choose any of the three services; each has advantages (see this list of features). So far, most are choosing uConnect Cloud.

Mark Thonen, who's managing the campus Email and Collaboration Services (ECS) project, has talked with 156 of the 413 campus departments and units so far. At the meetings he describes the project, presents options, and answers questions. Some departments are moving as a group to one of the three services; some are allowing their faculty or staff to decide individually which service they want.

Regardless, Cyrus/Geckomail is targeted to go away by the end of 2014, so anyone who uses it now will have to choose a new option. Students will continue to use DavisMail, as they have since 2008. Some units and departments that have traditionally run their own email services are taking advantage of the ECS project to retire those smaller systems.

"The campus currently spends approximately $2.3 million annually on over 90 email systems, so consolidating these services will provide significant savings and improve communications," said Gabriel Youtsey, interim assistant chief information officer in the Office of the Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology (IET).

Impact on individuals

The effect of the migration will vary from department to department, depending on the service they use now and the one they choose. Faculty and staff should consult with their departments on how the change will affect them as individuals. The ECS project website offers option comparisons, project news, and migration support information. Service information and FAQs can be found in the IT Service Catalog.

Moving does not require any changes to email addresses.

IET will be available to assist departments as they move from Cyrus to their new system.

uConnect Cloud and DavisMail are centrally funded, with no charge to campus departments. The uConnect Local service incurs a monthly charge per mailbox, which will rise as the service moves to a full cost-recovery model. However, departments that already use uConnect Local have time to move to uConnect Cloud or DavisMail before the higher recharge fee kicks in.

The uConnect Local service is hosted "on premise," which means the data is stored in machines at the UC Davis data center. DavisMail and uConnect Cloud are "cloud" services, where the data is stored offsite.

About 7,000 people, including more than 3,700 staff and 2,200 faculty, currently use Cyrus/Geckomail. Starting in August, new UC Davis email users will no longer receive a Cyrus mailbox.

Departments that have already moved

Information and Educational Technology adopted uConnect Cloud last summer. Since then, these groups have migrated to uConnect Cloud:

  • Safety Services
  • BFTV Cluster Admin
  • Information Technology Services
  • Fire Prevention Services
  • Institute for Animal Care & Use
  • Teaching/Research Animal Care Services
  • Office of Research IT Staff