Migration of Staff Email Service to Microsoft Exchange

by Henry Wong

The Committee on Information Services and Technology (CIST) has approved to adopt the Microsoft Exchange Server (Exchange) as the standard University email server for staff, and will phase out the current Sun Java System Messaging Server (JSMS) which is an old technology and must be replaced.

Exchange is an enterprise messaging solution that caters for individuals and collaborative usage.  It is more than an email system.  It is an enhanced, integrated and unified messaging system providing Email, Calendar, Scheduling, Resource Booking, Contacts (Address Books), Tasks, Notes, etc. on an integrated and unified platform.  All those data and services can easily be accessed anywhere through Microsoft Office Outlook, Outlook Web Access (OWA, the Webmail of Exchange) and mobile devices.  To utilize the features of Exchange (Ref: Network Computing Issue 65 - September 2010), users are strongly recommended to upgrade their email client software to Microsoft (MS) Outlook 2010 and their Office Software to MS Office 2010.

The campus-wide Exchange/Outlook Migration of Staff Email service will be carried out by the Computing Services Centre (CSC) on a “per department” basis. The objective of this exercise is to switch users’ email activities from accessing their JSMS accounts/mailboxes to their Exchange accounts/mailboxes, and the CSC will ensure that interruption to users’ daily email activities is reduced to a minimum during the migration/switch-over.

There will be NO change on the Account-IDs and Email Addresses of users after their email have been migrated to Exchange. However, users should be aware that the password of their Primary Exchange account is the “Network Connection Password” that they are using to logon Staff LAN, Student LAN, Wireless LAN, and VPN services. For many users, this may be different from the password that they use to logon their old JSMS email account.

Before migration takes place for a particular department, the CSC will first discuss with departmental DNAs on the logistics and technical details of the migration exercise. The CSC staff will then contact every user in the department in due course to arrange a convenient time for deploying Exchange on their office PC. This will involve the following tasks:

  1. Migrate email client software to MS Outlook 2010 if user is not using MS Outlook to access email (this may take several hours depending on user’s email data volume)
  2. Upgrade Outlook version to 2010 if user is using earlier versions of Outlook (this may take 1-2 hours and can be performed during lunch time)
  3. Set up user’s Exchange account(s) in Outlook (this will take about 15 minutes)
  4. Set up email redirection in user’s account(s) to redirect user’s incoming email to Exchange. User’s email activity will be switched over to Exchange upon performing this task.

After the switchover, new email sent to the user’s CityU email address will be delivered to the user’s Exchange mailbox for his/her retrieval. Although the user can still access old email in his/her old JSMS mailbox, email arrived after the switchover will no longer be delivered there.

For those users who, for some reasons, still need to access their email with email clients other than Outlook, the following changes need to be made to their email clients in order to retrieve new mail from their Exchange mailbox:

  • For users who accessed their JSMS accounts with POP3 configuration:
    Change the Incoming Mail (POP3) Server in the email client to “mail.um.cityu.edu.hk”, and with secure/encrypted connection enabled.
  • For users who accessed their JSMS account with IMAP configuration:
    Add a new IMAP account in the email client, with the Incoming Mail (IMAP) Server set to “mail.um.cityu.edu.hk”, and with secure/encrypted connection enabled

(More detailed information can be obtained from http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/deptweb/support/faq/email/exchange/non-outlook.htm. In addition to Outlook 2010, users can also use a Web browser to access their Exchange mailboxes with Outlook Web Access (OWA) - the Webmail for Exchange at http://webmail.um.cityu.edu.hk.)

Moreover, the user needs to set up email auto-forwarding again in the Exchange account if such a setting was made in the JSMS account before.

After the switchover, the user’s old email will still be kept in his/her JSMS mailbox. By setting up the Exchange account together with the JSMS account (either with POP3 or IMAP configuration) in the same Outlook profile, the user can easily transfer (copy or move) his/her needed old email messages to the Exchange mailbox from either the Outlook Personal folders (if user accessed the JSMS account with POP3), or JSMS mailbox folders (if user accessed the JSMS account with IMAP). The user can also transfer his/her Calendar, Contacts and Tasks data from the Outlook's Personal folders to the Exchange mailbox, so that he/she can easily access those data anytime anywhere using Outlook, Outlook Web Access (Webmail for Exchange) or even Smart phone/PDA.

Staff training courses on MS Office/Outlook 2010 and Exchange are available and users are free to enroll via the AIMS’s Staff Development System.

For more information on Exchange implementation, please visit “Exchange Migration Q & A” at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/deptweb/support/faq/email/exchange/Migration_QnA.htm, and “FAQ on Exchange System” at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/csc/deptweb/support/faq/email/exchange/.