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United Arab Emirates University Enhances Messaging While Saving IT Time and Cutting Storage Costs

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  • 1. Microsoft Education Case Study University Enhances Messaging While Saving IT Time and Cutting Storage CostsOverviewCountry or Region: United Arab EmiratesIndustry: Education—UniversitiesCustomer ProfileEstablished in 1976, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the premiere University in the country. UAEU offers undergraduate and advanced degree programs in a range of subjects and has about 12,000 students and 700 faculty members.Business SituationThe University email system was limited and hard to manage, and the growing number of lifelong email accounts that UAEU provides to its alumni were becoming costly.SolutionUAEU deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and migrated its alumni email accounts to the Microsoft Live@edu cloud service.BenefitsLowered storage costsReduced workload for IT support staffFlexible communication“With Live@edu, there is no cost, and we were impressed by the technical quality of the service, the large amount of storage space, the timesaving features, and the simplified management.”Muna Al Hammadi, Executive Director, Vice Chancellor’s Office, UAEU The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) relies heavily on email. The University’s existing Sun messaging system offered limited features and was becoming harder to manage as it approached its end-of-life, and the University’s policy of providing alumni with lifelong email accounts was growing expensive. High storage costs also restricted users to small mailboxes. UAEU replaced its Sun system with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 for on-campus users and—after considering Google Apps for Education—it chose Microsoft Live@edu for its alumni accounts. Exchange Server 2007 offers flexible storage options, so UAEU can provide larger mailboxes at a lower cost. Live@edu users also have access to larger mailboxes, in addition to web-based productivity tools like Microsoft Office and Excel. The University was able to complete the deployment in-house, saving more than U.S.$270,000. <br />0000<br />Situation<br />The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) offers undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and continuing-education programs in subject areas such as humanities, social sciences, education, business, medicine, and law. Based in Al Ain, the University has about 12,500 students and 750 faculty members. <br />UAEU relies heavily on email and other communication and collaboration tools. Students, faculty, and staff use such tools in their daily work, and the University also has a policy of providing lifelong email accounts to alumni. Including the 55,000 alumni who use the University email system, UAEU currently manages about 75,000 email accounts, a number that increases with each year’s graduating class.<br />About three years ago, the University’s Sun Java System Messaging Server email system began struggling to keep pace with the needs of the University. The system’s calendaring capabilities were limited and did not include sharing. Interfaces were not intuitive and frustrated both users and administrators. Storage limits forced the IT department to restrict users to relatively small mailboxes, and performance was slow. In addition, management was costly and complex, and it was difficult to defend the system against unsolicited bulk email messages.<br />As the Sun system approached the end of its life, UAEU began searching for a messaging solution that could provide larger mailboxes and a wider range of tools and features for users, such as calendar sharing. T5403852080895“The migration to Exchange Server 2007 has totally revamped the way the University interacts with its community…. Compared with our previous email system, we are now receiving many fewer email-related support calls.” Muhammad Aamir Idris, Manager, IT Support Service, United Arab Emirates University00“The migration to Exchange Server 2007 has totally revamped the way the University interacts with its community…. Compared with our previous email system, we are now receiving many fewer email-related support calls.” Muhammad Aamir Idris, Manager, IT Support Service, United Arab Emirates Universityhe new solution would need to provide more extensive archiving, stronger security features, and faster performance. The University also wanted to reduce the cost of offering lifelong email accounts to its alumni.<br />Solution<br />In early 2009, UAEU replaced its existing on-premises email system with a messaging solution based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. For alumni email accounts, UAEU decided that the best solution would be a cloud service. The University considered Google Apps for Education but instead chose the Microsoft Live@edu cloud service to host the accounts. <br />One reason for the University’s decision to deploy Live@edu was the lack of calendar-sharing interoperability between Google Apps for Education and Exchange Server 2007. The Google service was also not as compatible as Exchange Server 2007 with the electronic discovery, auditing, and other legal requirements that UAEU must comply with. In addition, with the University’s IT department already supporting an on-premises messaging solution based on Exchange Server 2007, it would be simpler for the University to support alumni in the Exchange Server environment of Live@edu. Also, new UAEU alumni would find it easier to transition to Live@edu, because they would already be familiar with the on-premises Exchange Server 2007 solution.<br />The UAEU Live@edu solution provides users with an Exchange Server–based webmail service called Microsoft Outlook Live messaging and collaboration client. The service uses the Microsoft Outlook Web App as its interface and provides each user with 10 gigabytes (GB) of mailbox storage space. <br />Besides email, users have access to instant messaging, video and audio chatting, application sharing, and file transfers. They also can access contact information for students, faculty, staff, and alumni because Live@edu interoperates with the UAEU Active Directory service that Exchange Server 2007 also uses.<br />In addition, Live@edu users can take advantage of 25 GB of storage space for documents, photos, videos, and other files on Windows Live SkyDrive. The solution also provides users with the Microsoft Office Web Apps productivity suite, including web-based versions of familiar applications like Microsof5403852057400“Live@edu solution integrates very smoothly with our current infrastructure. The users have even more new features and new interfaces to access the email services.”Muhammad Imran, Manager of Email and Collaboration Services, United Arab Emirates University00“Live@edu solution integrates very smoothly with our current infrastructure. The users have even more new features and new interfaces to access the email services.”Muhammad Imran, Manager of Email and Collaboration Services, United Arab Emirates Universityt Office, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, and Microsoft PowerPoint presentation graphics program.<br />With Exchange Server 2007, UAEU has access to integrated security tools for countering spam and phishing messages. The technology offers flexible journaling to support compliance with organizational, regulatory, and legal requirements. Also, the Exchange Server 2007 architecture uses cluster continuous replication (CCR) to maintain multiple copies of the most recent mailbox data, so UAEU has the option of using less expensive direct-attached storage (DAS) to provide larger mailboxes at lower cost. The CCR-based architecture also increases the system’s redundancy and availability. Both the Exchange Server 2007 and Live@edu deployments include Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which synchronizes inbox and calendar data between users’ computers, email, and mobile devices.<br />UAEU deployed Live@edu and began migrating alumni mailboxes onto it in mid-2010. Since then, almost all alumni mailboxes have been moved with no system down time or interruption of service for users. The deployment process for both Exchange Server 2007 and Live@edu was simple enough that the University IT department was able to complete it without outside assistance.<br />Benefits<br />By deploying Exchange Server 2007 and Live@edu, UAEU reduced costs even as it provided larger mailboxes to users. The support department’s workload has decreased, and users have access to a wider range of messaging and collaboration tools.<br />Lowered Storage Costs<br />Exchange Server 2007 and Live@edu are helping UAEU achieve better business outcomes while controlling the costs of deployment, hardware, maintenance, and operation. The new solution offers a significantly lower cost of ownership compared with its previous messaging system. <br />For example, UAEU can switch to lower cost storage for its on-premises messaging solution while avoiding storage costs altogether for its cloud-based alumni email accounts. As a result, the cost per mailbox is now lower even though users have larger mailboxes than before. <br />Also, the University no longer needs to maintain the email infrastructure it used for its previous messaging system, reducing power, staff, and facilities expenses. And because the deployment of the new solution was completed entirely in-house, UAEU saved more than U.S.$270,000.<br />“With Live@edu, there is no cost, and we were impressed by the technical quality of the service, the large amount of storage space, the timesaving features, and the simplified management,” says Muna Al Hammadi, the Executive Director of the Vice Chancellor’s Office at UAEU. “Live@edu is also very reliable and offers robust security tools.”<br />Reduced Workload for IT Support Staff<br />The Exchange Server 2007 deployment has also reduced the workload of the IT department’s user support staff. “The migration to Exchange Server 2007 has totally revamped the way the University interacts with its community,” says Muhammad Aamir Idris, Manager of the UAEU IT Support Service. “Users are feeling more secure and have become more productive. Compared with our previous email system, we are now receiving many fewer email-related support calls.”<br />More Flexible Communication Tools<br />With the new solution, UAEU students, faculty, staff, and alumni have access to a wider range of communication and collaboration tools. It is easier for them to assemble work groups, share information, plan projects, and make decisions. Users can choose from email, instant messages, video chats, or audio chats, so they can use just the right communication tool for reaching just the right person. They are also able to access their inboxes from both their PCs and their mobile devices. “The Live@edu solution integrates very smoothly with our current infrastructure,” says Muhammad Imran, Manager of Email and Collaboration Services for UAEU. “Users have even more new features and new interfaces to access the email services.” <br />Imran feels confident relying on such widely adopted messaging tools. “We believe that Exchange Server is one of the most powerful email solutions available, and this is why it is becoming the standard in our industry. We like that Live@edu offers a similar experience in the cloud, at no cost.”<br />28575007732395Software and ServicesMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioMicrosoft Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise EditionMicrosoft Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007ServicesMicrosoft Live@eduTechnologiesActive DirectoryMicrosoft Exchange ActiveSyncMicrosoft Outlook Web AppHardwareDell PowerEdge 2950 server computersEMC CLARiiON CX3-80 Networked Storage SystemDell EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays00Software and ServicesMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioMicrosoft Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise EditionMicrosoft Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007ServicesMicrosoft Live@eduTechnologiesActive DirectoryMicrosoft Exchange ActiveSyncMicrosoft Outlook Web AppHardwareDell PowerEdge 2950 server computersEMC CLARiiON CX3-80 Networked Storage SystemDell EqualLogic PS6000 storage arrays5549908255000This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published April 201100This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published April 20115403852056765For More InformationFor more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.comFor more information about United Arab Emirates University products and services, call (971) (3) 755 5557 or visit the Web site at: www.uaeu.ac.ae00For More InformationFor more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:www.microsoft.comFor more information about United Arab Emirates University products and services, call (971) (3) 755 5557 or visit the Web site at: www.uaeu.ac.aeMicrosoft Education<br />Microsoft technology, programs, and solutions can improve teaching and learning opportunities for instructors and students and make education administration more successful.<br />For more information about Microsoft Education please go to:<br />www.microsoft.com/educationwww.microsoft.com/education/schoolswww.microsoft.com/education/highered<br />

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