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Committee on Information Technology

Minutes of the December 5, 2006, meeting of the Committee on Information Technology

Present:  Jon Christman, Jay Dominick, Paul Escott, Luis González, Joshua King, Wei-chin Lee, Jo Lowe, Delphine Masse, Jeff Muday, Lee Norris, Susan Smith, Lynn Sutton, and Stan Thomas.

The only agenda item for the day was the final discussion and vote on the move to the Microsoft Exchange server infrastructure, with the option for staff or faculty to use Microsoft Outlook email, if they wish.

Lee Norris compared Thunderbird (Pop3), Thunderbird (IMAP), Outlook Web Access and Outlook using 10 different features. The first program supports 3 of those features, the second 5, the third 8 and Outlook supports all of them. Lee also did a demo on the functionality of the Exchange infrastructure. Lee observed that many staff members use the calendar, a feature supported only by Outlook. In addition, Outlook is the only program that provides integration with mobile devices, and it also supports SSL (an encryption technology for passwords and text). Finally, Lee emphasized the portability of email with the last three programs, and the fact that Outlook also provides automatic archiving.

Jeff Muday asked several questions, with the understanding that the answer for some of them might not be available now. He had questions about security, faculty/staff/student quota in the server, privacy, target implementation date, tools available for the migration, among others. Jay and Lee answered that the implementation date would not be decided until the move was approved; Outlook is no more vulnerable to security threats than other packages; the current system of double filtering in the servers has been working very well; privacy issues will be dealt with according to the computer policy and the new security standard to be adopted starting this coming spring. As per server quota, Jay estimated that faculty members could easily get a gigabyte.

Stan Thomas stated that he still had concerns about the cost/benefit of the move. The migration to Exchange at the University of Tennessee required twice the amount of servers, and a project that was anticipated to be complete in 12 months was already at 18 months and not there yet. To these concerns, Lee Norris responded that the server requirements would not be much different than what the university currently has. Jay estimated that the cost of implementation will be less than what the university is currently paying for the Oracle calendar. Jay also said that Law and Babcock already use Exchange and IS supports it.

Paul Escott asked whether more discussion was needed. Since there was not an indication to that effect, he proceeded to ask whether we were ready to vote, and ask for a motion.  Luis González proposed a motion to move to the Exchange infrastructure. The motion was seconded and passed with one vote against.
The CIT will soon take up the question of what email program to use for students entering in fall 2007.

Actions taken

The CIT approved to move to the Exchange infrastructure.
Prepared and submitted by Luis González


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