Campus-wide switch to new e-mail, calendar service begins

Information Technology Services has begun the rollout of a new e-mail and calendar service that will replace Webmail and Sundial (Oracle Calendar) in phases for all campus computer users over the next nine months. Powering the integrated web-based e-mail and calendar interface is a technology product called Zimbra.

IT Services will be the first to use the new service, with the department's e-mail already switched over and its calendar set for conversion on July 21. The migration for the rest of campus will be staged, with students switching over in August, Sundial users in October, and for all remaining faculty and staff, from November through March 2009.

IT Services has staggered the conversion to provide time to thoroughly test the tools and prepare extensive documentation and training materials. The experiences in IT Services will provide a strong foundation for an easier transition for the rest of the university. Support teams across campus will have additional opportunities to become familiar with the new tools.

IT Services is working with representatives from various schools and departments to advise on planning, make key transition-related decisions for their areas and help prepare everyone for the change. Many departments across campus also are offering local demonstrations of the new tools.

Zimbra was selected because the technology allows access to e-mail, calendar and contact lists from a single, unified web interface—enabling easy sharing of information among the various services, according to Ammy Hill, campus readiness specialist for IT Services. She added that Zimbra is an open-source, standards-based solution that works equally well on Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

After moving to the new tool, everyone with a full-service SUNet ID will have access to the new Stanford E-mail and Calendar system. If you choose, you can continue to use your current desktop e-mail software. Hill said Stanford E-mail and Calendar provides a fully integrated experience for users of Outlook on Windows or Apple Mail and iCal on Macintosh.

(IT Services has been encouraging users of Eudora to switch to another e-mail program because its maker, Qualcomm, no longer supports the version used on campus.)

A preview of the integrated system will be presented on July 17, from noon to 1 p.m., as part of the Tech Express Series. The brown-bag session will be held in Turing Auditorium (Polya Hall, Room 111). Additional information is available at the project website,