Durham University moves into the cloud with Office 365

The migration of around 16,000 student and staff accounts took about six weeks

Durham University has migrated its email to the cloud by deploying the on-demand Office 365 suite.

Prior to the move the university used Microsoft Exchange 2003 for student and staff email, with staff given access to the full client and students limited to Outlook Web Access (OWA), with greater restrictions on mailbox quotas.

Prior to moving to the cloud, the university had to manage all its accounts and the restriction placed on students was something the university wanted to change.

The migration of around 16,000 student and staff accounts took about six weeks.

A Durham University spokesperson said: “It is still very early days in terms of gauging the reaction of our students to the new service, but there is no question that Office 365 provides a modern, clean and flexible email service that is incomparable to the old, limiting OWA that we have moved from.”

They added: “To date we have limited functionality to email and calendar but the additional functions, like SharePoint and Lync unified communications, available to us are very attractive and we would expect to broaden our use in the not too distant future.”

The procurement of the system was through the framework deal Microsoft and university network provider Janet signed in 2012. The purpose of the framework is to enable the education sector to easily harness the benefits of the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 offering, both financially and technically.

Microsoft says 70 percent of UK higher education institutions are now in the cloud with Microsoft as a result of this framework.