Dear ITS staff,

 

Please give me you thoughts on the way this document is developing.  I started it as an unformatted text message, but found it was going to be too long not to have formatting.  It may yet be too long anyway.  If you think so, propose a shorter version.

 

When it is complete, I want to send it to the computing committees, mainly as a formality, but also to glean insights from a wider audience before sending it to the campus.

 

I do not expect the formatted version to come out well in everybody’s current mail reader, some of whom may only have text readers still.  So I will post it on the web and include the URL.  The URL is http://www.andrews.edu/ITS/policies/email.htm.

 

I tried to email this to myself just now to see if it comes through the email OK, but guess what, nothing is being delivered just now.

 

David

 

Changes To Delivery of Andrews Email

David Heise

Friday, August 31, 2001

 

CONTENTS

1.     Introduction

2.     Email Access Protocols

3.     Accessing Email From Multiple Machines

4.     Changes For Users Of Each Protocol

5.     Upgrade Timeline

1.   Introduction

As some of you may have noticed, email at Andrews has been suffering increasingly from periods of slowdown or intermittent interruptions to service.  This situation has arisen because of a tremendous increase in the number and size of email messages being processed.  The server software we are using is no longer able to keep up with the demand, and at certain times of the day, it refuses to receive new mail because it is so overwhelmed.

 

ITS system administrators have been studying the problem and have a solution they will be ready to implement in a few weeks time.  The purpose of this email is to alert you to the timeline for the upgrade, changes you may notice in the way your email is presented, and changes that may need to be made to your email software setup.

2.   Email Access Protocols

Most people access their email from client software running on their personal computer, such as Outlook Express, Outlook, or Netscape Messenger.  There are two protocols in use for providing access to your account on the mail server – POP3 (Post Office Protocol, version 3) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).  With POP3, the mail is downloaded to the PC.  By default, it is deleted from the server following each download, but there is a configuration option that allows the mail to be kept on the server as well.  With IMAP, the mail does not download to the PC, but is always accessed on the server.

3.   Accessing Email From Multiple Machines

The IMAP protocol provides the ideal way to access your email from multiple machines, since your Inbox and other folders reside on the server.  But it is a more recent protocol, and many people with this requirement have been set up using POP3 with the option to keep email on the server.  With the upgrade we are planning to do, the option use the POP3 protocol and keep the mail on the server will no longer be available.  We will assist those with a requirement to access their email from multiple machines to migrate to the IMAP protocol, if that has not already been done.

4.   Changes For Users Of Each Protocol

One of the changes that are being planned is to migrate all Netscape Messenger and Outlook Express client software to Microsoft Outlook.  This step is in preparation for the implementation of the Microsoft Exchange server for groupware, including calendar sharing.  Other changes depend on the mail access protocol currently being used.

4.1       For those using IMAP

4.1.1      Changes To Your Setup

The server names are changing:

Incoming    From       <username>.pop.andrews .edu

                  To           imap.andrews.edu

Outgoing    From       outbox.pop.andrews.edu

                  To           outbox.andrews.edu

 

In Outlook, this is done as follows:

4.1.2      Changes You Will Observe

When we convert to the new server, you will notice one change.  All your folders will now be presented as sub-folders of the Inbox.  Just click the + in front of the Inbox folder to expand the folder listing.

4.2       For those using POP3 With Delete From Server

4.2.1      Changes To Your Setup

You will continue to use <username>.pop.andrews.edu as the server name for your incoming (POP3) mail. 

 

The Outgoing server (SMTP) name is changing:

                  From       outbox.pop.andrews.edu

                  To           outbox.andrews.edu

 

To change your outgoing mail server name in Outlook, do the following:

4.2.2      Changes You Will Observe

You will observe no change following the upgrade, apart from improved mail delivery performance.

4.3       For those using POP3 With Hold On Server

This is the same as the previous method, with one important distinction - a configuration option is checked requesting that messages are kept on the server after being downloaded.

4.3.1      Changes To Your Setup

If you need to access your mail from multiple machines, you will need to have your mail folders converted to IMAP folders on the server.  Your ITS PC Support Technician will make an appointment with you to make this conversion.

4.3.2      Changes You Will Observe

You will still be able create and populate mail folders on your local machine, all of your folders will now be presented as sub-folders of the Inbox.  Just click the + in front of the Inbox folder to expand the folder listing.

 

[To ITS: I need a lot of help with the rest of this.  This is only a rough draft at this stage.]

5.   Upgrade Timeline

5.1       Migrate Inboxes for those using POP3 With Hold On Server

Migrate read mail in Inboxes of POP3 users to an IMAP folder called ReadPOPMail.  This mail will not be visible to POP3 clients, but can be read via the web mail until the client software is switched to IMAP.  A batch process has been developed to perform this migration.  When it is run, the workload on the mail server will be significantly reduced since the current technology is severely hampered by the large size of some users’ inboxes.

 

For the time being, your mail will continue to accumulate in the Inbox after it is ‘popped’ unless you uncheck the option to leave messages on the server

 

When:

This is ready to run now.  We could run it Monday night, and be ready to answer questions on Tuesday.  What sort of notice do users need before we run this?

5.2       Conversion of POP3 With Hold On Server to IMAP

This conversion step needs to be done with one-on-one assistance from PC Support Specialists.  Users will need to be given instructions and training on converting their home machines.  Once this is complete, the option to keep mail on the server after popping it will be disabled.

 

When:

Client Services can begin making appointments with users to start this conversion as soon as a couple of items are resolved.

  1. Settle on server names, and prove them with adequate testing
  2. Test Outlook in this configuration to identify and resolve any difficulties, and to obtain support experience in handling a variety of user requirements and expectations

5.3       Convert to the new mail server software

In this step, all server-based email will be converted and formatted for the new mail server software package.  It is following this step that IMAP users will see that their mail folders are converted to sub-folders of the Inbox.

 

When:

We had set ourselves a goal of September 21 for this when we had our meeting.  I think is might be a little overly ambitious, given the work that Client Services will have to do visiting so many machines, and their holiday schedules.  The relief brought about by moving Inboxes to ReadPOPMail, and then to a lesser extent moving POP3 clients to IMAP, the current configuration can be expected to cope better than it is currently.  Does this make Columbus Day more feasible for this conversion?