The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) is the latest Australian university to sign up to Microsoft's cloud-based email service Live@edu, announcing to students today that they will move to the system in December.
Students at the university were informed of the impending move in an email sent out this morning by IT infrastructure and operations director Peter James. James said the system will still be known as Webmail, but that students will now have 10-gigabyte storage limits for their inbox as well as access to calendars and contact lists.
Student email is currently housed internally for students, but UTS deputy director of IT Chris Cahill told ZDNet Australia that storage issues had meant the university couldn't resist the move to cloud-based email.
"The value proposition presented by both Microsoft and Google is just compelling for universities at the moment. It made sense for us to make a move from a platform that we were running in-house ourselves. This is a far better offering for students that we can't compete with internally," he said.
Cahill said that the university had established an evaluation committee to which both Microsoft and Google presented strong cases for their individual offerings.
"It was very close. You couldn't make a wrong decision with it," he said. Microsoft just beat out Google on support and because the university had existing Microsoft systems, with staff already using Outlook mail services.
"I think what swung it in the end was that we were using a substantial amount of the Microsoft stack anyway," he said. "Microsoft also made a very strong presence promoting and supporting the product on-site whereas I think the Google support was web-based."
The move to the new system is scheduled to take place between 1 December and 24 December 2010. Cahill said the university chose the transition period to fall after the end-of-year exams and before the summer session started in January to minimise the impact on students.
"We picked the time that is least disruptive," he said.
UTS is the latest in a line of universities jumping to Microsoft's Live@edu email service. The University of Western Sydney, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and the Australian Catholic University have also implemented the hosted email system.