The University Record, January 21, 2002

Upgrades to e-mail improve space, speed

By Martin May

As of Jan. 18, the size of all Information Technology Central Services (ITCS) e-mail mailboxes increased from 30 to 40 megabytes. This change affects the mailboxes of faculty, staff and students and means there is now more room for storing messages on the IMAP servers—the computers where e-mail messages are stored.

“We upgraded the physical hardware, which includes more memory, faster CPUs, additional drives and higher bandwidth,” says Wes Craig, technologist with ITCS who led the upgrade effort. In addition to greater space, users will have quicker loading off the Internet and faster opening of their e-mail mailboxes, Craig says.

ITCS began purchasing hardware components at the end of last fiscal year. In Sept. 2001, aging machines were replaced with new ones. Between Christmas and New Year’s, when most University employees were on seasonal break, ITCS staff worked on the switch over to the newer machines and continued with the upgrade process. The final step in the switch over took place near midnight Jan. 18.

Another new feature of the ITCS service is the ultranet backup system, which ITCS says will provide greater efficiency to the backup process. Instead of doing backups on individual machines with a tape robot, as had been the practice, the new system backs up the IMAP servers to a another server in a different building over a private network that does not compete with user access. “Members of the University community are themselves responsible for archiving what needs to be archived,” Craig says. “IMAP backup is only a disaster recovery system.” Additionally, IMAP backups now will be kept for only one week instead of two to three weeks, as had been the case.

For users who would like additional e-mail storage capacity, Craig recommends users save messages to their IFS space or local hard drive instead of requesting more space on the IMAP server. “The cost is much higher to store on our system,” Craig says. The maximum size of a single message that be sent or received remains the same at 10 megabytes.