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July 26, 2004

Campus expanding enhanced e-mail system

Cruzmail, the enhanced system that provides secure access to e-mail from any location, is being expanded on campus.

A series of one-hour informal demonstrations, conducted by technical training coordinator Frank Widman, will be held to familiarize people with the system's new features.

Introduced last summer, CruzMail encountered some initial rollout problems, prompting a delay in replacing the existing CATS e-mail service, said Bob Vitale, chair of the CruzMail Steering Committee.

"The committee reviewed areas where procedural and software changes have been made and is now confident that the system is far more reliable than the CATS e-mail service," said Vitale, computing director for the Baskin School of Engineering. "The committee will now develop policies and set priorities for system enhancements, new features, and further reliability improvements."

"The initial glitches have been corrected and people are encouraged to switch from CATS to CruzMail," Vitale said. "The committee has been surveying people who have switched and are receiving mostly good comments. Comments and suggestions for improvements are being taken very seriously and will be tracked by the CruzMail team."

Suggestions or comments should be submitted to the Information Resource Center HelpDesk at (831) 459-4357, help@ucsc.edu, or to users' coordinators to forward to the CruzMail team.

"People are now excited about rolling out new and improved e-mail features such as enhanced spam filtering, IMAP e-mail file storage and increased e-mail file quotas," he said. (Additional information on e-mail systems is available online at http://www.imap.org/papers/imap.vs.pop.brief.html)

Having access to campus e-mail while traveling or telecommuting is a major benefit of the new system, but it's not the only one. The new system also has a vacation/holiday auto-response message notification tool to use when users are away from the office, as well as server virus and e-mail scanning.

"Reliability is key to the system," Vitale said. "CruzMail is a cluster of Individual computers that work together like a beehive. Several of the computers can fail or be taken off-line and the system still works," he added. The new structure has inherent hardware redundancies and allows the system to incrementally increase computing power as needed.

"Computer clustering has been used for high-performance computing in engineering and the physical sciences for some time and is now being applied to campus enterprise applications such as e-mail," Vitale said.

Vitale said the old e-mail system was more vulnerable to power supply and hardware failures that could cause delays--and sometimes loss--of e-mails.

CruzMail will soon be the standard for most campus e-mail accounts. Campus technology coordinators have already started "migrating" users to the new system.

According to Sara Isenberg, CruzMail technical project manager, the CruzMail team has provided a lot of information and documentation to computing coordinators to help them "migrate" staff and faculty to CruzMail. Those not served by a coordinator may contact the Information Resource Center HelpDesk at (831) 459-4357 or help@ucsc.edu about migrating to CruzMail.

A series of one-hour informal demonstrations, conducted by technical training coordinator Frank Widman, will be held to familiarize people with the system's new features. The free sessions are scheduled for:

• Tuesday, July 27, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
• Thursday, July 29, from 4 to 5 p.m.
• Monday, August 2, from 4 to 5 p.m.
• Friday, August 6, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Although these are drop-in sessions, those planning to participate are asked to contact Widman at (831) 459-1269 or fwidman@ucsc.edu.

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