AEMS is Set for Retirement

Posted on: April 28, 2017

As reported a while back, Information Technology Services (ITS) has successfully migrated over 22,000 mailboxes to Microsoft Office 365 cloud service from the legacy, on-premise Austin Exchange Messaging Service (AEMS) email environment. With all customer mailboxes now migrated, AEMS is set for retirement at the end of the month. The migration to Office 365 means that the majority of UT Austin faculty and staff are now hosted in the same environment, and with that, comes new opportunities for communication and collaboration. Office 365 is best known for the email service it provides, but there are several other powerful services that are either available now or will become available soon.

Now available:

  • Exchange Online -- enterprise-class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB mailbox
  • Office 2016 -- Office suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, available to all faculty, staff, and students
  • Skype for Business (new) -- features instant messaging, online meetings (including video conferencing for up to six (6) concurrent users), and screen sharing
  • SharePoint Online (available upon request) -- create team sites for easy document collaboration, including permissions and versioning


On the development roadmap and coming soon:

  • OneDrive -- cloud-based storage service that allows easy access to your files, from anywhere, on any device
  • Office Online -- collaborative editing of Office documents in your web browser
  • Teams -- “persistent" and searchable chat ideally suited for teams or projects
  • Power BI* -- suite of business analytics tools with rich dashboards
  • Project Online* -- create, track, and report on projects

*Access to advanced features will require separate annual licensing cost.

Rolling these new features out could not be done without the support of our campus partners.  I’d like to take this opportunity to extend special thanks to Bob Gloyd, Director of Information Technology, Cockrell School of Engineering, who led a focused pilot of Office 365 services with oversight and guidance from the IT Architecture and Infrastructure Committee (AIC). Over the past year, more than 700 users across campus have been testing capabilities in preparation for general release.

It is important to note that for every new Office 365 service that becomes available, ITS has a review process in place to ensure it will not cause technical issues with existing services, that its security has been approved by the Information Security Office (ISO), and that the UT Service Desk is prepared to support it – if and when you have an issue. While this does delay making new services available to campus, it ensures that critical business processes are not disrupted. That said, the Office 365 platform is rapidly evolving and expanding, and we look forward to offering these new services to campus, as well as additional future enhancements from Microsoft.

Lastly this week – I’m glad / sad to announce that Jay Riekenberg, Sr. IT Manager for Voice, is retiring today after 28 years of service to the University.  Many of you know Jay from his work on the campus voice system over the years.  During his service, he managed two major system migrations.  In 1998, he moved the campus from the Nortel SL100 to the CS2100, and in our most recent 2010-2015 migration, to our present Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system.  What you may not know is that he also managed the installation of the telecommunications billing system in 1998 and designed the campus single mode fiber optic plant in 2000.  Outside our UT Austin borders, he represented and served on the board of directors and as president of different telecommunications user groups (Nortel, Avaya, Genband).  We will all miss Jay and wish him the best in his retirement, and thank him for his years of commitment and accomplishments.  Our best to you Jay – happy retirement!