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Queen's University

Email and Calendaring Solution for Staff


Icon representing email, calendar, contacts, tasksITServices has been discussing possibilities for the future direction of email and calendaring services for the Queen's community for some time. In November 2011, Microsoft Exchange Server was selected as the application to be implemented to provide email and calendaring services to staff, faculty and graduate students at Queen's.


We want to keep you informed about the progress of this implementation, so please continue to consult this web space to find the most up-to-date information about:


Reasons for the Change


The current central email system at Queen’s today was implemented in 2007 using the Java Enterprise System (JES) Communication Suite from Sun Microsystems. The system provided a higher level of reliability, richer feature set and improved web-user interface than the previous system. It also allowed us to provide a calendaring solution for students. At approximately the same time ITServices changed the mail server, we also began to encourage users to change from using Eudora to Microsoft Outlook as an email client.


The current central calendaring system at Queen’s (originally Corporate Time, which became Oracle Calendar) has been in service for over 15 years although it has gone through some evolution and change during that time. The calendaring system was chosen because it provided a rich feature set and was available on both the Mac and Windows platforms. It is a freestanding calendaring solution without tight integration to a messaging (email) solution for end users.


Oracle Corporation has now acquired both of these and declared that neither product is strategic to the company in the long term. Oracle has said the products will be on a sustain-only support model.


Choosing a Solution


Faculty and staff have recognized the value of and have been asking for an integrated mail, calendaring and task management service to manage their day-to-day activities. To provide this functionality across campus, ITServices has decided to roll out Microsoft Exchange services to Queen's faculty and staff. This decision was made after engaging in a number of explorations, including:


  • reviewing what was happening at other Canadian universities;
  • engaging the Queen's community through an article in the Queen's Gazette ("Charting a New Direction in Email Services", March 2010);
  • holding discussions with various vendors, including Microsoft and Google;
  • analyzing data available from Gartner;
  • attending a symposium at Ryerson University in February 2011 entitled "Exploring the Future of E-mail, Privacy, and Cloud Computing at Ryerson"; and
  • hosting a focus group led by the Senate Information Technology Committee in March 2011.

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The move from JES mail and Oracle Calendar to Exchange's integrated mail and calendaring functionality will offer numerous advantages to end users such as:


  • an up-to-date, Personal Information Management system that provides an integrated view of email, calendar, tasks and contacts;
  • many mobile-friendly features to facilitate interaction with Blackberry, iPhone and other mobile devices supported through BES and ActiveSync;
  • larger mailbox storage (5GB at no charge compared to current 1GB);
  • additional mail management features; and
  • cost savings to departments (e.g. discontinuation of $120/user/yr licensing fees for NotifyLink and $15/year maintenance costs for Oracle Calendar accounts).

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Pilot Project


The rollout of Microsoft Exchange has already begun, with a pilot partnership project involving ITServices, the Office of Advancement and Queen's School of Business (QSB). Migration of more than 1,200 mail and calendar accounts for these two units occurred in the latter part of 2011, and as many as 35,000 mail messages per day are already being delivered on campus through ITServices' Exchange server.


The pilot implementation for these two units has allowed ITServices to build the necessary infrastructure to support Exchange for the whole campus. As well, there have been numerous "lessons learned" from that process that are informing the migration strategy for the broader campus rollout.


Both QSB and Advancement have been extremely pleased with their transition to ITServices' Exchange offering. In particular, Advancement has noted the benefits to their phone users in relation to the improved interface, and their support costs have gone down as a result of the increased efficiency in enabling and supporting mobile devices.




If you have any questions about this project, please email



Updated 13 March 2012

Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 613.533.2000