By Siobhan CarlileJanuary 28, 2011
FORT GORDON, Ga., Jan. 28, 2011 -- Feeling slightly intimidated by all the high tech terminology surrounding the imminent Enterprise Email migration' Although the road toward Enterprise e-mail may seem complicated, there is a clear map, leaders know where the effort is headed, and the economy sized e-mail box Soldiers have now is about to become a luxury sedan, about 40 times bigger.
There is more great news. Soldiers moving to a new assignment will be able to turn on their computers and instantly access their e-mail. While this may sounds too good to be true, by the end of this year it will be reality for Army personnel.
During 2011, all Army e-mail users will migrate to Enterprise e-mail service. Instead of accessing e-mail through local e-mail servers at each installation, they will reach through the network to access e-mail services from centralized servers known as the Department of Defense cloud. The migration of e-mail services to the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is part of a larger DoD effort to consolidate information technology services, improve capabilities, and reduce overall costs.
Key advantages of Enterprise e-mail
- Access to e-mail anywhere, at any time, from any authorized, CAC-equipped computer
- E-mail accounts remain active during duty station moves and unit relocations
- Share individual, organizational, and resource calendars across the enterprise
- Find e-mail addresses and contact information of Army and DoD e-mail users at other locations across DoD
- Send e-mails with larger attachments than is currently allowed
- 4 gigabytes of online e-mail storage for standard e-mail account holders
- 500 megabyte webmail accounts for those who don't normally use Army e-mail to perform their duties
The migration to this new capability begins in mid-February 2011 with an initial "fielding" to about 2,000 selected e-mail users, according to Brig. Gen. LaWarren Patterson, commanding general, 7th Signal Command (Theater).
"This first step will allow the Army to refine the migration process and ensure a smooth transition. It will provide a validation of migration techniques, e-mail functionality, and system management procedures," Patterson said.
Immediately following successful migration of this first wave of users, HQDA staff are scheduled to begin migration in March. The rest of the Army will begin migration immediately thereafter, with the migrations completed Armywide by the end of December 2011, according to Patterson.
As migration dates draw near, affected personnel are being notified with e-mails explaining the steps they need to take before their e-mail accounts are migrated.
"Users will have all of the assistance they need before, during and after the migration," Patterson said.
"7th Signal Command will provide teams to augment our Network Enterprise Centers, or NECs, as they assist users with executing migration tasks. NETCOM will coordinate support with Army commands for migration of e-mail accounts managed by other information technology (IT) service providers," he said.
"We are confident that a coordinated effort among all Army organizations will lead to success in this important move toward consolidated Enterprise IT services," Patterson said.
In preparation for migration, all users can perform some simple maintenance tasks that will help the transition go smoothly according to Herman Wells, Enterprise Services director, 7th Signal Command (Theater).
"Clean up your mailbox as much as possible. The smaller the mailbox, the smoother the migration. Delete messages and calendar items that are no longer necessary to keep. Minimize network-stored PSTs (personal folder files). There's nothing that stops a user from creating a local PST and moving the PST back into the online mailbox after migration," he said. "During the preparation period prior to migration, NECs and transition teams will provide detailed information on exporting and importing contacts" he added.
Blackberry users must ensure it's turned on the night prior, and in a spot with a strong signal. If it loses signal and is not communicating with the Blackberry Exchange Server properly, the device will have to be adjusted manually the following day, according to Wells.
"Keeping customers in the loop and happy is important during this transition. We expect some challenges with Blackberry users since each will require touch labor," Wells said.
The Army Signal Corps leadership is leading from the front during the move to Enterprise e-mail.
"It was determined that if you are a communications leader (CIO/G6, NETCOM, Fort Gordon) you will come on board first. If the e-mail service is good enough for a general officer, then it is good enough for a private," Wells said. "This is different from the way some information technology upgrades have been done in the past. The high-ranking officers and civilians were last. Everyone else had to put up with inconveniences while software problems were worked out. Not so this time."
During this transition it is critical that customers participate in the process. There has been a concerted effort underway to provide resources and forums so e-mail account holders can ask questions and offer input.
One way to find answers to common questions about Enterprise e-mail is through the 7th Signal Command Enterprise e-mail Frequently Asked Questions website at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/646647.
To post your own questions and participate in an interactive discussion, go to the Enterprise e-mail Discussion Forum on MilBook at https://www.kc.army.mil/book/thread/7900.
For more in-depth engineering and project information, visit the Enterprise e-mail Project Documents Website at https://www.intelink.gov/wiki/Army_Enterprise_Email.
And, as always, you can contact your IMO or local NEC for information and assistance.
Enterprise Email Q&A
Q: Will my email address change'
A: Your email address will change.
- The basic domain name is @mail.mil. Everyone will have an address ending this way.
- Address will contain first name.middle initial.last name (numbers for similar names e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Uniformed (Army) servicemembers will also have @us.army.mil alias. Other services will have their own alias.
- Each account will use the appropriate "persona extension" identifying the persona for that specific account (.mil, .civ, .ctr, etc.). This extension is critical for users with multiple personas (such as military reservist who is also a contractor) in order to distinguish between their accounts and to meet DoD requirements. For example, a person with military reservist and contractor personas would have accounts for both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What will happen if people try to send email to my old address'
A: Although you will have a new e-mail address, you will continue to receive e-mail addressed to your old address for at least 6 months. It's recommended you change your business cards and begin advising friends and coworkers to use your new e-mail address soon after migration.
Q: How does migration really happen'
A: Migration refers to the automated process of copying current e-mail and calendar data from each user's local e-mail account to their Enterprise E-mail account. The process normally occurs overnight at a time coordinated with the unit to minimize the operational impact. The old data will remain on existing servers so that it can be recovered and reutilized if an unexpected problem occurs.
Q: What data will be copied and migrated'
A: All current e-mail and calendar data will be copied to your new Enterprise e-mail account. Data should not be lost during the migration. Depending on the size of your calendar (and associated mailbox), some of the old calendar data may be copied out into a PST and provided locally.
Q: Who will guide the process'
A: The local NEC and additional migration support personnel will guide the migration process and help e-mail users prepare during the weeks prior to migration, as well as resolving any problems after the migration.
Q: Will I need to be at my computer during the migration'
A: You won't need to be at your computer during the migration as it will generally occur overnight.
Q: What if my computer is turned off during the migration'
A: The migration tool can migrate mailboxes even if the user's computer is turned off, although the migration process is simpler if the computer is on during the process.
Q: Will I need to reboot my computer after the migration'
A: Your system will automatically be rebooted. When you log in the next day you should be able to open your e-mail program just as you did before, and gain immediate access to your mail.
Q: What if I am on a temporary duty assignment (TDY) or deployed during the migration'
A: If you are TDY or deployed during the migration period ensure your chain of command advises the Enterprise e-mail Transition Team and they will arrange your migration separately.
Q: How will I access the Enterprise system'
A: Soldiers, DA Civilians, and contractors will be able to access their e-mail from any government-managed computer, using their CAC for authentication. Those with Exchange accounts today will be able to use Outlook or Webmail to access the enterprise system. Those with only AKO webmail today will be able to use Webmail to access the enterprise system.
Q: Will I have to obtain a new Common Access Card (CAC)'
A: You will not have to obtain a new CAC.
For more frequently asked questions, visit the 7th Signal Command Enterprise e-mail Frequently Asked Questions Website, at: https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/646647