A recent JISC report into email and collaboration services* in Higher Education found that 35% of UK universities are now using externally hosted services and of those, 88% are using the Microsoft Live@EDU offering.  Just over a year ago, the University of Reading went into partnership with Microsoft to supply a student email system to replace the previous in-house system.

When IT Services first considered the move to what is now readingLive, the objective of the project was to deliver an improved student email experience, by

  • replacing the current obsolete student web mail environment
  • offering an enhanced IT environment
  • providing a system which supports group work

The partnership with Microsoft has brought many benefits, not just increased mailbox sizes, which have gone from ~150Mb per inbox to 10Gb, there is the SkyDrive, which offers 25GB of online data storage and there is access to Office Live, which allows for documents to be edited online, via a browser window.

This was achieved by migrating all student accounts to the Microsoft Live@EDU services over the course of the summer vacation in 2010. One year on, the system is now fully operational and handles a colossal amount of traffic.

A year on from the migration to this service, we have decided to publish a few statistics available from the system, for example

Total number of accounts: c. 23000

Largest size: 3.75GB

Largest no of mails in one account: 58000

The images below also include inbound traffic trends based on volume:

Inbound traffic trends based on count:

With regards to future developments of the Microsoft offering, IT Supporters at The University of Reading can hear some of these for themselves on 28 November when James Marshall from Microsoft will be giving a lunchtime seminar on this very subject.


*For more information on the original JISC report, see http://bit.ly/nNR1iX

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