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Research students stopped receiving emails sometime on Tuesday (17th September). No new emails, including notices for the mid-sem seating arrangement, were sent to people accessing their accounts via research.iiit.ac.in (or their previously configured mobile email). As it turns out, these emails were accessible, but only on signing into Outlook via webmail.iiit.ac.in

It seems for now that the mail servers have been migrated to Outlook (‘research’ has completely moved to Outlook while the migration for ‘students’ is still in the process). The setup has been in place for at least a week now, according to a couple of students who had been using it (both ‘research’ and some ‘students’). For a lot of people using Zimbra, this migration seems to have been done largely without notice, however some students have reported (on Student SysAds@IIIT-H, a few days earlier) receiving an email sent by the IT Head that announces the shift. This email does not seem to have been sent to everyone. It was sent to the [Research] mailing list, that not everyone is automatically subscribed to – at least UG3 and UG2 duals are not. The email mentions 16.09.2019 as a date for changing MX records on research.iiit.ac.in and mail.iiit.ac.in. Scroll to the end of the article to read it.

Rumours of a shift to Outlook+Microsoft services have been around for a while. In April of this year, the Student’s Parliament 2018-19 had forwarded an email thread on the potential shift. During Independence Day celebrations, the GenSec of Parliament had announced that “We have also deliberated on issues ranging from migration of the entire student community to Microsoft Suite, a big thanks also to the Student Sys Admins for their efforts in this regard …”. A student on the facebook group Student SysAds@IIIT-H reported complaining about non-availability of services on research.iiit.ac.in, and getting the response “We are migrating user mailboxes to Microsoft O365 cloud since 10 days. it happens to slow access, While syncing the mails. Once migration is successful, we will intimate to you all.”

In a request for clarification the General Secretary of Parliament said, 

“As for some context (which could not be added to the speech to keep it under the time constraint) to the mention of Microsoft Suite in my speech, the Students’ Parliament as well as the student Sys Admins were in talks with the administration to urge them to provide time for the migration and not shut down the G-Suite abruptly without a formal email (and give sufficient time for the migration) and also make arrangements so that the students’ data on G-Suite platform is not lost. As per the latest update, some representatives met the management on September 3 2019 and as per the gist of the meeting that I have received, it is mentioned that “The migration of data is a very technical and long process and may require a lot of time (Few months to years); during that time, the G Suite accounts of all the students/clubs/committees will remain active until the migration process is complete”. As to my current knowledge (after talking to a few research students), the G-Suite is still accessible.

Also, to the best of my knowledge, the Students’ Parliament did not receive a formal email informing to the effect that ‘from now on, all mails will only be accessible through Outlook’.”

The mail that was sent to students may be viewed at the end of the article. The mail clarifies the exact office subscription that students will have access to. Based on the features, it seems to be the Office A1 Plus plan for students, which includes the desktop versions of the office apps. Most features that were on GSuite seem to be replicated in the office plan as well. These include but are not limited to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Forms online. 

This is a developing story. Keep checking this space for more. 

Corrections (19-09-2019): All ‘student’ ID’s have not yet been migrated and the process is still ongoing.

The plan is not Office A1, but Office A1 Plus which includes subscription to the desktop apps as well.

The article has been updated to reflect these changes.

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Zubair Abid
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