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Email upgrade: Five Catmail features you should know about

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Sean O'Malley  

During fall 2014, the university will move all faculty, staff, retiree, graduate student and guest email accounts to Catmail, the cloud-hosted system currently used by undergraduate students and alumni. This upgrade will feature increased quotas, a much improved web interface and the ability to schedule meetings with any OHIO email user. This series takes a closer look at some of Catmail's unique features.

Because Catmail is hosted remotely by Microsoft, it works a bit differently from the university's current on-campus Exchange email system. Here are five things you need to know about Catmail.

50 GB Quotas

Every Catmail account comes with a 50 GB quota. This is fifty times the default employee quota and one hundred times the default graduate student quota. If you are a typical email user, moving to Catmail could mean never having to see a "mailbox full" warning ever again. Of course, if you send and receive a lot of large attachments, you still may bump up against your quota, but you will have much more leeway than with our current Exchange server.

30 day purge for Deleted Items

On the university's Exchange server, deleted items stick around until you empty your Deleted Items folder. On Catmail, the system automatically purges deleted items older than 30 days. This only applies to Deleted Items. Items in other folders on your Catmail account will stick around indefinitely until you decide to delete them. Then they will last another 30 days in your Deleted Items folder.

Permanent deletion: 60 days and gone

On the current Exchange server, email administrators often can recover deleted messages that are quite old. On Catmail, deleted messages are permanently deleted after 60 days. 

When the system purges a message from your Deleted Items folder, or if you manually empty a message from your Deleted Items folder, that message remains available on the Catmail server for an additional 30 days in a special hidden folder. Thus, the longest any deleted message will stay around is 60 days. 

System maintenance and upgrades: Less down time but also less control

Because Microsoft hosts Catmail for us, they take care of all system maintenance and upgrades. This has both benefits and drawbacks.

On the plus side, Microsoft has enough resources at its disposal that routine maintenance normally does not require any down time. While one server is being updated, another simply takes over the load with no interruption. On the minus side, when Microsoft decides to roll out new features or to change the Catmail interface, we have little say in when such changes take place. Fortunately, Microsoft provides plenty of advance notice for changes that affect the way Catmail looks or works.

Support response time

Microsoft has proven quite responsive to our needs when a service interruption occurs; however, because our email administrators do not have physical access to the Catmail servers and only limited virtual access, some support requests might take longer than they did on the old Exchange system. 

Related Links

Email upgrade info 
Working around graduate student calendar issues