CruzMail Stabilization Update

To: Faculty, Staff, and Students

From: Larry Merkley, Vice Provost, Information Technology

I write to provide you with an update on our ongoing work on the CruzMail stabilization project.

On May 1, ITS embarked on a stabilization project to address the technology, change processes, support methods, and features necessary to bring CruzMail in line with industry best practices. Our goal is to provide you with a more robust and stable email system, fully capable of providing the email service you expect.

Since May, the CruzMail project team has interviewed seven academic campuses. This fact-finding process revealed key differences in network and storage design compared to UC Santa Cruz. Based on that information, we completed an analysis of our current email system architecture: servers, network, storage, test environment, and software. We were then able to develop a set of best practices that we are using to help guide our choices for the project deliverables.

Consequently, we selected new server, storage, and network equipment that will provide enough capacity and performance for the next several years. These higher performing servers are currently undergoing testing in the Data Center prior to deployment next month.

In addition to all the technical back-end work, we developed a CruzMail change control process to minimize unplanned outages. Since this process has been in place, we have implemented five changes to the CruzMail system without causing any unplanned outages or subsequent problems thereby greatly improving email availability.

In our efforts to continue reducing the amount of SPAM the campus receives, we have added new industry-standard blacklists to the existing SPAM and Anti-virus scanners. With the introduction of these new features, we immediately saw a 50% reduction in SPAM and a 90% reduction in virus-laden email.

Over the next several months, the CruzMail stabilization project team will focus efforts on publishing a Campus Service Level Agreement for CruzMail that defines the elements of the service with goals for uptime and response time, as well as a set of metrics to gauge performance. In addition, we will continue to make improvements to the network and convert over to the new CruzMail architecture, resulting in a stable and dependable campus service. We are also working on changes to the way potential SPAM messages are handled and on updating existing email policies.

Thank you for your patience throughout the CruzMail stabilization project. You will receive another update from us during the fall.

If you have a question or need technical help, please submit an IT Request ticket at or contact the ITS Support Center by email, telephone 459-HELP(4357), or in-person Kerr Hall Room 54.