Update: Work to migrate email to the 'Cloud' continues

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  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Perhaps the most dreaded message email users at Sheppard AFB get – “your mailbox is full” – will soon become a distant memory when accounts are migrated to the internet “Cloud.”

The transition originally scheduled for July 31, 2018, has been postponed until Aug. 16, 2018, according to a Communication Focal Point message sent July 27.

Master Sgt. Adam Stewart, 82nd Communication Squadron Cloud Hosted Enterprise Service migration lead, said email users here should be used to an email system based in the Cloud since information has been stored on Air Force Network Integration Center servers at Scott AFB, Illinois. The migration later this month will put Sheppard email accounts on a commercial cloud.

“They’re not going to notice anything changed,” he said of the migration and use of email. “(Microsoft) Outlook will look the same.”

The move is part of an Air Force Space Command initiative to realign resources to more critical priorities and outsource other services like email.

Stewart said Sheppard email users have been receiving eAdvisories to keep them abreast of the coming changes, what to expect and some steps they will need to take when they open their Outlook email on Aug. 16. Emails with information regarding the migration were sent at specific benchmarks such as 30 and 15 days from the conversion, in accordance with the original timeline. (Links on documents accessible only through Department of Defense computers.)

Email is the first of the Microsoft Office 365 services the Air Force is migrating to a cloud-based service. The migration team completed the initial Air Force bases last spring/summer, and the remaining CONUS base migrations are underway. Beginning in late summer, users will receive a second cloud-based service, Skype for Business (SfB). Cloud-based SharePoint and OneDrive are also slated to start fielding this fall and into 2019.


After running through the migration steps, users will likely not even know they have been migrated to the cloud. Outlook and SfB will look and feel much like the existing Outlook/Lync 2013 service in use today under the standard license. But they will soon notice an exponential increase of individual email storage capacity.


Users who previously had 100MB mailboxes in the AF Network will now have 100 GB capacity in the cloud. As a result, they will now be able to hold two million normal emails in their mailbox.  For the typical AF user, that’s an increase of 1,000 times the current capacity – or like going from a filing cabinet to an entire warehouse. The new enterprise license broadens SfB capabilities to allow users to share their desktop, an application, or whiteboard with multiple cloud users.


This new cloud-based system will offer greater storage options, along with support for mobile devices and thin clients, without compromising strict security requirements while adding redundant power, facilities, and components with a 99.9 percent uptime reliability rating.


As Sheppard AFB approaches its projected start date, an Air Force Network Integration Center team will work with 82nd CS technicians to prepare to migrate Sheppard’s 4,300 user and organizational accounts. To ensure a smooth transition to the cloud, look for future 82nd CS generated eAdvisories for additional migration related information. 


For questions concerning the upcoming migration, call the Communications Focal Point at 940-676-HELP(4357).