RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The day is fast approaching when Airmen at Randolph Air Force Base won't need to pack up their e-mail contacts, tasks, calendars and files when they move to their next base.
Beginning in early May, and lasting for about 45 days, Randolph AFB will migrate from its current network architecture to the new Air Force Network - AFNet -- through the Active Directory and Exchange, or ADX, migration effort.
"This migration is a part of the Air Force communications community's effort to improve all active duty, Reserve and Guard members' access to information," said Tom Sutherland, 902nd Communications Squadron information technology manager. "The whole idea behind ADX migration is to consolidate the maintenance at the site where the equipment is kept that services the e-mail accounts, at Scott AFB. It's consolidation and management of resources."
Mr. Sutherland said throughout the Air Force, the migration will yield both individual as well as corporate benefits.
He explained every Randolph-based unit will be notified prior to its migration, and will be asked to follow a few simple steps to help ensure success. Every effort will be made to reduce operational impacts and there will be briefings and notifications, including e-mail advisories and marquee notices that will be ongoing until the end of the project.
"Now Airmen will leave Basic Military Training with an Air Force account they will own and use for their entire career," he added. "The idea here is one e-mail address for the life of your career."
The migration replaces the old firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address with a standard email@example.com e-mail address already created for them. They'll be able to access all of their information from any Air Force location that's already migrated.
He said individually, some users may drop from the current Global Address List for up to seven days.
The time lag allows the accounts to replicate across the Air Force, but shouldn't adversely affect the functionality of the local user's e-mail.
"You'll still be able to receive e-mail with your current e-mail address," he added. "Notifications have been sent out Air Force-wide announcing the ADX migrations, and users on other bases are aware of the situation and will still be able to reach you, even though they might not be able to see your name in the Global."
Mr. Sutherland said, what this means is that Airmen who go on temporary duty, make a permanent change of station, or deploy won't need to wait for local e-mail accounts to be created. Some mailbox limits will increase; some will be reduced.
Randolph AFB clients will continue to use the Enterprise IT Service Desk; the ESD is the first line of support before, during and after the migration.
Corporately, the ADX migration will be beneficial to the Air Force because it will be able to centrally manage and secure the network with the latest technologies, said Mr. Sutherland.
"Previously cost-prohibitive tools are now available to improve information availability as well as reduce the time required to patch computer systems and eliminate potential vulnerabilities," he also said.
Although there are challenges to be faced with this migration, Mr. Sutherland's major command counterpart said the benefits are expected to be great.
"Once in the AF Net, Randolph will be afforded improved information availability, greater flexibility and ease of management of the network enterprise," said Michael Ward, Air Education and Training Command IT project manager. "And when you go to another base that's migrated, you can pop your CAC in, login and get your e-mail right then."