Cloud services on the way to 914 ARW

  • Published
  • 914th Communications Squadron

914th Air Refueling Wing will soon migrate its computer users into the internet “Cloud” under a directive by the Air Force Space Command, to realign resources to more critical priorities and outsourcing services like email.  As a result, the dreaded “your mailbox is full” message is soon to be a thing of the past.  Over a two-day period beginning the first week of December 2017, technicians will migrate Niagara Falls e-mail from the AFNET to the secure commercial cloud.


E-mail 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 this spring/summer, and the remaining CONUS base migrations are underway.


 Col. Patrick Erdman, Commander, 914th Mission Support Group, sees the conversion as advantageous to Niagara Airmen. “I believe the effects of the conversion [will be] great in that it will allow Air Force emails to be kept in a cloud, fully accessible [to the member] from any location.”


 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 arrive this fall.


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, plus an additional 100 GB of archive storage, in the cloud. As a result, they will now be able to hold two million normal emails in their mailbox and another two million in their archive.  For the typical AF user, that’s an increase of 2,000 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% uptime reliability rating.


According to Mr. Dave Blaser, Information Technology Project Manager, “As the migration approaches, we will send eAdvisories with instructions for Niagara Falls users to print so they’re prepared the morning of the migration.”  If the migration goes as planned, users will follow these directions and be fully operable in the cloud.


As Niagara Falls approaches its projected start date, an Air Force Network Integration Center team will work with 914th Communications Squadron technicians to prepare to migrate Niagara’s 2000 users.  To ensure a smooth transition to the cloud, look for future 914th Communications Squadron generated eAdvisories for additional migration related information. 

Any questions in regard to Niagara’s migration to the Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services can be directed to our CHES Project POC, Mr. Robert Wolf at 236-2332.