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AU Introduces High Availability E-mail Architecture

The American University community is highly dependent on e-mail as a critical communication tool, necessitating reliable business continuity. 

To achieve this goal, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has reinforced each AU e-mail server with an identical back-up cluster server—a pairing that affords all users access to a primary and a secondary server. 

With this configuration, if there is a problem on a primary server, Lotus Notes client users will be prompted to “fail over” to their secondary server with the click of a button. (The next release of the Lotus Notes client will fail over with no prompting.)

Users who access AU e-mail through Lotus Notes Traveler on a mobile device, or BlackBerry users who access AU e-mail via a BlackBerry Enterprise Plan, will seamlessly fail over to their secondary e-mail server when there is a technical issue on their primary server.

This back-up architecture also is available to those who access e-mail via IMAP, after they perform a manual configuration, and to iNotes (WebMail) users upon receiving an updated URL, which can be bookmarked.

Users can contact the IT Help Desk at any time to receive instructions on configuring their IMAP client or bookmarking a WebMail URL for secondary server access. CoreSite, a local hosting facility with whom OIT has contracted, guarantees AU uptime and availability. Back-up servers will be placed at this business continuity site to ensure that AU can survive the single failure of Lotus or the complete loss of its primary data center at 4200 Wisconsin Avenue. This new level of maturity in OIT’s architecture affords the community much higher availability rates than ever before.

Read more about these recent improvements to our e-mail infrastructure here.

For questions about this initiative, contact the IT Help Desk at 885-2550,, or IM AskAmericanUHelp.