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Agency issues an RFI to gauge options for replacing outdated email infrastructure with email as a service.

By Patience Wait

The Department of Labor is looking to move its outdated email infrastructure to a cloud-based email service. The agency has issued a request for information (RFI) seeking input from cloud service providers on how they would handle the transition.

More than 22,000 employees currently send and receive approximately 1.5 million messages per day at the agency. That traffic is supported by 27 servers across nine email systems, mostly running Microsoft's Exchange 2003. Five of the servers run Exchange 2007.

The Labor Department is requesting information not just on email, but on collaboration services, archiving, e-discovery, and the service provider's ability to support single sign-on and a variety of mobile devices. Its current email environment includes 3,500 Blackberrys managed by Research In Motion's Blackberry Enterprise Service.

[ The cloud can produce a number of benefits. Read Google Apps Cuts GSA Energy Costs. ]

The RFI seeks to understand whether a service provider offers email from dedicated or multi-tenant systems, where data is stored, its disaster response and continuity-of-operations capabilities, and how it recovers deleted and purged emails, among other requirements.

The deadline to respond to the RFI is 3 p.m. on June 29. An "industry day" is tentatively scheduled for July.

The Department of Labor joins a growing list of government agencies, including metropolitan and state governments, that are looking at email in the cloud as an alternative to agency-managed email infrastructure. In December 2010, the General Services Administration started that trend with its move to Google's Gmail and Google Appsservices.

Other agencies that have moved to email as a service include the Department of Agriculture and theDepartment of Interior.

The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they're doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)

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