Queens University Belfast Expand Exchange Infrastructure for Students to Microsoft 365 Private Cloud

Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) is a public research university with around 25,000 students and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading research intensive universities. The institution also has two associated university colleges and is ranked in the top 200 universities globally.

The Challenge

QUB recognised that it wasn’t able to provide the storage capacity within its email service to meet the demands of its students. Students therefore supplemented their email by use of other third party solutions. This interfered with the overall communications between students and the organisation and resulted in security concerns.


QUB offered 50MB of storage per account, which was insufficient for the demands of its students. It needed to offer:

  • Exceptionally large mailbox limits
  • Simple configuration for mobile devices
  • Maximum accessibility
  • An ‘account-for-life’


The University faced exponential growth on its Exchange servers with a yearly increase of some 6,000 users. The IT department faced the continual challenge of keeping up with resource requirements. QUB required a solution that was simple in its scalability and wasn’t prone to overwhelming the infrastructure when faced with a rapid and heavy load increase.


When it comes to a new student intake, the IT department no longer has to bolster its physical infrastructure with extra hardware. Microsoft 365 handles the bulk of the capacity provision for QUB, and what was once a costly and technical procedure is now an administrative one. Much of QUB’s network was already based on the Microsoft stack. The Microsoft 365 cloud solution therefore fits perfectly into the University’s overall IT strategy and staff are familiar with it from a maintenance perspective.


There was previously a constant burden on the IT department. The use of shadow IT brought into question the security of the data and resulted in potentially valuable QUB IP being sent through untrusted third party systems. The deployed Microsoft 365 solution has helped avoid such problems.


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