New school of thought: ADEC deploys world-class infrastructure
Abu Dhabi Education Council deploys a world-class IT infrastructure as it seeks to drive its ambitious educational objectives through technology.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) has completed one of the most ambitious education IT projects in the region as it looks to drive education outcomes through IT in Abu Dhabi.
A broad-based project, ADEC worked closely with Cisco Advanced Services and Cisco partners to plan and create a scalable WAN foundation that connected all the schools and would support future planned voice, data, and video needs. At the same time, ADEC began furnishing computing devices to teachers and administrative staff at every school, according to a Standard Operating Environment specifications that have been established in agreement with the various business units, and supplying every classroom with a computer, digital “smart board,” and projector. The Council in addition installed a Cisco WAAS solution to deliver an optimal experience for administrators and teachers as they access HR and ERP business applications from anywhere on the WAN, streamlining processes and enhancing productivity.
This was implemented throughout ADEC’s 300 physical locations distributed in the entire Abu Dhabi Emirate, says Mohammed Younes, head of ICT Division at ADEC. With the solution, ADEC is provide networking infrastructure for all these schools. “A typical school would have a state of the art network for connectivity within the institution. All our schools are covered with wired and wireless connectivity throughout and are then all connected to a single network that is centrally managed from ADEC headquarters,” explains Younes.
To power the whole set-up is ADEC’s core infrastructure that includes two data centres - a Tier IV strategic data centre as well as a Tier III disaster recovery centre. “All our infrastructure is also 100% virtualised, and we have our own private cloud with hundreds of servers supporting our applications. All of ADEC’s operations are also integrated internally and externally through a service-oriented architecture on an Enterprise Service Bus,” explains Younes.
Cisco provided the core networking infrastructure, which marked one of largest and most important investments in the entire deployment. The CCTV implementation in the phase one of the project is also based upon Cisco solutions. Deployment of the infrastructure was a 100 million dollar project, in a timely project that took 18 months to complete.
ADEC is responsible for all public schools in Abu Dhabi from an operational point of view as well as being in charge of regulating the private educational sector.
This deployment is the result of a strategic initiative, itself part of the Council’s five year strategy established in May 2010, Younes reveals. “The focus within the first five years was to build the infrastructure in our schools. Our ultimate mandate however is not to build an IT infrastructure but to build solutions that will enable us to serve our students better and utilize the latest technology as a tool to enhance learning and teaching in our schools,” says Younes.
The end result, Younes says, is a solution package that can be grouped in four main domains.
The first is the infrastructure portion that resulted in establishing a network infrastructure in every public school in the Emirate. This ensured connection of all the schools with the two data centres.
Second is the enterprise applications, an area in which ADEC carried out tens of implementations, according to Younes. These include ERP, which automated the Council’s core processes from procurement to finance to HR, a library management system, a scholarship management system, a student information system, business intelligence and more. “The aim here was to make it easier and more efficient for our employees to conduct their day to day businesses,” says Younes.