Canadian University Dubai (CUD) replaced its five-year-old network infrastructure because it lacked the scalability and agility it needed to serve an increasingly large and demanding student population.
CUD, which was established in 2006 and located in the heart of Dubai, provides a curriculum based on Canadian education principles through a portal to Canadian Higher Education.
The university offers classes across six schools, including engineering and applied science, technology, architecture, business administration, communication and media studies, and public health and health sciences.
Ali Hamici, ICT director at CUD, said CUD has built its infrastructure gradually over the years, in parallel with the strategic growth put in place by the university’s management.
The infrastructure in place was meeting the university’s needs, but Hamici understood that as the university population grew, it needed a road map.
“We needed a solid infrastructure and advanced solutions on which to build future IT,” he said. “That meant reassessing our legacy technology, and implementing solutions that could support the potential for expansion.”
Hamici said the existing network infrastructure was five years old, and a drag on the overall IT environment. It lacked the scalability and agility that the 24/7 connected campus needed to serve its staff and students. With future plans that included the expanded use of wireless technology in the classroom, a network upgrade was more than necessary.
Hamici said with new users connecting every day, security was top concern for CUD. “It was critical that any new network infrastructure be backed by a trusted security solution and firewall,” he said. “Prior to the upgrade, the university had a heterogeneous infrastructure.”
The servers and data were initially hosted externally before CUD decided to move the infrastructure on-premise, invest in internal resources and a datacentre.
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Hamici said the organisation worked with its IT services supplier Think Software Services on the upgrade. “When CUD took on the upgrade, we knew that we needed a trusted implementation partner,” he added.
He said in consultation with Think Software Services, the system that was accepted comprised a mix of Dell EMC network infrastructure, which was complemented by McAfee security and FortiGate firewalls.
Hamici said for cloud services, Microsoft Office 365 was implemented to provide email services as well as student and faculty portals to the university community.
According to Hamici, the upgrade was both comprehensive and swiftly rolled out with faculty, administrative staff and students all having network connectivity at all times and minimising total downtime during the implementation.
“In all, the upgrades to our network and IT security infrastructure was done in six days, and this exceeded the university’s timeline,” he said.
“Now we have a robust network and IT security to handle all of our traffic and mitigate risks. In addition, our engineers have perfect visibility of events and incidents, and can take proactive measures to defend our data from attacks.”