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National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) is a public research university in Pakistan chartered in 1993. Within two decades, NUST has achieved important milestones and gained immense significance as an institution of higher education in Pakistan. The university is co-educational, established to promote higher scientific education in the country especially in the field of sciences and technology. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees leading to a Ph.D in the fields of engineering, information technology, medical sciences, and management sciences.
Leveraging information technology to streamline teaching processes, optimize management activities, and build digital campuses is an important approach to enhance teaching efficiency and management. NUST is focused on research and innovation in various aspects of information technology, particularly in teaching and management activities.
NUST planned to build a convenient, safe, and easy to maintain electric exam system to facilitate the examination of students and improve exam efficiency. To achieve this target, NUST set up a plan to build a server-client platform for electric exam system, in which hundreds of PC will be installed in the electric exam room as access terminals for students and servers in core equipment room as database for exam resource and background system.
In this plan, NUST faced the following challenges:
• Security Protection: Server-PC structure is vulnerable to virus infections and hacker attacks
Server-PC structure is vulnerable as usually there is no efficient unified security control over the whole system. Any virus infection on a single PC can threaten the whole system. Hacker attacks from students also threaten the security of electric exam system.• Cost Efficiency: High CAPEX and OPEX
The planned electric exam system contains hundreds of PCs. However, using a PC for exam purpose only consumes a small portion of its capability, which means more investment is spend on small functions. Besides, the PCs will require more IT engineers to maintain the system which increase the OPEX.• Fast Deployment: NUST planned to set up the system within 1 month
According to the plan of NUST, the new auto electric exam system should be ready within one month, which is very tight schedule for NUST IT department, considering the complexity of the whole system.
To resolve these challenges for NUST, Huawei offered a state-of-the-art FusionAccess solution to work as the platform of electric exam system. FusionAccess is a cloud-based virtual desktop solution. This solution virtualizes and centralizes the computing and storage resources (including CPU, hard drive, and memory) of PCs into the data center, creating a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). With VDI, end users can access their own “virtual PCs” using Thin Clients (TCs), personally-owned computers, and mobile devices, while still allowing the enterprise to maintain information security and high service reliability.
The FusionAccess Solution to NUST includes: E6000 blade server, S5500T SAN storage and S5700 network equipment. The FusionAccess solution has the following benefits:• All-Round Security Design, Protecting the whole electric exam system
The FusionAccess solution provides comprehensive security protection, including terminal, network, data, cloud platform, and management security. The solution uses the device-pipe-cloud architecture. This design provides access-side security, network security, cloud platform security, data security, and management security. The multi-layer security design focuses on prevention and employs monitoring and auditing as supplements to comprehensively protect enterprise information. This information security mechanism leaves no chance for security issues to arise.One-Click Installation, Process-Based Delivery, and Automated O&M, Improving Maintenance Efficiency by Four Times
•The fusionAccess Solution provides web-based remote and centralized O&M with automated policy based control. This enables enterprises to build a desktop platform that is easy to deploy, manage, operate, maintain, and expand. Huawei’s virtualization management platform implements unified management of services such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and application and server virtualization. This platform enables enterprises to centrally manage and schedule physical and virtual resources using a single user interface, facilitating the O&M of virtualization platforms.• Huawei professional service team helping NUST to set up the system within 2 weeks
Considering the limited deployment time, Huawei provided professional engineers to help design and install the system with its partners to make sure the deployment schedule can meet NUST’s deadline. The electric exam platform was set up within two weeks.
By deploying the Huawei FusionAccess platform, NUST built up a secure, state-of-the-art, cloud-based auto-electric exam system. Compared with the traditional PC system, the FusionAccess system provides all-round security protection to the electric exam system and improves operation and maintenance efficiency by 40 percent with centralized and unified management, while reducing problem resolution time from hours to minutes. The FusionAccess cloud platform is easily scalable to support thousands of students and teachers based on future demands.