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The 54-member African Union (AU) is a political organization that promotes pan-African peace and stability by integrating politics, economies, and the continent’s militaries. As a large, international organization, they handle a huge volume of sensitive data, translate and disseminate materials in four languages, and hold hundreds of committee and agency meetings per year across Africa and at their modern Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The AU needed a robust solution to streamline their conference operations and protect their data from a variety of security threats. They chose Huawei’s FusionCloud Desktop Solution, which offers computing, storage sharing, and resource allocation through cloud data centers. The solution enables enhanced information security, conference efficiency, and reduced O&M too.
The AU needed to implement the solution within three weeks in order to meet the deadline for their major annual conference. Plus, there were other challenges.
Traditional PCs were the backbone of the AU’s existing system, leaving them vulnerable to hackers, phishing and virus attacks, and data leakage and loss.
The AU holds more than 600 meetings each year and translates the minutes for all of them into English, French, Arabic, and Portuguese. The system was inflexible if changes to minutes or schedules were necessary and required significant labor and costs to do that amount of work on short notice, especially with no computerized browsing capability.
At 200W per PC, power costs were prohibitively high based on the high number of PCs deployed.
AU staff frequently travel and high-ranking officials often work from mobile offices. Information synchronization, high client/server bandwidth needs, and general inflexibility plagued their old system.
The AU’s existing system required constant upgrades. Maintenance personnel spent most of their time installing and configuring software and hardware and chasing faults. In addition, workers had to deploy large numbers of PCs for attendees at large meetings on short deadlines. Costs shot through the roof.
Huawei’s FusionCloud Desktop Solution tackles the AU’s challenges in several specific areas.
The solution deployed all computing and storage resources in the AU’s central data center where it seamlessly connects to the original IT system. Then, Huawei installed Wi-Fi hotspots and provided the industry’s first Thin Clients (TC) customized with Wi-Fi access. Without the integrated cabling of a non-Wi-Fi network, the office environment is more orderly and users can easily access data, such as meeting minutes, through a virtual desktop on workstations equipped with only a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Traditional PC-based architecture exposes data to serious security risks. With Operating Systems (OS) and applications installed on individual machines, data is vulnerable to viruses and plain text transmissions are easier to steal. The FusionCloud solution moves the OS and applications to centralized servers in the AU’s data center to minimize information leakage while TC security measures such as authentication and encryption further secure data.
With centralized storage, users can now seamlessly shift work locations without interrupting applications. Using mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets to access cloud-based applications and management systems, users can work any time and any where from the airport to a conference table.
With all data and applications stored in the data center, centralized management and flexible resource scheduling is possible. The solution’s unified management model only takes three minutes for the entire process, from VM application to provisioning. Installing software and patches are equally easy in the centralized environment. Quick allocation and on-demand resource utilization have soared while O&M costs have dramatically fallen.
The AU realized several key benefits with their more modern technology.
Meeting minutes no longer need to be printed, saving work and money so employees can work on other tasks.
Low-cost TCs configured with a display, keyboard, mouse, and USB port can wirelessly connect to various peripheral devices in central locations. Without all those wires, the conference center is more organized and comfortable.
A TC and display use about 70W and generate about 10 db of noise so there is much less noise and electricity costs are more than 70% lower.
Centralized storage in the data center protects data from attack and prevents data leakage from PCs. The system further protects with terminal authentication and encrypted transmission.
A unified O&M platform cuts workload, improves O&M efficiency, and enhances user satisfaction.