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Background

An increasingly digital world needs an education sector that can keep pace with the always-on requirements of students and educators, alike. Ankabut — the Advanced National Research and Education Network (NREN) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — has a vision for the country: to be a global leader in research and education, providing advanced edge network infrastructure to educational and research institutes within the country.

Ankabut is the UAE's largest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service provider operating in the education industry, offering a wide array of ICT services to a range of educational institutions, from universities and colleges, to research institutes and vocational schools. These services include cloud services, network connections, Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, equipment room and cabinet hosting and leasing, managed services, professional services, and training services. Currently, service scope extends to more than 35 educational institutions and 80 campuses, including the UAE Ministry of Education and Khalifa University, ranked first in the UAE and second in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Through technology, Ankabut supports e-learning, library content, distribution systems, and research collaboration initiatives, which, together with network, processing, and storage support, provide a solid basis for developing a collective and collaborative approach to research and education.

Project Objectives

Cloud technology is an essential component for any collaborative project in today's world. Ankabut selected Huawei as its new, long-term cloud solution provider and strategic technology partner, taking full advantage of the company's advanced technology solutions. In collaboration with Huawei, Ankabut has now established the best education cloud in the UAE and the entire Middle East, making it accessible for universities and educational institutions. Indeed, this achievement has strengthened the country's position as a regional leader in educational services.

Implementation

Huawei deployed a full cloud stack solution, including a cloud platform, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), a high speed data center network, and high performance all-flash storage.

Specific solutions include:

Huawei Cloud Stack — a full-stack hybrid cloud —that builds high-performance IT infrastructure using Huawei’s end-to-end capabilities, from in-house chip design to hardware optimization. It includes solutions such as Atlas servers, OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage, Arm servers, and KunLun mission critical servers. Huawei is able to build resource pools that outperform those built from general purpose hardware by using closely integrated technology that works seamlessly as a whole.

Huawei CloudFabric is an SDN solution that provides seamless intra- and inter-data center connectivity for physical, virtual, or container-based workloads and applications. The solution consists of iMaster Network Cloud Engine (NCE)-Fabric controller, iMaster NCE-FabricInsight network analyzer, and CloudEngine series switches. CloudFabric delivers an intelligent, simplified, ultra-broadband, secure, and open digital network platform, enabling enterprises to achieve business success.

Huawei OceanStor Dorado V6 All Flash Storage uses proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) chips, the FlashLink® intelligent algorithm, and full-series end-to-end Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) architecture, delivering 20 million Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and just 0.1 ms latency. This represents best-in-class performance, twice that of storage solutions from the next best industry competitor.

Results

Now, Ankabut is able to roll out a strong cloud offering to the UAE’s educational and research institutes, as a result of using a robust selection of Huawei solutions to build solid cloud infrastructure. This will enable such institutions to access cloud services as and when required, contributing toward developing the country's position as a leader in education, research, and technology adoption.

Compared with traditional data centers, cloud data centers significantly reduce costs and complexity. They provide a unified and consolidated infrastructure resource pool, automation, and orchestration, while offering cloud services by monetizing infrastructure. The HUAWEI CLOUD platform will support Ankabut, hosting application workloads, including AD/DNS, exchange, SQL DB, SFB, Fortinet, SSO, ServiceDesk, and asset management, as well as industry applications, including intelligent campus management, e-learning, interactive teaching, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

“This project represents one of the largest investments made in the UAE’s education sector in 2019, and will strengthen the UAE’s position as a regional leader in educational services,” said Fahem Al Nuaimi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ankabut. “Huawei’s technology enables us to offer cloud services to our partner institutions throughout the UAE, which makes the academic process more efficient, reducing expenses and boosting collaborative work, to benefit education and research facilities alike.”

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