MODERNIZATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND CONSTRUCTION OF MAIN CAMPUS NEW DATACENTER
The campus of the first private university in Panamanian territory dates back to the 1970s and it has grown as the University has needed it. The University has prepared more than 31,000 graduates to the country and today has four additional campuses, distributed throughout the country. The University has faculties of Business, Architecture and Design, Engineering and Technology, Law and Political Sciences, among others.
The technological infrastructure of the University, at an equipment servers, desktops and communications levels, was composed of several architectures and multiple manufacturers, distributed in different computing rooms. In addition, there were technology rooms with limitations, and multiple IT islands, which generated administrative problems and high financial costs.
- Data center
The University did not have a formal data center. It had servers in rooms that were not suitable for its operation, which resulted in systems crashes, both for the administrative area and for teachers.
- Technological platform
At hardware and software levels, the administration was carried out in a decentralized manner, distributed in two different computing rooms and sometimes even by different teams within the facilities of the university campus. This directly impacted the ability of the IT team to support the technological services, as well as the opportunity to generate and provide new services to the university community.
- Technological rooms
There were classrooms with desktops, in many of the cases dedicated, for specific groups of subjects. Sometimes, having to include a new subject in a classroom, it was required to invest long hours of work to run facilities, delete content, among other IT services, for each classroom.
Due to the nature of the use of desktop machines in the hands of multiple users, computers were regularly exposed to security threats or hardware problems, which led to periods of inactivity of some computers and even entire classrooms.
At the level of the buildings of the University, most were cut off from each other. The IT team had to manage the buildings remotely and individually.
Wireless communication was restricted to certain areas of the campus, mostly classrooms or administrative areas. Because of this, students could not work outside these areas for research, information sharing, etc.
Nor was there a centralized administration tool for communications. Changes in the network were handled manually, generating additional administrative work for IT staff.
In relation to structured cabling, it had a category 5 cabling, which did not support the new emerging technologies, which is why it had to be renewed.
A total technological change was proposed, which was based on the implementation of the Technological Infrastructure Modernization Project of the University that included a high availability architecture designed to support in a redundant and highly available way a total of 1,200 virtualized desktops and services of IT, with an estimated percentage of growth.
- Data center
A new data center was designed, built and adapted, based on the standards of the Uptime Institute, which included the following:
- Uninterrupted power systems – redundant UPS
- Raised floor
- Redundant precision air conditioning system
- Environmental monitoring solution and cameras
- Electric generator
- Fire control and extinguishing system
- Access control system
- Solution of highly redundant blade servers
- Storage solution
- Backup solution
In addition, in each building of the central campus, IT rooms were adapted to house the network infrastructure, uninterrupted power system (UPS) and access of each building. Also, IT rooms were adapted in the different regional offices, with uninterrupted power systems (UPS) and racks to house the equipment of these offices.
- Technological platform
The technology platform was based on a virtualized infrastructure of HPE Blade servers and HPE 3PAR storage, using Microsoft Hyper-V technology. This platform was configured in a highly redundant way and with centralized administration using software tools such as Microsoft System Center Operations and Configuration Manager.
The Servers platform hosts the University’s administration applications, as well as teaching tools, an active directory and a virtualized desktop platform based on Citrix XenDesktop technology.
To give security to the above, a perimeter security solution was implemented to protect the data.