LDC Empowers Egyptian STEM Schools with Microsoft’s Flagship Azure Cloud Platform

2019-04-24T14:05:18+00:00February 5th, 2019|resources|

The Egyptian MOE; a Client that Touches the Lives of More Than Twenty Million Students

Egypt’s MOE is the oldest most extensive educational ministry in the Middle East and North Africa, it is responsible for all k-12 educational activities. It manages more than forty five thousand public schools all throughout the country and oversees the activities of more than seven thousand private schools. The MOE is continuously investing in creative new strategies and educational systems to further improve the quality of education. The latest of these innovations is the launch of the Japanese schools; a new breed of schools that employ several Japanese learning principles, and before that STEM schools for the scientifically advanced students. Over the past years the MOE  has also made tremendous investments in educational ICT .

 

– In a Nutshell:

Solution:

Cloud Hosted Moodle

Technologies Used:

Azure cloud hosting

Azure Auto Scaling

DevOps

Distributed file systems

MySQL- Percona XtraDB

Benefits:

Stabilized operations- 0% downtime

Reduced costs- 50% less infrastructure costs

Easier application management

Enhanced scalability

Guaranteed sustainability

 

  • Wildly Fluctuating Usage, Zero Sustainability

STEM schools used the highly acclaimed Moodle LMS to manage its learning ecosystem, Moodle was hosted on local servers and that is where the problem arouse. With its user base mushrooming and fluctuating usage the hosting setup failed to provide sustainable performance and availability especially during peak times, such as when students would take exams. With the expanding user base and dispersed setup of the schools maintaining the data integrity and security was also becoming a challenge.

  • Reach New Heights with Microsoft Azure

The internationally acclaimed cloud hosting platform was the perfect fit for LDCs scalable Moodle solution. LDC’s successful track record boasts countless implementations of Azure hosted Moodle in k-12 , higher education, and also in corporate learning contexts. With Azure the complete learning management system was uploaded swiftly and easily managed by LDC’s technical team.  The open platform allowed LDC to deploy a scalable architecture where identical virtual machines can be added in minutes .  Azure has helped LDC implement scalable infrastructures for various solutions previously that encompasses business applications as well as learning management systems.

  • Configuration Changes, and New Features to the Infrastructure in a Jiffy

LDC utilized DevOps in its front end servers to speed up it’s development cycle for any additions to the infrastructure , this boosted agility, speed, flexibility and sustainability. In addition any changes to Moodles’ configuration, the platform operating system, addition of security patches, or service updates would be done rapidly with no down time thanks to the addition of DevOps, this transformed configuration management to an entirely new level characterized by continuous delivery, more stabilized operating environments, and speedy resolution of problems. DevOps allows you to orchestrate phased infrastructure and application deployments using intuitive workflows, further simplifying application and configuration management and maintaining consistency. LDC’s deep domain knowledge and impressive track record in the practice spelled out success for its project with STEM schools and paved the way for any future needs.

  • Battle Variable Usage with Azure Auto Scaling

Having strikingly variable usage levels was a major challenge for STEM schools because that meant that their local infrastructure had to be large enough to handle up to 10,000 concurrent users at some times and then as low as 5 users at other times. Cloud hosting solved that problem, but more specifically the unique technology behind Azure Auto Scaling, where virtual machine and servers can be easily added to handle any spikes in traffic without affecting any data integrity or performance issues. Auto Scaling not only solves the problem of demand changes but saves tremendous costs of hosting because you only pay for machines you are using.  Azure Auto Scaling has a wide base of applicability for any scalable infrastructure for a variety of business applications not just Moodle and learning management systems.

  • Distributed File Systems for Smarter Back End Load Balancing and Large File Handling

With Azure Auto Scaling on the front end, LDC utilized distributed file systems on the back end to handle the sudden spurges  in usage. Distributed file systems allows information to be distributed on multiple virtual servers that are then aggregated for better access of data. This translates to better scalability of capacity, performance and availability on demand with no vendor lock-in.  Distributed file systems means optimization of different work loads as it has the ability to handle thousands of clients without affecting performance or your bottom line. Distributed File Systems is the perfect   back end answer to a  scalable infrastructure regardless of the solution, LDC has employed this ideal system  for  a variety of solutions be it a learning management system or business application. The unique cluster technology behind distributed file systems also spells out a key advantage which is the ability to handle large static files such as videos, images, and presentations, all of which are a vital part of the educational process. Now STEM schools can share large files which were nearly impossible in the past.

  • Simplified Management, Zero Downtime Hand with Faster Delivery, Can it Get any Better?

LDC delivered its solution in a record time of only two months, thanks to its strong technical leadership and Azure open platform which simplifies and guarantees speedy delivery. STEM schools were finally able to focus on shaping the future of learning as updates and system management became effort and headache free. Enhancing the educational quality of STEM Schools will help the MOE further expand their success across various standard schools on a national level.    Costs were also reduced by more than 50% as there was no need any more for large physical servers to host the increasing demand for its LMS. Most importantly the performance of Moodle was dramatically improved with zero downtime especially during peak times, the quality of the data that was geographically dispersed was maintained and security was heightened.

Smart Digitization for a Smart Future

LDC’s intelligent solution unraveled countless advantages for STEM schools, but most importantly is the digital transformation they witnessed, now the educational process can run smoothly and heighten the education capabilities of the school. The success of STEM schools does not only mean the success of a governmental project but the expansion of this digitization model across the country’s  educational system.   STEM schools were able to reap the full benefits of the internationally acclaimed LMS ; their investment in digitization finally paid off.

“Teaming up with LDC helped us achieve new heights we didn’t think were possible, not only were we able to finally utilize the myriad features of Moodle that were made dormant because of our infrastructure problems, but they were able to skillfully do this in record time without affecting the flow of  our school year”.

Waleed El Fakharany

General Manager of Technology Infrastructure

Ministry of Education – Egypt