By Vijaya George
A new agreement between UAE University and Microsoft will enable the university to upgrade its existing IT infrastructure and further streamline its administrative and education processes.
UAE University has signed a technology agreement with Microsoft, by which it will use the vendor’s platform extensively to streamline its administrative and education processes. Work has been in progress to deploy the Active Directory component of Windows 2000 to reach students and faculty members spread over the nine college and six campuses that the university operates. Now, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) and Server Management System (SMS) will also be used to manage and provide remote technical support to the new environment.“UAEU has, since the mid 1990’s, been pursuing an aggressive plan to upgrade its IT infrastructure,” commented Dr. Ali Rashed Alnoaimi, deputy vice chancellor for Academic Affairs (DVCAA), UAE University. “In the past four years, we have developed a comprehensive plan to seamlessly integrate IT into both the learning and teaching processes within the university. This plan is derived from UAEU strategic plan (1998-2007) and the vision of H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, minister of higher education and scientific research, chancellor of UAEU, to establish a modern University for the 21st century.” Elaborating on the university’s decision to deploy Active Directory, Dr. Yasser Sakr, the IT Advisor for the DVCAA stated: “We wanted to establish a stable and unified environment to develop a reliable e-learning environment for UAEU. The recommendation to utilise Active Directory as the system for this environment was taken after an in-depth review by the university’s Academic Computing Committee. The technical committee of the University has started working on the design framework for the deployment, taking into consideration the current network capacity at UAEU, the total number of students and faculty, and future expandability and scalability.” In order to implement Active Directory, UAEU chose the Windows 2000 platform as the learning foundation for the 6 campuses to provide easy and integrated access to educational resources. A pilot project for the deployment of Active Directory was completed in mid-2001 by the DVCAA. “The first phase of the implementation started later in the year and we have found the environment to be totally reliable. We have already finalised plans to move into the second phase of the implementation and started the actual implementation in six colleges. The third phase will include the remaining four colleges/units. In addition to Active Directory, we have also chosen Microsoft Operations Manager and Server Management System to manage and to provide remote technical support to the new environment," added Sakr. UAEU is one of the first organisations in the region to go in for a large-scale deployment of Microsoft Operations Manager, with a view to further streamlining various educational and administrative processes within the University. The UAE University is also one of the three universities under the Ministry of Higher Education that recently signed a campus agreement with Microsoft for the use of the latest Microsoft technologies.