1BestariNet project aims to get all 10,000 schools connected to the Internet and laptops for every child
Today, 5.5 million students, 500,000 teachers and 5 million parents have access to the cloud-based VLE
OPEN source solutions provider Red Hat Inc has announced the completion of its collaboration with telecommunication service provider YTL Communications to deliver what it described as a scalable, cost-effective cloud platform for e-learning in schools.
Its enterprise open source solutions have enabled YTL Communications to complete the cloud platform project for 1BestariNet six months ahead of schedule and within budget, while achieving lower cost of ownership and reducing project risks, Red Hat said in a statement.
“Red Hat was selected as a key partner for the 1BestariNet project due to its ability to provide a cost-efficient platform by leveraging open source software,” said YTL Communications Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Wing K. Lee.
“Red Hat’s highly scalable, affordable, open source model was the most effective in running a large-scale cloud deployment project like the 1BestariNet,” he added.
According to Damien Wong (pic), Asean general manager at Red Hat, his company’s ability to deliver enterprise-ready, reliable open source solutions enabled YTL Communications to achieve greater efficiency in services and cost-savings on its IT infrastructure for the project.
“We expect more businesses to adopt open source solutions as it is a mainstream technology that not only liberates resources, but at the same time, provides an IT infrastructure that is secure, robust, and agile,” Wong claimed.
The 1BestariNet project, which would see all 10,000 schools in the nation being connected to the Internet and with every school student equipped with a laptop, has been dogged by controversy, with some industry players questioning what they see as the opaque manner in which YTL Communications was awarded the contract.
According to Red Hat’s statement, in December 2011, YTL Communications was contracted by the Ministry of Education to equip 10,000 primary and secondary public schools in Malaysia with a virtual learning infrastructure and provide high-speed 4G Internet network access in just 12 months.
Meeting the aggressive timeline required an unconventional departure from the traditional approach of deploying application servers in schools, to a cloud-based approach where 10,000 virtual learning environments (VLEs) and schools can be deployed into the 1BestariNet cloud, Red Hat said.
This approach would enable all schools to access their individual school’s VLE via 1BestariNet or through any Internet connection.
YTL Communications based its search for a cloud solution based on criteria such as reliability, support, performance, and scalability. After evaluating solutions from various vendors, YTL Communications selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, and Red Hat Satellite Server, which met all of the above requirements, the open source vendor claimed.
The 1BestariNet VLE system currently runs on 60 Dell and Intel Xeon-based servers with 2,400 cores for virtualisation hypervisors to support the distribution of applications to the schools.
Flexibility and scalability with open source
Built on a flexible Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization infrastructure, the VLEs can continue to scale and support additional processing or storage capacity as and when needed.
“This can be achieved by scaling out horizontally and by adding more physical processing and storage capacity to the virtualisation farms,” Wing (pic) said.
Adopting a cloud-based approach has enabled YTL Communications to standardise and control its IT infrastructure, as well as roll out new applications, application modules, updates and content to schools in an efficient manner – all which contributes to meeting its deployment and budget requirements, Red Hat said.
With its open source solutions, VLEs for 10,000 schools were built and deployed within the first six months of the project. Today, 5.5 million students, 500,000 teachers, and five million parents have access to the cloud-based VLE in 1BestariNet, the company claimed.
The success of this project has spurred YTL Communications to take the VLE one step further. “We are in the midst of rolling out further applications and promoting the use of mobile devices to access the cloud environment,” said Wing.
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