The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) manages the administrative and governmental services of the zone and encourages international businesses to operate in Jordan. Businesses expect round-the-clock services, supported by the most up-to-date technologies possible. To provide this, the authority deployed Windows Server 2008 R2 for a stable IT environment that supports the cutting-edge technology businesses expect to see and saves the organization more than U.S.$60,000 a year.
The Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) was created in 2001 as a duty-free development zone. Bordering on Saudi Arabia and Israel, and including the Jordanian coastline, an international airport, and the sea ports of Jordan, ASEZ offers opportunities for businesses to expand their markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Special trading allowances—including currency, labor, and immigration—encourage companies to do business in ASEZ. This is part of a government strategy to position Jordan within the global economy by attracting investment and maximizing private-sector participation in all aspects of the zone operations and development. These efforts have paid off as ASEZ has become a major trade hub and the corridor for reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
ASEZA is the administrative and organizational authority of ASEZ. With 2,000 employees, the authority is made up of six ministries in multiple locations, each responsible for a specific area of regulatory or operational activity. A centralized IT environment with more than 60 servers provided the infrastructure for all the authority’s systems, including the postal service, taxation and treasury, and communications.
In early 2009, ASEZA implemented the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 7. The next logical step was to update the infrastructure to match the cutting-edge technology of Windows 7, and provide the round-the-clock access to the services that international businesses need. The organization’s data center was growing steadily, requiring more physical servers and increasing levels of power to run and cool the hardware. Security was also a concern because employees logged on to the system from remote locations.Solution
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Convergence Consulting and Technology successfully deployed Windows 7 across the organization, so it made sense to work with the same partner to evaluate and update the IT infrastructure.
Convergence completed a proof of concept, holding workshops to show the IT team at ASEZA how a virtualization solution built on Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V would reduce costs and make the service more resilient. Daoud Abboud, Chief Executive Officer at Convergence Consulting and Technology, says: “Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 work together to provide the best solution to satisfy all of the organization’s requirements for security and scalability.”
Omar M. Oduibat, Information Systems Director at ASEZA, says: “Convergence was very thorough, recommending that we virtualize 36 servers, giving us a cost-effective solution that’s easy to manage while giving the IT department better control of desktop machines.”
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 works with the Live Migration feature of Windows Server 2008 R2. With it, administrators can configure additional resources for vital services by moving virtual machines with no impact on users, thereby optimizing utilization.
Microsoft added value to the solution by giving ASEZA employees access to its accredited training program, Microsoft IT Academy. As an added service, Microsoft will help create a skilled community in the zone by offering IT Academy to all citizens in Aqaba. “As the organization responsible for the management and administration of a special economic zone, it’s important that we lead the way for best practices in business,” adds Oduibat.Benefits
Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V is a key part of this strategy, modernizing the authority’s infrastructure to showcase the latest technology, while providing a stable environment for services that need to be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The additional benefits of cutting costs and conserving energy help ASEZA maximize resources and promote green practices in business.
Enhanced security. Windows Server 2008 R2 integrates well with existing systems at ASEZA. Oduibat says: “We already had security mechanisms set up, but Windows Server 2008 R2, combined with Windows 7, gives us an even more efficient way of securing data.”
More than U.S.$60,000 savings a year. Virtualizing servers will save ASEZA at least U.S.$60,000 a year in hardware costs alone. The cost of cooling and running the data centre is reduced by 30 percent, bringing even greater savings.
Green IT. Reduced power consumption and a longer lifespan for hardware helps the organization lead by example by supporting green IT. “It’s something at which we all need to look. When we reduce our carbon footprint, we encourage others to do so too,” says Oduibat.
Continuous availability. International businesses need access to information and services provided by ASEZA at all hours of the day and night. Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V ensures that systems are consistently available when needed. If a virtual server fails, a backup server automatically takes its place.
No impact on users. Hyper-V is a key component of Windows Server 2008 R2. Its Live Migration feature, gives Oduibat and his team the opportunity to update and repair servers during business hours, with no impact on users.
Cutting-edge technology. As the governing authority of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, ASEZA needs to give its employees access to the latest technologies. Windows Server 2008 R2, combined with Windows 7, provides the modern interface international companies expect.
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