In South Africa, The Queensland Education Foundation's legacy security infrastructure – including dedicated firewalls – was overloaded and operating at close to maximum capacity.
The Queensland Education Foundation (QEF) supports 11 different schools for the first 12 primary grades. In an effort to transform the region into a marquee digital environment, it has built a series of fully networked and online classrooms. The network is used both to supply connectivity and as a pedagogical tool to teach students enterprise IT concepts and provide hands-on instruction about their use. Combine that with the increased demands that COVID-19 placed on students to learn from home, the foundation needed to beef up its wide-area network with a higher-capacity fiber ring and better security software.
The Foundation's IT team went looking for a single-socket computer solution to simplify support, and conserve power and cooling requirements. This would be used to run the Arista Edge Threat Management software firewall and other security tools to protect their networks and help support student file sharing across the member schools.
The IT team experimented with an earlier Supermicro server to test the concept, "but it wasn’t powerful enough," said Johan Bester, one of the IT managers for the QEF. Eventually, the team selected the Supermicro A+ server powered by the AMD EPYC™ 7502 CPU with 128GB of RAM.
The server also contains four 10Gbps Ethernet switch ports to boost I/O performance. "With this server, we are able to offer our students a safe environment while encouraging collaborative projects among different schools," he said. The team was attracted to the A+ server because of its price/performance ratio. Plus, its specs met the foundation’s existing service level agreements while delivering increased functionality. The Supermicro system can also be used as a template that can be easily replicated across other South African school networks.
For more detail on Queensland Educational Foundation's adoption of Supermicro and AMD computing technologies, see the QEF case study on the Supermicro website.