Rift Valley Academy

RVA asked us to help migrate their IT Infrastructure and systems to upgrade the current systems.  We were honored to accept the challenge and started assessments in February 2010.  Fady Eldeiry visited RVA in February, to meet with the IT staff and others to talk about the needs they have and the current structure of the network.  After a fruitful day and a half discussing, meeting people and taking pictures, we started the project.

Over the following 3 months, a team of 5 was recruited and we started working on the project plan.  In May, we all met at the MSP airport and took Delta and KLM to Nairobi.  When we arrived in Nairobi the next evening, we were greeting by some staff from RVA.

On the first day, we huddled together and worked on tasks for each team members and laid out plans A and B for each part of the project.  Our goal was to finish well and finish on time, with the least amount of downtime for users.

We had an amazing time as a team building relationships with each as we worked.  Our team was much bigger than the 5 that went from the USA, we had 3 staff, 2 students and 2 workers.  In all, we were a team of 12.

We were able to finish the project by the end of the week.  By then, we had migrated an Active Directory domain with over 600 users to a new upgraded 2008 Domain, virtualized all the servers to VMWare, installed 16 new switches and terminated fiber, and converted a network of 100 nodes of copper into a DSL network, and added an NSA Sonicwall Firewall.

The DSL network helped so much with many of the problems there were having, because they were originally using remote connections over dial-up to logon to their own network on the same campus.  That was occupying the phone lines and was also very slow.  Once we had the DSL, they were able to use the phone lines, be online at a much faster speed and had the benefit of wireless.

The firewall became very helpful, especially since it’s a school with over 500 students and 200 staff.  Security was much more manageable, and we were able to build zones for the dorms that didn’t interfere with the school network.  We then had firewall policies to manage connections.  And with the new switches, we setup VLANs to help also.

Once we were all done, we took the last 2 days to go on safari in Lake Nakuru.  It was an amazing time as a team to get together and have some time of rest before we all went home.  It was a nice reward for everyone’s hard work.

In 2012, we returned to RVA to install their new phone system.  They now have an Elastix phone system, interconnected with the legacy system they had to communicate with the lower station on their campus.