With the help of IT Era and because of the ease of working with AWS services, setting up new infrastructure for this project took just one week instead of more than two months.
Nefi Aguilera IT Infrastructure Coordinator, Institute for Research, Innovation, and Graduate Studies in Education

From its extensive experience working with educational organizations and government agencies, IT Era has seen that its public-sector clients often face similar challenges. “Tight budgets, small IT departments, and time-consuming procurement rules can make it hard for these organizations and agencies to adopt up-to-date IT best practices and take advantage of the latest technology,” says Arturo Juarez, an account manager for IT Era, and Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). “That’s where we can help.”

Those were the challenges faced by Instituto de Investigación, Innovación y Estudios de Posgrado para la Educación (IIIEPE, or the Institute for Research, Innovation, and Graduate Studies for Education). Based in Nuevo León, Mexico, IIIEPE is publicly funded to promote innovation in the Mexican education system through research, technology development, strategic planning, and both online and classroom-based professional development programs for educators. Until 2015, IIIEPE offered all its online training programs through online learning environments based on Moodle, a free and open-source learning management system, that was hosted in an on-premises data center.

In 2015, IIIEPE learned of an opportunity to assist the Mexican Public Education Secretariat in providing a new platform for online courses for a national professional development program for high school teachers that would start in about two months. The program would require a new online learning environment, but the Institute’s on-premises data center was at capacity. “Setting up a new learning platform in our data center would have required procuring, configuring, and securing new physical servers,” says Nefi Aguilera, IT infrastructure coordinator for IIIEPE. “This would have taken too long and exceeded the available budget.”

IIIEPE was looking for a faster, less expensive approach for deploying Moodle-based online learning environments that would still enable the Institute to meet high service standards. The organization knew that using AWS could help it meet these requirements but wanted expert guidance on the best options and approaches.

IIIEPE evaluated firms that could assist with this project and decided to work with IT Era. Drivers for this decision, according to Aguilera, included the fact that IT Era is an APN Advanced Consulting Partner with membership in the AWS Public Sector Partner Program and AWS Competencies in Government and Education. The company’s AWS Certified Solution Architects have also helped many Latin American organizations migrate and fine-tune educational workloads on AWS.

“It impressed me that IT Era had taken the time to meet APN requirements for these designations and certifications,” says Aguilera. “The other vendors I looked at just hadn’t demonstrated IT Era’s level of experience with AWS, especially experience bringing education clients on AWS."

Juarez affirms the importance of APN membership to IT Era. “Our customers see great value in the breadth, depth, and maturity of services available in the AWS Cloud, and they need to know they are picking a trustworthy partner to help get them there. The fact that we are an AWS Public Sector Partner with AWS Government and Education Competencies really helps differentiate us from our competition.”

IT Era consultants worked with IIIEPE to implement a new Moodle-based online learning environment in the AWS Cloud in just one week. It uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) as the solution’s PHP-capable web server, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for MySQL to manage the Moodle database, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to host the user-uploaded files and folders.

By working with IT Era to deploy a Moodle implementation in the AWS Cloud, IIIEPE saved time and money, and the resulting reliable, highly secure solution further strengthened the Institute’s reputation for innovation and leadership in its field.

“With the help of IT Era and because of the ease of working with AWS services, setting up new infrastructure for this project took just one week instead of more than two months,” says Aguilera, who explains that the flexibility of AWS made it easy to grow the platform from an initial user base of 800 to the current 10,000 registered students. “We avoided about US$71,000 in hardware procurement costs, and with AWS we can just pay for the services we use, on demand, and don’t have to overprovision the way we have to in our on-premises data center.”

IIIEPE was especially happy to be able to inform the Mexican Public Education Secretariat that the new online learning environment was ready so quickly. “IT Era and the AWS services we used helped us finish faster than other institutions with bigger IT departments,” says Aguilera, adding that the Institute plans to continue working with IT Era to move more workloads to AWS. “The success of this project demonstrated our professionalism, agility, and high standards, and that has helped us win new projects and additional funding.”

IT Era points to the IIIEPE engagement to explain why its relationship with AWS is so central to its strategy. “No other cloud provider has the agility, velocity, or capacity of AWS, so it’s easy for us to show our customers how AWS services can help them,” says Juarez. “But AWS goes further than any other cloud provider in how it helps its partner ecosystem—not just with the robust relationship, support, documentation, and other benefits that APN members get, but also with specific designations and certifications like our AWS Public Sector Partner Program membership and our AWS Competencies. These credentials make it much easier for customers to find us and for us to bring them on board.”

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IT Era Process Consulting, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner, helps IT organizations improve operations. The company’s name refers to the iterative approach it takes to its work by dividing large projects into short-term objectives and accomplishing them through continuous-improvement processes. IT Era consultants assist customers with governance of IT projects and services, implementation of IT best practices, and cloud migration and transformation. The company, which also operates an IT training Institute, is based in Mexico City and employs about 500 people in offices throughout Latin America.

For more information, contact IT Era through its listing on the APN Partner Solution Finder or visit their website.

To learn more about how AWS can help public sector organizations, visit our AWS Public Sector Partner Program details page