Is your head in the cloud?

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) has written a guide to explain how ‘cloud computing’ works.

Written by the ISC’s ICT Strategy Group, the guide explains how the traditional method of using servers physically located in a school is being challenged by the rise of computing in ‘the cloud’. Something which many large companies have been doing for years.

With a lower specification computer, good bandwidth and a browser, the user can go onto the internet, access and manage:

Cloud Infrastructure.
Servers, networks and related hardware held in data centres worldwide. Part, or all, of the school’s technical infrastructure can be hosted in a data centre.

Cloud Platform.

The infrastructure applications/operating platforms eg Microsoft Azure. The data centre infrastructure can run the operating platform for the school.

Cloud Applications.

The school can manage its own software using the data centre and it can also use available free or paid for applications eg Google mail and docs, Office online.

Many schools are used to doing things the ‘the old way’, which involved desktop computers and servers which would need future investment to upgrade storage space or specification to provide for new technological development. A large technical team, which would deal with all aspects of ICT, would need to be financed and managed.

As a school decides to upgrade and spend a good deal of money on ICT infrastructure it should consider whether a large investment for similar provision is needed or whether a combination of in-school and cloud services would save money and allow more flexibility in the future.

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