This is all well and good; but I can see two pretty big problems, and that lies with the WAN link between your thin client terminals and your data centre. When it fails or performs sub-optimally, the school loses everything - curriculum, admin, communications - the lot. Even worse - if the data centre itself fails (or its section of the WAN), then schools in the whole county lose everything.
Another question to raise over centralising this sort of thing - who owns the data? The school? The LEA? The managed service?
It also makes for a pretty large attack vector. It only takes one vulnerability to potentially leak a whole lot of data to the outside world, or let a whole lot of viruses/trojans affect the whole network, again - potential to take down the whole LEA education infrastructure.
Reality check: "Primary schools record an average bandwidth of 3.2Mbps, which is expected to increase to 4.1Mbps by April 2009. For secondary schools the levels are expected to increase from an average of 15.7Mbps to 21.1Mbps by April 2009."
The thing is - if your centralising the infrastructure across the authority, the cost savings in initial purchase cost, replacement lifecycle, electricity usage, support costs, by replacing thousands of 100watt fat clients with 6watt thin clients will give the LEA an enormous pot of money with which to spend some of it on the WAN infrastructure. I would expect dual redundant 100mbit lines at least.
Large multinational companies do this kind of centralised consolidation every day and have been for the last 10 years. It works, and with recent advancements in server hardware, virtualisation, and improvements in desktop and app delivery, it will continue to work even better.
C3 Education/BESA report, page 4.
That is at the moment for using the internet to browse websites; not for running the whole computer network continually throughout the day over thin client protocols.
Each school might have the necessary bandwidth; but will the WAN and the server infrastrucutre at the other end be able to cope with hundreds of schools? Are the RBC and managed service reliable enough to sustain the required throughput and performance?
Throwing millions at a problem should in theory allow you to be better prepared, but centralized infrastructures tend to be pretty complex beasts, added to over time to increase complexity, and all sorts of change procedures and policies in place. And $h1t happens after all.
I would say that if you are providing centralised ICT services for a whole LEA, i.e all primary, secondary, special, librarys etc you would definatly want at least two redundant datacentres. Modern SANs and Vitualisation make redundant datacentres far cheaper and easier to set up than they once were.
All eggs in one datacentre is never a good idea! Even I am trying to get a second server room set up in my school which can act as a redundant backup incase the main server room should ever somehow be destroyed.
HDX MediaStream (SpeedScreen Multimedia Acceleration) is what I think you are talking about.
Can be read about here:XENAPP SNEAK PEEK - HDX MediaStream for Flash Tech Preview - Juan Rivera - Citrix Community
Well let's take it a step further and save even more money, lets outsource to another multinational in a different country and let them run our educational IT systems at 1 tenth of the cost of running them in this country.
We might as well cut out the middle men (LAs) and save heaps in making all the IT staff in education redundant just think of all the money we can save and the misery we can inflict on people all in one go.
Lol - I'm only saying - if it is done properly it will work, and give each school a fast, reliable, very very cost effective network. Whether most LEAs have the ability to do it properly on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. I suspect not.
Please, please, please don't start talking about resilient connections in schools. The costs of two decent lines for most schools is high, especially when you consider to have a resilient connection you need to have *two* lines going to different exchanges via different routes and that includes coming into your building at different entry points.
If you want to talk about a waste of money then you have a massive one there.
If we are talking about a heavy duty connection between the school and a data centre then if you have a 20 meg connection is often run on a 100 meg bearer and is capped ... not a big jump to uncap it (YMMV and costs depend on the RBC structure in your region).
With a connection that is relied on under BSF there should be heavy penalties on the ISP if there are performance problems and the hard part is getting the ISP not just to accept this as a loss and do something with it to ensure that performance is consistently good.
Relying on a central datacentre under BSF is not that different from schools relying on google apps, live@edu or other hosted systems. It is fine to say that you can still work on the local machine but if all your resources are hosted then that is an issue, so there is not much difference between thin client usage and hosted usage.
Not aimed at offending anyone but where does it stop in the name of saving money or a reverse way of profiteering at the cost of peoples jobs and lives.
Eventually where will this country of ours end up if we don't produce anything and give away all our services to other countries?
What will our poor people do to make ends meet.
Dead right with that one Tony,
Any ISP worth it's salt would not require to have a redundant line at extra cost ran into the BSF school the one line would have failover built in as you say at the exchange taking a different route to get to its target source.
That is why I have questioned our ISPs vision to do just that with the BSF offering of managed services which our LA and ISP have joined forces to deliver.
At the moment keeping a steady 10Mb feed constant seems to be quite a challenge to them.
Bossman your living in a dream world if you think you're job is going to be super secure forever.
You can't fight the tide - the tide is going to be for computer systems to need less and less technical support, ideally computer systems should run like a TV. Turn on, do what you want, turn off. End of. No need for technical support. Will we get there? Not for 10+ years. But we will get there.
The whole point of working IT now is to make it fast, reliable, cost effective. If that means less technical support required - so be it. Harsh but true. Are you suggesting we purposefully keep our ICT systems unreliable just to keep ourselves in jobs? I hope not!
Sorry - but that's juts the way the world works, when the miners were on strike, it was inevitable that all the pits would close. No amount of strike action would make any difference.
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