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Cloud Services Thread, Everything In The Cloud - Best Way? in Technical; Interesting thread, we've just had a meeting where the idea of cloud computing raised its head. I can see a ...
  1. #46

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    Interesting thread, we've just had a meeting where the idea of cloud computing raised its head. I can see a hybrid solution working but hate the idea of going all cloud, except for the junior school which uses it lighter.

  2. #47


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    A good reason not to go cloud only (at least for home users)...

    Dumped! by Google

    One recent Thursday morning, I logged into my e-mail and made an alarming discovery. Instead of opening my inbox, Google directed me to a notice:

    Account has been disabled . . . . In most cases, accounts are disabled if we believe you have violated either the Google Terms of Service, product-specific Terms of Service . . . . or product-specific policies . . . . it might be possible to regain access to your account.
    It was like I'd gotten dumped, via text message, by someone en route to Cabo. The vagaries left me reeling. I read the terms and policies, but they offered few clues. There were no numbers to call, no tickets to request help. I had a real problem with how things ended, so I filled out a form and sent it into the ether. What exactly had I done wrong? Had I missed the warning signs? Did Google want me or not?

    In reality, I discovered, Google assumes no responsibility over user data nor is it required by law to do so. In the same notice informing me that it had disabled my account, Google told me for the first time that it reserves the right to “terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.” In its Terms of Service, Google limits its total liability for stolen data, lost data, anything, “TO THE AMOUNT YOU PAID US TO USE THE SERVICES” (yes, in all caps), which could mean as much as the $2.49 per month you shelled out for 25GB more storage or in my case, nothing.

    Google not only reserves the right to take away or vaporize our data for any reason, but it also reserves the right to discontinue services, the means to access it, whenever it wants. It does this more often than you probably realize and most recently with Google Reader, which disappears on July 1.

    I was getting a crash course on the harsh realities of the Internet and early cloud computing, an era in which we are all just users and nothing more. No matter how much we actively contribute to improving companies’ products or the network of data that makes the Internet possible at all, users are easily discarded. Google’s priorities are squarely fixed on preventing data from falling into the wrong hands—not ensuring it is always available to the right ones.

  3. #48

    Ephelyon's Avatar
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    It's the old "all the eggs in one basket" story again... something I never do with any of our suppliers for similar reasons. Multiple cloud providers might not be so bad of course, but then you'd miss out on all the nice integration benefits.

  4. #49

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    Talking

    We are a secondary school with about 1200 pupils, all Windows systems. We are however on the move to GAPPS, but we are not abandoning Windows, just scaling back our operations.
    In terms of desktops around the school, we normally buy refurb Core2 duo based HP machines and whack an SSD in them, these are great for media related stuff but to be honest pretty overkill for most tasks. our intentions are to gradually replace most of these machines with carts of Chromebooks scattered across the school site, where teachers/students can use them within the confines of their own classroom and not be restricted to booking out IT suites. For most tasks ChromeBooks tick all the boxes where the only exceptions being media and ICT where local storage is required(Photoshop, Premiere etc).

    In terms of accounts we are already syncing staff and students accounts and passwords with Google and are migrating mailboxes as we speak ready to migrate to GMAIL in September.

    I am a self proclaimed system centre/hyper-v nut, but this whole Google eco-system is awesome and so refreshing coming from windows, the policies are clearly labelled (unlike some of the vague entries in GPO's) and the big thing for me is the speed; 10-15 seconds from turning on a ChromeBook (even the older models) to being able to use it.(with all the apps you just deployed).

    For those of you looking at iPad's/Chromebooks my opinion is this:
    iPad's (and Android based devices) are designed to be used by a single user, where you sign-in to the device and that is how you get the full experience, they suit the 1-1 model quite well but the classroom model not so much. (IMO)

    Chromebooks- Anyone can pick up ANY chromebook within your org and be working straight away, all their apps, files, history etc. bam -it's there, and then when you sign out 'poof' its gone.

    Chromebook Vs Windows laptop:

    On a ChromeBook, there is no need for antivirus/anti malware and so there is no device slowdown caused by this.
    Price: the series 3 ChromeBook can be had for around £195 (ex vat)
    config: On a Chromebook you add it your wifi, enroll the device and thats about it. (I don't think I need to tell you how this works on Windows)
    speed: A Chromebook can be on and working before a Windows machine even gets to the loading screen.
    lost work: If the machine crashes, the students don't lose their work.
    app deployment: pushing apps or your own code is pretty much 1-click 'push' and these go to chrome on the desktop too.

    Lastly but most importantly: Cross platform, Chrome/Google works on pretty much any device - iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Windows, Mac, Linux. For me this is more important than the hardware as it does not matter who wins the device war - the ecosystem will always be there.

    I'm not anti-windows; I actually quite like Windows 8 (for its hidden functions), but I do think that these days a full fat OS is a bit old hat for most things.

    And no, ChromeOS/GAPPS will not put you out of a job.

  5. #50
    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    Without getting into the ecumenical debate about which service or device is better, I'm interested to read your thoughts...

    Straight out of the gate you say that you purchase refurbished PCs with older processors, etc. and you say that they're overkill for most of what you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsacre View Post
    we normally buy refurb Core2 duo based HP machines and whack an SSD in them, these are great for media related stuff but to be honest pretty overkill for most tasks.
    But very quickly your argument turns to the speed element, and how booting a Chromebook is quick, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsacre View Post
    the big thing for me is the speed; 10-15 seconds from turning on a ChromeBook (even the older models) to being able to use it.(with all the apps you just deployed).
    Quote Originally Posted by jsacre View Post
    speed: A Chromebook can be on and working before a Windows machine even gets to the loading screen.
    I'm not going to try and bang the drum for Windows because that's not why I'm commenting (and it wouldn't be appropriate)! I am interested to know whether or not you'd re-evaluate your position if you purchased newer hardware on which to run Windows? Is the perception of Windows gained from the previous experiences with older OS versions and hardware eclipsing the experience of Windows 8 on the latest devices?

    I'm not trying to change your mind, by the way, but I'm hugely interested to know what influences peoples decisions!


    (Although, if you are interested in this sort of thing, check out this, and keep an eye on Microsoft UK Schools blog today too)

  6. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsacre View Post
    Chromebook Vs Windows laptop:

    On a ChromeBook, there is no need for antivirus/anti malware and so there is no device slowdown caused by this.
    Price: the series 3 ChromeBook can be had for around £195 (ex vat)
    config: On a Chromebook you add it your wifi, enroll the device and thats about it. (I don't think I need to tell you how this works on Windows)
    speed: A Chromebook can be on and working before a Windows machine even gets to the loading screen.
    lost work: If the machine crashes, the students don't lose their work.
    app deployment: pushing apps or your own code is pretty much 1-click 'push' and these go to chrome on the desktop too.

    Lastly but most importantly: Cross platform, Chrome/Google works on pretty much any device - iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Windows, Mac, Linux. For me this is more important than the hardware as it does not matter who wins the device war - the ecosystem will always be there.
    As much as I like GAPPs, and related services, some of the above is a limited look at the system and its problems.

    Anti-virus? Not at the moment, but it will eventually - all systems have flaws.
    Price - this is due to the limited specification of the machine. This limited spec also limits what you can do with the machine. No photoshop for you.
    Config - this is the same on Windows - add to wireless, join to domain and that's about it.
    Speed - all down to spec and what you're running. If your machine is just running a web browser, you can make it start quickly. Even with Windows...
    Lost work - Depends what you're doing, on what app etc...
    App deployment - Deploying on Windows isn't exactly difficult, so long as its in the right format in the first place (MSI). Add to GPO, add GPO to OU. Done.

    Cross platform - useful yes, but this is more down to your choice of apps, not the choice of OS.

  7. #52
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    Just put in a budget bid to refresh all of our server hardware here with a view it will allow us the hardware backbone for a 6 year plan to slowly migrate to cloud tech. My head asked if we could go to the cloud now and I said yes, but it would be rushed over spending time on what would be best for us.
    Assuming I get my network money wish, I plan on slowly migrating to a mix of Azure and Google (365 didn't cut it for me) while keeping a small presence in house. . Capita can host their rubbish SIMS databases for a yearly fee, Google can have our mail and documents and I will figure the rest out when we see what the needs are so to reply to OP... hardware now with a strong view the cloud is the way.
    Personally I don't subscribe to the whole "if the internet goes down". How often does it honestly go down at the moment and if anyone answers lots, then its new ISP time for you as business grade lines shouldn't have too many issues. I am working to the assumption that redundant connections will become the new staple for ISP's in business and education.

  8. #53


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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Anti-virus? Not at the moment, but it will eventually - all systems have flaws.
    Google has already added a feature to ChromeOS that will allow users to reset their account e.g. to remove malicious extensions.

    Google adds ‘Reset profile settings’ feature to Chromium, allows users to fix issues and clean up after malware « The Next Web

  9. #54
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    We are in the process of going RealSmart route, which simply is externally housed VLE which does have some nice functions. Bad news is this is not internally based and will rely more upon our internet connection.

    I am also looking in to signing our domain up to Google APPs and then Drive, bad news is our domain name is currently already registered and unless I can sort it out we are screwed - another reason why externally housed to google is a bad thing you need certain details before you can contact them.

  10. #55

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    bad news is our domain name is currently already registered and unless I can sort it out we are screwed
    I did not re-register our domain name - true all our g traffic goes to google.com/a/school rather than just school.sch.uk but the primaries I work for did not want to lose the old hosting. To prove the school owned the domain name Google asked me to upload a file to our webspace.

    Everything works as expected and I can re-register the domain if needed and update Gapps at any time.

  11. #56

    localzuk's Avatar
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    You don't need to re-register anything for Google Apps - you simply need to create some subdomain (CNAME records) and some MX records that point at their services. For proof of ownership, you need an email address such as 'admin@domain' or 'postmaster@domain' (there's a list you can choose from).

    Otherwise, they can verify via a file upload (or they used to, don't know if they do it any more).

  12. #57
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    Luckily enough the person who had created it was still here for another month!, although I did look and it was asking for the original email address used.

  13. #58
    zag
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    We have Office 365 here and the proof is in the using really.

    It works brilliantly, has never gone down, and has increased our storage and new features are great.

    Overall its been a complete success story. It seems crazy to me now that we ran a complete exchange server for just 1000 users. Overkill in the extreme.

    It makes me wonder what other services should be put in the cloud. I'm sure its not perfect for every situation but things like online payments, VLE, MIS come to mind as good applications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post

    It makes me wonder what other services should be put in the cloud. I'm sure its not perfect for every situation but things like online payments, VLE, MIS come to mind as good applications.

    feel exactly the same as you. Not put email over to google just yet but can see it happening next year. Why the hell are we maintaining ever clumsy software packages when someone else will do it for you cheaply. Im going cloud crazy from now on.

  15. #60

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    We have had google apps for education since half term and its uses are already showing. The Bursar and I are rapidly converting paperwork to Forms and automating the manual... if our IT illiterate HT is loving it then it must be good

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