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Cloud Services Thread, Everything In The Cloud - Best Way? in Technical; I am curious what some of you have in your technology plan looking down the road the next year or ...
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    Everything In The Cloud - Best Way?

    I am curious what some of you have in your technology plan looking down the road the next year or two.

    We all know that cloud seems to be the way everything is going. My question is how much do you guys plan on relying on cloud only for services leaving your infrastructure needs pretty much limited to needing network/internet connectivity and some printing capability. With students able to share docs/homework with teachers via google docs printing out homework really wouldn't be necessary.

    So, are you guys planning on a complete transition to cloud only? Are you planning on a transition to something like a chromebook and/or android tablet for each student with no more computer labs?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Not gonna happen here. We have no plans to 'cloudify' anything here. I simply couldn't trust our internet connection for it.

    Instead, we have everything hosted in-house, with students able to access that externally. By outsourcing to Cloud, you get rid of control and that's something we're not willing to do yet.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    No cloud here either for the same reasons, they can still access everything remotely because our internet connection works both ways, we can get stuff from the internet (revolutionary I know), like cloud stuff if we wanted and also share services from inside out. We get many things from having possession of it ourselves the main one being power over it and accountability. Most cloud providers will happily give you an SLA of when we get to it and you have no other options. Our internet connections are not fantastic and our bandwidth is worse. Sure there is a bottleneck either way but with our setup its not when the students are at school trying to do work. At home you are less likely to get a whole school load of people hitting it at the same time and it means you can use fun stuff like HD video and big documents without melting the internet connection. It also means that if the internet connection goes down the whole school is not paralyzed without services. It is bad enough now when the internet links fail let alone if every little thing was out there.

    You also have the issue of trusting an American company to play by any other rules than their own, sure there is safe harbour etc. but if they really wanted to that would wash away very quickly with a decent amount of government pressure.

    The 'cloud' may have some good points but it has a hell of a lot of bad ones too not least the degeneration of decisions to an external party which always works out sooo well.

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    catch21 (28th June 2013), speckytecky (9th April 2013)

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    Approach with caution...keep an eye on continual development...consider and debate some cloud movement (depending on what is meant by 'cloud')...but I do not foresse a day in the near future when everything we have, specifically curriculum-specific software, can be cloud-based. Is making GoogleApps/GoogleDrive available considered 'cloud', for instance? If so, we're there...but have retained and intend to retain Office and remote access via TS.

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    Cache's Avatar
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    I haven't any plans to transition everything across to the cloud, obviously that can be taken out of my hands but then I wouldn't remain here much longer if it was.

    We're currently considering opening up Office 365 and Google Apps for education to link into the google accounts for things like AppInventor and using Google sites and using email through Office 365, but that's as far as I'm planing to go at the moment. The Office 365 for the exchange like features plus more storage then I could even consider offering internally. At the moment we don't have any internal email system anyway so that isn't so much of a huge shift for us.

    I don't like the idea of transitioning everything out of the environment, being at somebody elses whim in terms of what can happen and also becoming reliant upon a service which should a company not like any more they could pretty easily close down and you'd be left hanging.

    Maybe I'm too negative on it, but it doesn't hold my confidence still.

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    My schools use gapps for email, sites, calendar but docs is only used for the governors, everything else is in-house.

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    Grey-gear's Avatar
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    That I know off the cloud storge is used by the SLT team for their own documents but there seems to be no plan to extend that, one of the primary schools the school provides IT support too is though so I watching to see how they handle it. So to answer the question I don't come across it all to offen and for now there is no plan to move to that kind of service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Not gonna happen here. We have no plans to 'cloudify' anything here. I simply couldn't trust our internet connection for it.

    Instead, we have everything hosted in-house, with students able to access that externally. By outsourcing to Cloud, you get rid of control and that's something we're not willing to do yet.
    Me too. I'd rather have everything where I KNOW its being backed up, etc etc.

    Meldrew

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    We've got an internet connection from RM here. Moving to a system which depended on it being up all the time would be utterly bonkers.

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    The secondary school down the road from me is completely Google cloud based but I have no idea how they are finding it.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gopackgo View Post
    With students able to share docs/homework with teachers via google docs printing out homework really wouldn't be necessary.
    The problem is in the retention of all that data. I'm assuming that we're going to have to retain a pupil's work for at least the time they are at the school plus a bit more, so that's around 10 years at my current school. When you add photos and videos of children into that figure, "cloud" storage starts to get expensive. I can, however, colocate a decent sized (40TB) server (costing £3,000) in Docklands for around £1200 a year with a 3TB a month data allowance, which compares favorably with cloud storage prices.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    The problem is in the retention of all that data. I'm assuming that we're going to have to retain a pupil's work for at least the time they are at the school plus a bit more, so that's around 10 years at my current school. When you add photos and videos of children into that figure, "cloud" storage starts to get expensive. I can, however, colocate a decent sized (40TB) server (costing £3,000) in Docklands for around £1200 a year with a 3TB a month data allowance, which compares favorably with cloud storage prices.
    Which is basically a private cloud solution then... Which would beg the question as to why you'd do that, rather than have it in your server room like most of us do now?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Which is basically a private cloud solution then... Which would beg the question as to why you'd do that, rather than have it in your server room like most of us do now?
    Why not both if you are really pushing the whole distributed, inside outside flow thing. This is the kind of thing where I think big la broadband providers could make themselves really useful by offering colocation so you can have a mirrored service infrastructure if you want to. Best of both worlds unless you like that helpless feeling of the nebulous cloud.

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    For me the Cloud is something you move to if you are a small startup or you have an issue with an area of your existing infrastructure, i.e. it is overpriced or underperforming (or both). Maybe a Cloud-based solution offers more features (but are they features you couldn't get in-house?), or maybe your Internet connection or backup arrangements are poor and the initial outlay of bringing them up to scratch is prohibitive so you could benefit from using someone else's infrastructure. The issue with the PATRIOT Act and the like doesn't have to be a problem for a British school if you use a European-hosted Cloud service that's decent (like... ermmm...).

    If your infrastructure is fine, however, I don't really see the point. As NM I've spent the past three years building up an infrastructure that works well and runs itself a lot of the time; I see no advantage in using someone else's when the downside is that it introduces a certain degree of dependence and lack of fine-grained control on our part. Also, the way we've been able to structure our backup arrangements means our data retention is often greater than your average Cloud-hosted solution will offer, offsite too because the County has unthrottled the broadband link between ourselves and another local school to 100Mb in the evenings and at weekends so we can colocate servers between our respective sites to back up to.

    This is all aside from the massive middle-finger it represents to whose of us who had been hoping for a long and prosperous career in technical architecture, infrastructure design and technological leadership for a single client, thank you very much.
    Last edited by Ephelyon; 9th April 2013 at 06:10 PM.

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    truebluesteve's Avatar
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    We have a Governor who works for IBM as a "consultant" who believes the only way forward is the cloud. Thing is he has no idea how schools work in terms of IT provision and is too opinionated and arrogant to ask (this was also the view of the last Head!) so it has been a battle at times to convince others that it isn't a panacea.

    I like to keep an open mind on all things IT but with a healthy dose of scepticism too, especially when the next great idea comes out! I think we will move a lot of our backups to the cloud by the end of the summer, but that's really because it is easier to manage. Other than that I like to keep stuff in house so we have control over it.

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