Sounds promising but also something that would need to be trialled in practice... but either way though, as I say, it all seems terribly roundabout when we have a perfectly serviceable Exchange installation on-site.
I save my money and time on licneses and hardware and spend it in (redundant) broadband. Its a different approach which works for us.
As you say, a different approach. Setting up and maintaining these things is where my skillset lies and where my job comes from; without that there's little to challenge me. CALs aren't that much through EES now and our server warranty renewals are drastically reduced now we've gone virtual and there are far fewer physical hosts. On the CMS side, hopefully the new learning platform will take care of that for our needs. A separate broadband connection would probably cost us more than the combined extras of the above.
But whatever works in the end. The way both Office 365 and GMail are going, they'll most likely have enterprise-ready features within the next few years.
That's because you're on FOSS though, if I recall?
I've always found it interesting how the arguments for FOSS and for the cloud - while technically unrelated - often tend to go together (I mean in the industry as a whole, not individual organisations). Perhaps it's due to the influence of big players like Google, who traditionally will promote both.
@CyberNerd mentions the money saved goes on a second net connection. That would cost us a minimum of £40k per year where I am, as we'd have to leave the LEA connection and get 2 private fibre lines. That is more than any possible savings for us.
Perhaps not quite as much for us but it certainly wouldn't be cheap and would most likely cost more than our current licensing/warranty renewals... we'd also miss out on the ability to have the hub nodes at our end and another local school's unthrottled to 100Mbps out of hours so we can back up to each other. But every situation is different.
Well, thanks for all the responses.
For some, they seemed to think that a cloud based solution wouldn't work because of a lack of a quality internet connection. We have one decent connection and are looking at getting another faster connection to use either just as a backup, or to load balance/backup. With Google docs, when you're working on your files it's not like you have to download the file, then upload it back to the cloud. So, it is really efficient as far as internet usage goes.
As we look towards 1 to 1 computing the thought is to go with something like chromebooks that would work well with Google docs etc. We would eventually look at putting some sort of textbook management app on there to provide them with their textbooks.
We will still have a lab though for now at least for Windows based programs we still rely on. I'm guessing there will be fewer and fewer of those though as the market for tablets/android OS based devices grows.
One issue we may run into is how to manage the chromebooks. We're not sure yet if the school will provide them or if the students will have to purchase one. The possible issue would be kids messing it up. So, I'm thinking we would purchase/own the units and then need some way to lock them down. Not sure of what kind of app we could use for Android os for that as of right now.
Any issues you guys see with that approach?
We are mainly focusing on using Google docs as between that and a web browser for internet research, there is little else that most students need. Even Adobe has a web based platform although I haven't tried it with an android os.
So, we rely on the internet so much already that it's worth it for us to invest in a backup connection. Some of the cost can be offset with savings on not need as robust of a infrastructure as far as storage and CALs for MS office, etc.
I realize Google is like big brother but as others have said, they and others can get your info in other ways if they wanted. Impossible to avoid these days, although sad at the same time.
One person mentioned not wanting to go that route because it might result in them not having a job. That is NOT a valid reason IMHO.
Anything else I've missed? I think teachers will still have a Windows based pc but use google docs. It will probably be up to them to what extent. Students will probably have chromebooks or a android based tablet. We'll still have a lab for things like video editing and things of that nature.
Still some details to fill in though regarding the students' chromebooks.
^ this is pretty much exactly the route we have taken.
Sounds like you have thought it through. I think the biggest hurdle isn't going to be a technical one at all - that with staff acceptance as "that's the way they have always done it".
I totally agree that the days of native windows only apps days are limited and it is good that you are seeing the bigger picture.
In this area of England there is a supplier offering leasing schemes for equipment such as iPads or Chromebooks (or full laptops - and I'm sure they're not the only people doing this!) whereby the leasing cost can be from as little as £7/month per device, with this amount being passed onto each child's parents. This would seem to be an easy and affordable way for families to provide this for their children while the school is able to cut costs significantly.