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MIS Systems Thread, BECTA reports on School MIS and value for money 2010 in Technical; LocalZuk, I understand your reply, but wouldn't that approach negate any cost savings that might be made from adopting a ...
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    LocalZuk,

    I understand your reply, but wouldn't that approach negate any cost savings that might be made from adopting a cloud strategy ? It would seem to me that such a solution "just in case" the internet went down wouldn't be anything different that todays MIS systems, and would therefore have little cost and operational advantages ? (assuming they are they to be made)

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipHamlyn View Post
    LocalZuk,

    I understand your reply, but wouldn't that approach negate any cost savings that might be made from adopting a cloud strategy ? It would seem to me that such a solution "just in case" the internet went down wouldn't be anything different that todays MIS systems, and would therefore have little cost and operational advantages ? (assuming they are they to be made)

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.
    One assumes you've never been at the mercy of a RBC internet connection. Over the last few years we have had to endure entire days of no connectivity (and a couple that ran to two or more days).

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    Agreed Phillip. But staff would have to maintain paper registers and then catch them up later!

    Please see the above Update.
    Essential Pupil Data can also be in NT4 on the datastick! It would just need Tel.Nos adding!
    Come to think of it, I can even print Group Lists from there as long as I maintain them and I have power to a printer!!!
    Clive Stott was/is a magician!

    Maybe you should retain support for NT4!
    Now there's a thought - step backwards in order to step forwards!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 20th January 2011 at 10:26 AM.

  4. #64

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipHamlyn View Post
    LocalZuk,

    I understand your reply, but wouldn't that approach negate any cost savings that might be made from adopting a cloud strategy ? It would seem to me that such a solution "just in case" the internet went down wouldn't be anything different that todays MIS systems, and would therefore have little cost and operational advantages ? (assuming they are they to be made)

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.
    Not really. Running a full fledged MIS server in a school requires a fairly chunky system to run it on. Caching something doesn't - it normally uses much lower spec equipment. Running off the cache would be a lot slower, when the connection was down, but it would still be available to use.

    The fact is, the details stored in the system are 100% necessary all day long, so having a system which could go down at the whim of an internet connection simply wouldn't hold water in most schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipHamlyn View Post
    LocalZuk,

    I understand your reply, but wouldn't that approach negate any cost savings that might be made from adopting a cloud strategy ? It would seem to me that such a solution "just in case" the internet went down wouldn't be anything different that todays MIS systems, and would therefore have little cost and operational advantages ? (assuming they are they to be made)

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

    Philip - call me cynical, but I'm guessing any "cost savings made from adopting a cloud strategy" may be "pie in the sky"

    The licensing costs etc. etc. will surely take up any slack....I don't imagine schools will be left with vast sums of money that they currently spend on servers etc.

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    The_Windy_Miller,

    From a purely hardware point of view, I'd personally tend to agree; and hardware typically is depreciated over three years before a repurchase is neccessary; however I think the key projected savings would be on infrastructure and software support and all the hassle that goes with it rather than capital costs of hardware purchase. I don't know what the projected savings are from the folk at Microsoft, Amazon etc. but there are several local authorities in the UK who have already found a cost argument to virtualize SIMS.net into Terminal Server farms for instance; so I'm only supposing that trend would continue (but with true "cloud" without the need for desktop virtualization).

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

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    Localzuk,

    I see your point. Interestingly we initially shipped Lesson Monitor with pre-caching of lesson registers because, at the time, taking the register from a laptop over a wireless connection was not licensed in most UK schools. I seem to remember that the more "breadth" of data we cached the more complex and costly the solution - if almost any current data in SIMS might be deemed essential during an internet outage that definitely gives me some food for thought.

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

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    DMcCoy,

    You may have guessed, we dont use a RBC for our connectivity here in the office. Out of interest do you keep a log of outage that you'd be prepared to share ? We are aware outage happens (actually yesterday our Bedford office was running on generators all day because someone on the business park dug up the power cables) but I don't think we in Capita have had any high quality statistical data on how often it happens, and for how long.

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipHamlyn View Post
    DMcCoy,

    You may have guessed, we dont use a RBC for our connectivity here in the office. Out of interest do you keep a log of outage that you'd be prepared to share ? We are aware outage happens (actually yesterday our Bedford office was running on generators all day because someone on the business park dug up the power cables) but I don't think we in Capita have had any high quality statistical data on how often it happens, and for how long.

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita
    FoIA request to RBCs perhaps?

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    Sivadm,

    Its true that "there is nothing new under the sun", and remember on first exposure to Google Docs I thought "oh goody, a wordprocessor on a mainframe - theres progress". Architecturally you could consider "the cloud" being the manifestation of a global reach mainframe computer. I take on board the need to locally pre-cache some information for emergencies, but during a school day, would it be particularly important (I am conjecturing here) to an assessment suite, or perhaps the behaviour log ? I am imagining here a scenario where the "internet is down" (reminds me of the old newspaper headline "fog in the channel, Continent cut off") and some tasks could be put off until it was available again; in that scenario there would be some safety critical information that would need to be accessible (by all teachers and staff, or just some ?) but that the vast majority would not need to be immediately available. Is this a valid scenario ?

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

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    GrumbleDook,

    Are the RBC's a government department ? I thought they were commercial organisations, and therefore don't consitute a public body under the act (I am not a lawyer by any means, so I may have got this assumption wrong)

    Phillip Hamlyn
    Capita.

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    This thread has gone so far off topic I feel able to contribute!

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that at some point in the future the idea of holding data locally will be regarded as being reckless and indeed limiting.

    I don’t believe that any school or LA offers a more secure location than a data centre that is patrolled 24/7. (I worked in a school on an estate for over 14 years) However today I think there are very real issues with connectivity that make holding data off-site unattractive but this is only a matter of timing.

    For me any "cloud solution" has to offer much more than what went before. By that I don’t mean cost savings which in my view have been wildly exaggerated as they don’t take account of the life of the existing kit and remote back-up solutions already in use.

    What I think cloud has to offer is “iPhone” graphical interfaces that are so much slicker to use minute by minute that make software a delight to use.

  13. #73

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    I'm with the localzuk caching argument () . Ideally we'd have everything, but what exactly is that. A backup of the database, and a VM ready to be switched on in case of emergency? That would do assuming you forego access to the doc store at least an up to the minute copy, and that the VM is running the latest version of SIMS (that being the ubiquitous MIS example).

    Issues i see are synching back the 'used' data when connectivity is regained.

    In practise, a lot of data is kept on paper, and we can manage without taking class registers for a day or so. Only the sessions are legal requirements. Contact info, and Medical Data are pretty key, but again, a fairly recent copy could be stored locally on disk/paper. In fact most things could be stored on disk, so as not to waste paper.

    It all depends on the kind of outage, and what backup is in place. If internet goes down, the prime example, couldn't there be a backup? I could use 3G on my phone to access the Schoolcomms website and contact parents. With the new iPhone app, medical data could even be stored offline on my phone along with registers. Schools did run before things went electronic, and some schools out there probably still do only rely on the bare minimum from their MIS systems.

    I think when things truly move to the clouds, there will be adequate backup routes for the internet, here we have two connections, and a lot of the area to area linking is done via radio, this place isn't cabled up like the UK is. So downtime when it occurs can be for the whole city, but it's not that common.

    We may just as well talk about power outage at the school, which would affect all systems, water leaks, even heavy snow. When you compare that with internet downtime, it can't be that huge an effect - granted some RBCs can be very patchy. When i was in Northants, quite often you'd hear about the BT pipe in such and such being trawled over, but they'd reroute the connection and it would be slow for a bit. I don't think these things should put us off the inevitable move to cloud - i reckon the sky's the limit

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    There was an interesting departure into the cloud, but to bring things back to earth and topic, just came across this

    http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/communication/ebulletinprint.cfm?startdate=%7Bd%20'2011-04-05'%7D

    Ctrl+F for 'sims', it's the notice fourth from the bottom.

    What would be the point of having SIMS if they can't fix the bugs, nor make it compliant with statutory reporting guidelines?!

  15. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    CAM (10th April 2011)

  16. #75
    CAM
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    Is that something related to academies?

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