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MIS Systems Thread, Progresso or SIMS? in Technical; Originally Posted by JohnCondon Not wishing to hijack the thread off into a direction the Op hadn't intended but, in ...
  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCondon View Post
    Not wishing to hijack the thread off into a direction the Op hadn't intended but, in these instances then the cloud system had better not rely on a single point of access for that data.
    If the school want additional redundancy then it can be easily provided with a cloud system to ensure that any and all "legal" data collection requirements are provided.

    Essentially with the correct service setup a cloud installation is no less prone to failure than a locally hosted system. In fact the argument could be made that a cloud system is, by its very nature, more robust as it has a stronger tech backbone (assuming a professionally hosted data center), superior infrastructure (economies of scale providing tech use that asingle user school would otherwise have no access too) and greater degree of communication flexibility (Web enabled out of the box so to speak).

    That being said we (Bromcom) would never advise a school to take a cloud solution if they did not have the appropriate interent provision to cope in the first place. As a Cloud advocate we'd be cutting our own throat to do so.
    It'd be like advising a school to use a locally hosted solution when their only available server was a Pentium 2 with 1024mb of RAM.
    That said the availability of reliable, fast and above all robust internet provision is starting to become ubiquitous.

    John

    ps. Not that I expect my word to be taken on this but in defense of mariefolan, they are a 100% genuine, happy (If somewhat inexperienced in forum ettiquette) Bromcom user. I can't give any details obviouusly but if they were bogus then the mods would have excised her post by now.
    I completely agree with John's post, and the previous one. I never said the internet connection shouldn't be taken into account, it wasn't mentioned in the original post I commented on. As Cybernerd said though, most establishments now have a redundant connecton and we're seeing more and more move away from LA lines and leasing their own lines with redundancy and a good SLA.
    Also, don't forget things like 3g connections, and soon 4g connections - how many people in school have a phone or a tablet they can use? Some schools, granted, will be in areas that don't have good connections of that type... it's like I said, what suits one establishment may not suit the next. Just as you said about not advising people to host it locally if they don't have the resource to cope with it or the funds to improve.

    In terms of 'duff' updates etc, in a locally hosted solution, you may or may not have put that version on yet. As upgrades are released for census purposes, it's likely you'd have installed it, or put it on a standalone and ended up doing everything twice. When a fix comes out you then have to implement it. In a hosted environment, the problem is likely to be found and resolved much quicker, and the fix is done once by the vendor rather than a thousand times by the schools. Everything can happen much, much faster.

    As we both said, let's not turn it into a hosted vs local solution, we've all agreed that at the moment, certainly, it depends completly on the establishment and what is most appropriate, taking into account all the variables.

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    Recently came in contact with 5 Free Schools 1 Bromcom, 2 Progresso and 2 hosted sims. All moving from on premise servers

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    With regards the issue of introducing yourself before posting, it's not a rule, but is appreciated. If you have issue with anyone that posts, then please report the post and we'll deal with it, no need to stray off topic. In this instance the account is legit, and all views are welcome here - aren't they?

    With regards SIMS vs Progresso , for all SIMS's faults, i don't think Progresso is established enough or tested enough in the field yet to be worth the punt, but i also haven't researched it all that much either. I do like the idea of having access to the underlying SQL.

    One analysis tool i didn't see mentioned was Discover which is a free module in SIMS which people are finding very useful. Though similar i think could be achieved in new versions of SQL using their business information analysis stuff or whatever it's called.

    Just to throw some spin on the local v hosted debate : we have really shoddy internet connection here. It usually works, but even with failover, sometimes, both go down or for some other technical reason neither are available. MIS unavailability for us is unacceptable, so for any solution i'd be looking at local hosting with a remote hosted backup / synchronised cluster. I know this would add a great deal of cost to some solutions out there, but has anyone considered it?

    The thinking being that on site if the network is up it's works, with all the benefits of browser based access. If for whatever reason there are connectivity issues, external access can be achieved from home, abroad, etc or using other alternate internet access, whilst on site access is unaffected. I feel this is more useful now where your system is most likely tightly integrated with some form of VLE where you want to provide external access anyway. I think i'd prefer to have a failover on the MIS/VLE rather than failover internet which for us, here, seems not to be that much help. I suppose it really depends on when it goes down and how long for.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael2k6 View Post
    In terms of 'duff' updates etc, in a locally hosted solution, you may or may not have put that version on yet. As upgrades are released for census purposes, it's likely you'd have installed it, or put it on a standalone and ended up doing everything twice. When a fix comes out you then have to implement it. In a hosted environment, the problem is likely to be found and resolved much quicker, and the fix is done once by the vendor rather than a thousand times by the schools. Everything can happen much, much faster.
    In practice this becomes much more tricky when the hosted provider isolates users from the updates, limits and configures services to keep the schools dependant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    With regards the issue of introducing yourself before posting, it's not a rule, but is appreciated. If you have issue with anyone that posts, then please report the post and we'll deal with it, no need to stray off topic. In this instance the account is legit, and all views are welcome here - aren't they?

    With regards SIMS vs Progresso , for all SIMS's faults, i don't think Progresso is established enough or tested enough in the field yet to be worth the punt, but i also haven't researched it all that much either. I do like the idea of having access to the underlying SQL.

    One analysis tool i didn't see mentioned was Discover which is a free module in SIMS which people are finding very useful. Though similar i think could be achieved in new versions of SQL using their business information analysis stuff or whatever it's called.

    Just to throw some spin on the local v hosted debate : we have really shoddy internet connection here. It usually works, but even with failover, sometimes, both go down or for some other technical reason neither are available. MIS unavailability for us is unacceptable, so for any solution i'd be looking at local hosting with a remote hosted backup / synchronised cluster. I know this would add a great deal of cost to some solutions out there, but has anyone considered it?

    The thinking being that on site if the network is up it's works, with all the benefits of browser based access. If for whatever reason there are connectivity issues, external access can be achieved from home, abroad, etc or using other alternate internet access, whilst on site access is unaffected. I feel this is more useful now where your system is most likely tightly integrated with some form of VLE where you want to provide external access anyway. I think i'd prefer to have a failover on the MIS/VLE rather than failover internet which for us, here, seems not to be that much help. I suppose it really depends on when it goes down and how long for.
    i think that type of anywhere, anytime access is the point of going with a cloud based solution. It's surely more cost effective than LEAs offering wide area clustering. I'm not sure LEAs are geared to going down that kind of route anyway nowadays of replicating MIS instances. IF a school have a couple of separate sites they can probably do something off their own backs, and the issue of a cloud based MIS not being tested in the field is a valid one but for quite a while now business critical apps for small, medium and large companies have been shifted to remote datacenters and/or the cloud, and i don't really see the distinction from an availability/performance point of view...the only difference is who's ultimately responsible for hosting the data and ensuring uptime.

    , obviously nothing beats local access but then locally hosting stuff in every satellite office or department didn't make much sense for businesses and councils. A lot of schools are still large enough and have enough staff needing to manipulate data that they can justify it, but for how much longer. It'll be a while before 100meg+ speeds and bonded ADSL backup become a commodity for most locations and cloud can do it at a far lower annual cost. Then again a lot will depend on early adopters experiences in the first few years of cloud MIS, as to whether they continue and others follow, or they go back to a locally hosted solution. I think it'll be good enough for more and more schools, it's just that SIMs has such a large market share that it doesn't necessarily need to feel threatened by cloud based MIS alternatives. Decision makers in schools will look at much more than how much they can save when it comes to MIS, other elements of ICT procurement and they focus squarely on the bottom line...MIS is a different beast

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    In practice this becomes much more tricky when the hosted provider isolates users from the updates, limits and configures services to keep the schools dependant.
    i'm not sure i understand this point. The hosting provider is doing the updates so that the user doesn't have to, and so that it doesn't need to be done a thousand times across a thousands schools in a region.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by alttab View Post
    i'm not sure i understand this point. The hosting provider is doing the updates so that the user doesn't have to, and so that it doesn't need to be done a thousand times across a thousands schools in a region.
    We have a situation here where the cloud provider does not apply the updates available in a timely fashion meaning that users with local installs get fixes long before their cloud chained counterparts. The cloud makes you rely fully on the provider for everything, if they are lapse you are stuffed. This does happen and you get to find out about it once all your data is helpfully stuck in non-exportable or transferable cloud land.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    We have a situation here where the cloud provider does not apply the updates available in a timely fashion meaning that users with local installs get fixes long before their cloud chained counterparts. The cloud makes you rely fully on the provider for everything, if they are lapse you are stuffed. This does happen and you get to find out about it once all your data is helpfully stuck in non-exportable or transferable cloud land.
    fair enough, but with something like progresso your not really dealing with a locally install version and a centrally hosted cloud version. Schools are either in the facility camp or the one's that are now going live with progresso. If i was an MIS provider, i'd want to focus my efforts in the future on the platform that i wanted customers to eventually move to - whether that was a newer edition of a locally install product or a new cloud based offering doesn't matter, providers all have a roadmap for their product lines...clearly as an MIS provider you have to expect to support the differing products for quite some time, but if the hope is to move people onto the newer platform then they would be wise to ensure they get some good testominals rather than risk treating them as second class citizens because they represent a smaller proportion of their customer base.

    i personally think it's a very ambitious move, but as it's not about to discontinue the locally installed product it's a manageable undertaking. i think clearly there's a lot of potential for wins from the new schools and academies being created all over the place, they may be looking at a pure cloud-based, presumably from the ground up system, with someone else maintaining the DB instances, the updates, the power and cooling is a real selling point if they don't have the onsite resources, another plus if cloud can shave several k's off the alternative locally installed alternatives. For some of the sizes of these free schools and academies on paper it makes a lot of sense. Given their size you wouldn't necessarily expect them to want to go to the trouble of hosting their own Exchange 2010 infrastructure, so why should MIS be any different.

    Obviously MIS in the cloud is not all a bed of roses, but then it's a case of whether you can work with the downsides. I find it a bit odd when people say they can't tolerate any performance issues or downtime with their MIS, when businesses have to deal with performance and availability issues for datacenter hosted web apps that are far more real world business critical.

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    Its only a few years before Capita are ready to release their cloud-based MIS product anyway, so in a way, everyone will be moving in that direction in the next 5 years or so anyway. Isn't it better to make the change now and be ahead of the pack with regards to portability, cost savings and additional functionality that could make tasks easier?

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    Perhaps, just waiting for someone to hack the Amazon cloud

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    If I had the choice I would choose Progresso now due to its web platform and parent capabilities.

    Its surely the future....

    Sims is fine though, but so slow to adapt (probably due to its large userbase).
    Last edited by zag; 4th September 2012 at 02:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    If I had the choice I would choose Progresso now due to its web platform and parent capabilities.

    Its surely the future....

    Sims is fine though, but so slow to adapt (probably due to its large userbase).
    Have you looked at Bromcom or Aspen? Both been doing it for longer.

  13. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    GREED (4th September 2012)

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    Definitely look at user base, just because something is now on the web doesn't mean it is a good solution. Aspen has thousands of schools and millions of students... something must be right there

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Definitely look at user base, just because something is now on the web doesn't mean it is a good solution. Aspen has thousands of schools and millions of students... something must be right there
    There's also Wautton Samuel (more for primaries I think), RM and Pearson. Does anyone use these MIS alternatives?

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    They do yes. I believe Wautton Samuel is Scholarpack... Someone can confirm that. All have a collection of schools that are customers, not as big as Secro or SIMS (or Aspen worldwide!)



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