MIS in the 'cloud'
Somewhere in this forum I have seen some disparaging comments about running MIS systems on web servers only allowing access over the internet, ie. not a local install.
I wonder if anyone has any arguments for or against running MIS servers in the (so called) 'cloud' ?
You mean central hosting?
Nothing really except if the school loses it's internet access then it loses it's Central management system which is not good for business.
Even though ISPs have put in place failover it happens when you least need it to which causes the school too much grief.
Once the schools data base has been moved to centralised data centre then it can be run anywhere in the world as long as the internet works. :)
It's only a matter of time before it happens. With the continued costs of maintenance, (including database upgrades/licenses) and replacing/upgrading servers it makes sense its managed centrally.
Yes if you would like to call it that, but I don't mean by the LEA. I really meant to say Software as a service (SAAS).
Originally Posted by matt40k
Our LEA uses RM's Integris G2/S2 which is web based, centraly hosted, and fully managed by the central IT Dept
All software updates are applied by RM themselves, and only needs to be applied once to cover all schools, and RM also have direct access to sort out any problems as does the LEA
Our IT Dept manages the hardware side of things and backups
The schools no longer have to have their own servers and dedicated MIS team
The IT staff in schools can get on with doing IT work instead of having to manage the MIS system
Schools just use the software as a tool for Pupil and Staff data, AM/PM Attendance, Lesson Attendance, Assessment, Exams, Behaviour, Reporting to Parents, Timetabling, Census Returns, etc, etc
The access is via a web browser, and even if the main broadband connection goes down (which it very rarely does), dial-up or mobile broadband can still be used in an emergency
Some of our Secondary schools have setup a second seperate basic broadband connection for use in an emergency
Since moving to G2/S2, the amount of money and time saved is hugh
Teachers can access G2/S2 from home for things like Assessment and Reporting to Parents by just using their own home internet connection
I think pretty much the only real issue is the speed of transferring data to offsite locations, roll on webapps ;)
My only worry would be for us is if there is no MIS person/team, there is no one resonsible for it, and no one to drive development and improvements for the school. We have come a long way in 2 years with our MIS, mostly down to my drive for it, without that we would still be stuck with a basic reference database.
I think centralising MIS services & support is a good idea, providing the people hosting the service are up to the task & the support & infrastructure is in place to deliver a high quality service with near 100% availability.
If the above criteria are met I would be happy to see it go elsewhere .... ;)
It all depends on what you want to do with your MIS.
As long as the Saas implementation has xml or soap access and not just a web interface.
In my previous school we had things like Cashless catering, library, door access, AD account creation, email account creation all driven by the currently active students/staff in the MIS.
Can you get your data back out if you want to change MIS ?
Have you seen a disaster recovery plan for the service ?
There are lots of questions to ask, and you need to have them answer and proved, I have been lied to far to many times by software vendors making promises that they are then unable to produce the goods.
But my main concern would be can I get my data back at any time, in a standard format even if it's a SQL dump of CTF export.
1) Decent SLA with sharp, pointy teeth.
2) Dependable network connectivity to school.
2a) Ideally a redundant link for when $connectivity_provider plays jenga
3) Method of having fire registers.
4) Proper load balancing
5) Guaranteed performance
6) Documented method for importing from $common_mis_formats and exporting to them.
7) Good, clueful helpdesk.
8) Guaranteed full cross-browser support.
9) Good training available.
We have been using a SAS customer management system internally in our organisation for about two months now. It is fantastic. I can do my work wherever I can get on the internet. It is certainly the way forward and a technology that is being taken on by virtually all major companies that provide software. Why pay for many powerful laptops and servers for specific purposes when that cost can be cut out.
The only problem at this stage is that many schools I visit tell me they still have an unreliable internet connection, so until the government puts the planned money into broadband infrastructure it could be a while before this is a reality for many schools.
At Serco Learning we have our current MIS which is in school on your server, and we also have the future which is hosted MIS. We are in both camps and will be for many years as technology and infrastructure catch up. To learn more visit our stand at BETT 2010 and have a chat with me and to see what the future looks like.
I and the school staff all have access to the Sims wherever they are in the world as long as they have internet access does this mean I and the school staff are cloud users?
We also host it ourselves as we can also use it for lots of other wild things like proximity locking and unlocking of doors, biometric logins, biometric school meals service etc etc, the headteacher can even change the colour scheme of the school depending on her mood as she walks into the school, I often wondered why the school looks duller on a Monday morning hehe!!
I am only metioning but just a few things here as this cloud computing is nothing new it has been around in different formats for decades what it means is more money is being spent on lots of centralised systems which causes me slight concerns as the schools can no longer be places of learning together as cold clinical learning boxes managed by cold uncaring people at the end of a phone or internet helpdesk.
Cost cutting is it's real intentions and profit driven by greedy industrials who see this as the next step in amassing more wealth and ultimate power over the human race.
World domination by Google eh with Microsoft coming a close second.
Cloud computing what next "Universe computing" hehe!! bit of fun before the weekend ;) :)
Company that makes software supports means by which they can make more money through hosting said software. There's a surprise.
Originally Posted by Serco_Rob