The IT challenges for modern schools and colleges are vast and changing. The shifting demands from staff, students and the Government are driving new technology which means networks and infrastructure are unrecognisable compared to just a few years ago.
Over the years, educational institutions have been making significant investments into the technology to innovate the education system, teaching methods, knowledge base and IT segment. As IT requirements are different for the education segment and as the present technology is mostly designed for commercial businesses, there is a need for customization of this technology. In today’s educational setup:
- Each institution has to handle enormous amount of data for storage, retrieval and management.
- Scientific computing research involves analysis of large data sets.
- Organisations have to provide access to information from a variety of devices that include mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops.
- Purchase and manage software licenses for various products.
- Must adhere to governing data management and retention policies.
The present day education system is burdened with a plethora of obstacles. First of them is the lack of innovation in the technology and resources. Educational institutions have to deal with legacy systems, traditional teaching patterns, shrinking IT budgets, increasing mobile device usage and changing technologies. Many colleges face a situation where spikes of users login to the system at the same time owing to strict timetables and load balancing becomes a concern.
With limited IT budgets, lean staff and growing needs, addressing these issues with a traditional IT approach and imparting quality education can be costlier affair and a tedious task as well. Intellectual property issues and security concerns add to this complexity. With the staff concentrating on the provisions of resources, IT staff cannot work closely with the academic departments. Private cloud computing technologies effectively answer these challenges by lowering Total Cost of Ownership, offering pay-as-you-go pricing, improved software licensing, access to latest innovations, mobility solutions, scalability, load balancing, security, reliability and administration.
With a proven track record, 2X ApplicationServer XG answers several challenges faced by educational institutions, while improving the efficiency and productivity of processes quickly. Here are a few examples of organisations that have successfully implemented 2X private cloud solutions and technologically moved on to the next level.
Cambridgeshire user case – Efficient Load Balancing and Easy administration and Support
This is proven with the implementation of 2X ApplicationServer XG at Cambridgeshire ICT Education, a part of Cambridge County Council. The ICT department at Cambridge Education delivers IT services to 20,000 staff and 70,000 students across the county. This segment includes remote network services for 17,000 users like Remote Access, Video Conferencing, centrally hosted MIS, Exchange service, central management of servers and unified communication. All this required a robust network of a powerful terminal server farm that provides efficient and secure network access with zero downtime and efficient load balancing. They chose 2X Application Server XG, which includes 2X Load Balancer. Not only did it efficiently distribute server load across 40 Dell Blade Servers, it allowed the organization to move the servers on and off for scheduled maintenance. “While load balancing was a main requirement, the integration of software into the existing system was our main reason to implement 2X remote solutions. Moreover, the intuitive interface made it easy for scheduled maintenance and monitoring of the system,” explained Leon Cripps, System Support Manager, Cambridge ICT.
Huntingdonshire Regional College user case – virtualised app delivery and remote access
As with many modern institutions, Huntingdonshire Regional College requires remote access using a range of devices, for both its staff and students – numbering 400 staff and over 2,000 students both full and part time. It does this via 2X ApplicationServer XG – users can access the intranet, staff can use Microsoft SharePoint for management and collaboration, applications are available virtually for Microsoft Office, Expression, Visual Studio and other design packages. In addition, staff receive virtualised desktops when they login so they see the same desktop whether using a PC in the office, or accessing remotely on a laptop.
“As part of the ICT Support Services strategic improvement plan, the College needed to implement a system which enhanced the student experience,” said Daniel Johnson, Head of ICT.
ApplicationServer XG not only enables network access to the college’s mix of Windows and Mac desktops/laptops, but forms part of its BYOD strategy. Students can access the wi-fi network on laptops or phones and, using 2X clients, can access the college’s internal resources. “We tested other competing solutions and chose 2X as it is so easy to get up and running and has proven to be very reliable. 2X supported all platforms so it met our objectives perfectly,” said Stuart Walker, IT Systems Support.