The increasing reliance on technology –in both classrooms and school offices – has resulted in schools and academies caught in a battle to ensure they are keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies while staying within budget. Johan Pellicaan, MD and VP EMEA at Scale Computing, considers the ways in which education is adapting to embrace technology, the storage challenges faced by educational institutions and the most efficient solutions for cost-effective data storage
Educational institutions are constantly challenged to keep up with the latest technology developments. The contemporary classroom has moved even further away from the chalkboard and over to the interactive screens of the digital era.
Students now require access to modern technology to prepare for a competitive job market and, as part of most school programmes, they are taught technology and ICT skills from a young age. However, while expected to kit out classrooms with the latest tech, schools are under tremendous pressure to adhere to strict IT budgets – or even better, to come in under budget!
The drive for technology
The drive for better technology isn’t coming from schools alone. The current school-going generation has higher expectations of technology and how it should perform. Most students have access to the latest gadgets and devices – particularly tablets and smartphones – and this is prompting schools to integrate this technology into teaching and learning. For example, we’re seeing a shift towards submitting work assignments online via student portals where data is stored in the cloud.
When it comes to IT educational institutions have the same needs as that of a business – if not more. They’re implementing common office applications, messaging services, virtual desktops, hosting web services for students and parents and supporting more specialised educational applications.
Data centre in a box
Trying to balance the combination of tight budgets, more advanced IT requirements and the growing need for data access is increasingly difficult without dedicated data centre resources. However, this isn’t always a viable option – especially when it comes to cost.
In response, many schools are implementing server and desktop virtualisation to try and square the circle but, as increasing amounts of data are generated across numerous departments and sites, this might not be sufficient. An alternative solution is ‘hyperconvergence’, which enables institutions to combine storage, servers, virtualisation and high availability in one appliance; the correct hyperconverged solution can make managing the infrastructure as easy as looking after a single server – ideal in an environment where simplicity is key.
Simple and cost-effective
Hyperconvergence can have two major benefits for schools: its simplicity requires far less management from IT staff and the comparatively low price makes it a more viable solution than the traditional alternatives.