• Darren O'Connor

The utopian school network.

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

What does the utopian network look like for schools? For me, I envisage serverless campuses where the only equipment you'll find in communication cabinets are switches and patch panels. Even the on-premise networking equipment will be cloud-delivered and controlled via a single-pane of glass dashboard. The cloud is there ready, willing and able to accommodate schools computing needs, so why are we still seeing racks of servers within schools?

I remember one site visit to an Academy Secondary school, a pretty big campus, but their network was all over the place. Mish mash of networking equipment, different vendor solutions all cobbled together on a flat network. Big bug bear of mine. I asked the question "what's your strategy for the cloud"? The response was pretty typical and one I hear back often - "I like my servers and applications here, I don't trust the cloud". I couldn't help but think, ok, but you trust them here running on these aging pieces of tin which aren't covered under support, is the cloud out of your comfort zone by any chance?

There are some glimmers of hope. We have recently helped a Multi-Academy Trust deploy a Cisco Meraki SD-WAN solution across their estate which is enabling them to become serverless across their primary schools. Baby steps. But as each site is onboarded their onsite servers are decommissioned and the school starts using central resources within their main data centre and Google Cloud.

So what's really holding education sector cloud adoption back? Budget, lack of direction, people stuck in their comfort zone or something else? I'd be interested to hear from other schools and MAT's on their cloud adoption strategy and where they are with their journey.

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