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FEAT


ATURE FOCUS: CLASSROOMTECHNOLOGY pedigree. Their world-class technology will trickle


there’s no need to compromise on the technology down into their more affordable platforms – so


even with a constrained, but realistic budget. You can be confident with leading vendors that technology and capability continues to flow downhill within their eco-system, and move


influenced by salesperson preference or limited design, and be mindful of partisan propositions Try and avoid human biases influencing the forwards with the times.


knowledge. Be wary of cost-first solutions that


pushing anything uphill is exhausting, and aMAT enterprise space. The costs may be tempting, but push Small Business solutions up into your


needs to be able to scale without hassle. You’ll want to avoid being the testbed for a vendor’s ambitions in an enterprise segment.


Gartner (gartner.com) are an independent


reports allow your decision makers to instantly technology analyst whoseMagic Quadrant


proposal; if your vendor is missing or a laggard, gauge the calibre of technology within a


they may not be your best choice. Strip out complexity ty to save time andmoney


servers in theMAT’s infrastructure allows ICT staff At a basic level, simply reducing the number of


to spend less time maintaining ‘tin,’ to refocus on user-side enhancements, with users increasingly


multiple sites. Finance sees an immediate ROI with able to enjoy a consistent IT experience across


lower energy bills, lower server replacement costs


example; staff carry a Door Access fob for each Access Control is an easily understood and lower licensing bills.


individually at each site. 10 sites require 10 cards Academy they visit; each is programmed


invites human error with granting or revoking and 10 tasks on 10 servers, it’s inefficient and


programmed once to permit (or revoke) access Following convergence, one card is access.


is extended automatically to the required groups. MAT, their doors are added centrally, and access across theMAT. Should an Academy join the


10 servers become 2 – with the 2nd acting as a


Access Control, whilst also reducing the scope for example removes 80%of the servers required for backup and to add new resilience. This one


human error in the administration of site security. Similar convergence is readily available across


many IT functions including Data Storage, Desktop Deployment, Licensing,MIS Databases, CCTV, Telephony,WiFi, Content Filtering, Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery.


Across all areas, theMAT can lower their operational IT costs, strip away complexity and deliver Trust-wide consistency through a simplified, harmonised IT platform.


B Area Network (W


uild the ‘foundations’: amulti-siteWide (WAN)


The ‘WAN’ is the key component of the design and is of great strategic importance to the Trust. It replaces a traditional Internet connection to provide a new, purpose-built private network that enables cross-site connectivity, paving the way for consolidation.


WAN technology is a step-change for Academies familiar with procuring a (basic) ‘Internet Connection’.


There are three common ways to build a multi-site network:


1) A mesh of site-to-site VPNs 2) A software definedWAN (SD-WAN)


VPNs and SD-WAN are ‘overlay technologies’, 3) A trueMPLSWAN


applied on top of public internet connections to create the effect of a private network between sites; they are useful but oversold and run across the public Internet which makes them u


MPLS provides a private and predictableWAN npredictable and not truly private.


solution and should be considered first.MPLS is the technology used by ISPs to build their own networks and is ideal for multi-siteMAT


networks.MPLS has a challenging reputation, but the issues stem only from the Service Provider exploiting the model. Choose your Internet Service Provider wisely andMPLS is a great fit and shouldn’t be significantly more costly than a basic Internet service. Do get an agreement on the cost of new sites in advance though, to prevent unscrupulous behaviour by your provider.


A home for your data: on-premises, data centre or private cloud servers


fo


Converging suitable ICT services into two or more focal points in your network facilitates cost- savings without sacrificing resiliency. Trusts can


28 www.education-today.co.uk March 2020


stream ICT applications into their Academies across theirMPLSWAN, reducing the


dependence on and adding resiliency to on-site server infrastructure.


If the Trust has a data centre facility within the estate – with mission-critical backup power, cooling, network, server and storage resiliency - it can used to push IT applications out across the MAT, though beware of the aggregate


bandwidth requirements, and avoid having too many eggs in too few baskets.


Select aWAN provider who can offer you a ‘Private Cloud’ service, with direct and private access from yourMPLS; their Cloud should offer data centre levels of resilience with high speed network access from your Academies. Private Cloud provides a simple, affordable and strategic hosting option for consolidation at low cost, and can also provide a quickly recoverable Offsite Backup for Disaster Recovery.


By building Private Cloud directly into your WAN, the security, access and billing complexities of Public Cloud (e.g.Microsoft or Amazon) are avoided, providing easy flexibility for your IT teams to position IT advantageous locati


on anywhere within your services in their most


MAT, be that locally within an Academy, within your own data centres, or within your Private Cloud.


IT’s built – you’re ready tomove forward; as one.


fo


With the network foundations and Server repositories built, every IT application yourMAT supports can be reduced to a stream of computer data gliding across a robust, efficient and stable underlying architect Your IT team are


free to migrate, consolidate, ure.


replicate, backup and distribute your classroom and back-office applications with ease, and refocus their IT service delivery efforts towards strategic support for yourMAT’s vision, rather working just to keep the lights on.


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