Helping MATs Utilise their Wide Areas Networks and Reduce Costs

Posted by Schools Broadband on 11/03/2020

Typical school set-up

In the past, and in some schools today, it is relatively common to host curriculum data and admin services in school server rooms. Whilst this has worked well for many years, recently, the flooding of servers with additional content has resulted in the management of data becoming more complex than ever before.

File server sizes have increased dramatically, classroom content has now hit HD and 4K levels, plus classroom applications now require many more Giga Bits per student and teachers than ever before.

Schools that have joined, or are about to join Multi Academy Trusts, are finding there is no longer a requirement for large server environments in their individual schools. This is especially true for smaller primary schools with reduced budgets and where maintenance or server replacement costs for aging hardware are unwanted and now, an unnecessary cost for thousands of schools across the UK.

Secure Wide Area Network at no extra cost

As Multi Academy Trusts realise their own economies of scale, they are also identifying the benefits of moving expensive IT services and systems from the school’s premises (on-prem) to the cloud. An important and necessary journey but not always a straightforward one.

Any Multi Academy Trust with Schools Broadband connectivity, hosted firewalls and filtering services however, who use our Unified Threat Management platform, also benefit from establishing their own secure private Wide Area Network (WAN) at no extra cost.

Access systems and resources securely from any school in your trust

This gives schools anywhere across the Trust, secure access to systems and resources, in effect creating your own private eco system or Multi Academy Trust Cloud. The private WAN also enables central control of services and access to resources across your MAT’s entire estate, allowing free movement of staff from school to school.

For example, teachers moving from school to school can access VoIP dialling, giving free site to site calls just by pressing an extension to another school. Accessing SIMS or critical MIS information from any location is as easy as opening the application.

Students connecting from any Trust location will experience the same, usual logon behaviour, plus staff and governors will be able to connect securely, via the Virtual Private Network (VPN), to the Trust network with ease and be able to access all their important documents.

Rationalise expensive capital equipment

The Schools Broadband private and secure Wide Area Network allows multiple school networks to be treated as a single location. As a result, expensive capital equipment that is replicated across even a small Multi Academy Trust IT estate, can potentially be rationalised.

For example, most primary and secondary schools have their own MIS server in each school; these could easily be virtualised to a single Hyper-Converged Server in a larger school within the Trust. So by your Multi Academy Trust having its own private Wide Area Network, it can in effect allow you to establish your own Data Centre, with the ability to deliver critical IT systems and services centrally. This vastly reduces capital expenditure on equipment across individual school sites across the Trust.

Save on backup and storage

The backup and storage of school files in expensive Storage Area Networks (SAN) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) within individual schools, can be aggregated into a single SAN or NAS and hosted at one of the trusts larger school sites on the Hyper-Converged Server.

This is a key step towards progression to the Cloud, enabling rationalisation of capital and revenue IT costs.

Azure and AWS Interconnects

For users of Azure and AWS, Schools Broadband fully supports the integration of WANs with these virtualised environments via an express route or IPsec tunnel. This essentially extends your Trust’s WAN into Microsoft and Amazon giving secure, high-speed access to their networks and services.

 

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