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December, 2010 - FE blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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December, 2010

  • FE blog

    Free Microsoft ebooks - feed the geek inside you

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    A few weeks ago, I wrote about the free Virtualisation ebook.

    I'm still working my way through it on my Kindle - I've got to page 156 of 480, and am currently in the detail of desktop virtualisation. It's been really useful to help me understand some of the technical things I'd never understood about virtualising servers, and the current chapter is doing the same for desktop virtualisation.

    A colleague shared with me a list of other free ebooks from Microsoft, that you may find useful too. Many of them are quite technical, so they won't be for everybody. I bet there are some staff or students around you that would appreciate this list:

    Perfect Christmas holiday reading?

  • FE blog

    Microsoft Education White Paper - Baby steps into the Cloud

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    Education Services in the Cloud - White Paper front coverGerald Haigh, an education writer and journalist, has close contacts within many education establishments. It was because of this that we asked him to interview a wide group of people about the use of Cloud services in education, which meant understanding what's going on today, as well as what the future might look like. The results of this work is now available as a white paper - "Baby steps into the Cloud - ICT as a service for education"

    We think that in the future you're likely to see a more dynamic mix between on-site IT systems and cloud-based ones. And this white paper is designed to help identify, discuss and address some of the key considerations as more choices become available.

    One of the key questions is whether we expect the delivery of ICT services to fundamentally change direction in the future. There's a big focus on Shared Services in the education system today. But does that mean completely changing your IT infrastructure, and replacing it with Cloud services instead? And what does that mean about the role of IT managers? Well, the white paper doesn't have all of the answers - but it sets out to consider some of the questions that are being raised.

     

    Baby steps into the Cloud

    We don’t normally expect a school, college or university to generate its own electricity. There’s no building with a bank of generators, no “Manager of Electrical Generation”, leading a team of technicians and adding to the woes of a vice-chancellor, principal, head or business manager. That would surely be absurd, when all that’s really needed is a big “On-Off” switch and a phone to shout down when the service fails.

    But we have expected our education institutions to be experts at running their own “IT Power Stations”, generating their own utility service. Even though, as consumers, we are increasingly using IT as a utility service – to communicate, collaborate, work and play.

    You may see where this is going. We believe we are at a critical turning point, and it’s time to debate the future provision of IT in education. And at the centre of this change is “the Cloud”.

    Attempts to define Cloud computing often make the analogy with the development of public utilities - electricity, gas, water - where the move from on-site, or very local generation, through to national and international distribution has brought increased efficiency and lower costs.

    So, goes the argument, why not provide computing power in the same way? It can be “generated” remotely by a factory-size bank of powerful computers (“servers”) and delivered over the internet to subscribing consumers who can take as much, or as little as they need.

     

    The white paper includes interviews and thoughts of some of the early adopting customers - people who have already had extensive experience of our Cloud services, and share their experiences and thoughts:

    • Mike Whyment, from the University of Aberdeen
    • James Mason, from Chichester University
    • Guy Shearer and Stephen Peverett from Lodge Park Technology College

    And we've also tracked the thoughts from key people in the Microsoft team:

    • Steve Beswick, the Microsoft UK Education Director
    • Ben Nunney, who's an Evangelist in the Microsoft Developer and Partner Evangelism team
    • Daniel Batts, our Head of Public Sector Business Development for Cloud services
    • Chris Rothwell, who's now Microsoft UK's Cloud Services Business Manager

    You'll be glad to hear that we haven't produced a technical document - instead Gerald has worked hard to get to the issues behind the technology, and understand the issues which might guide your thinking as you develop your future IT strategy.

    Learn MoreDownload your own copy of the Microsoft Education White Paper - Baby steps in the Cloud

  • FE blog

    Efficiency using Microsoft SharePoint Free Event - Walsall College, 9.30am-15.30pm, 28th January 2011

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    Walsall College would like to invite you to a free event on 28th January 2011  showing efficiency of using Microsoft SharePoint with sessions from Walsall College, Microsoft, Capita and RSC WM.

    • Personalisation using SharePoint
    • Live@EDU and integration with SharePoint/Moodle
    • Managing technology changes
    • SharePoint 2010 – what’s new!
    • SharePoint and information systems integration
    • Business process improvement with SharePoint

    If you would like to come along and understand more on Microsoft SharePoint, please contact Mir Baloch  to register a place.

  • FE blog

    Postponement of tomorrow's Further Education Briefing in Reading

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    If you have registered for tomorrow's Further Education Briefing, you'll be notified by email, but as an added precaution, here's the news:

    With the poor weather conditions, and the likelihood of further severe train and traffic disruption, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s Microsoft Further Education Briefing in Reading until the New Year.

    It is unfortunate that we have been forced to make this change, but we have attendees registered from a wide area, and many of them have already been advising us that they are unable to attend due to the snow difficulties.

    Although we cannot continue with the event at Reading, what we will be doing is:

    Live Meeting Friday 3rd December

    At 9:30-10:30am and 10:45-11:45 tomorrow (Friday) we will run the two case study sessions – with Brockenhurst and Leicester Colleges – as an online Live Meeting.
    You are able to join those online meeting, without pre-registration, by using the link below:

    Join the meeting

    You may need to install the Office Live Meeting client before the meeting.

    The Office Live Meeting will include the audio feed, but if you have any difficulty connecting to the audio, you can also dial into the conference call by phone, on 0118 909 3000, using Conference ID: 66505462

    Unable to join the meeting? Start Office Live Meeting and join the meeting with the following information:
    Meeting ID: 2f98d503189b4e13b617e313dd373563
    Entry Code: 7352
    Location:
    meet:sip:t-mirbal@microsoft.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:focus:id:2f98d503189b4e13b617e313dd373563%3Fconf-key=7352

    Re-scheduled Briefing

    We will re-schedule the full Further Education Briefing event in February 2011, and send all registered attendees a priority booking link by email.

    I apologise if this late cancellation will cause you any difficulty. We reviewed the decision first thing this morning, and at that time the conditions looked like they might improve. But over the course of this morning, it’s become clear that travel conditions by road and public transport will make it very difficult for the majority of attendees. We hope that you will be able to join the Live Meeting tomorrow, to hear from the two colleges, and we look forward to welcoming you in February to the re-arranged event.

  • FE blog

    Today's Further Education Live Meetings

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    As a result of having to postpone today's Further Education Briefing, we're running two of the sessions as online meetings today. Anybody can attend - you don't have to register in advance, or have been on the invitation list for the planned briefing

    Live Meeting Friday 3rd December

    At 9:30-10:30am today we will run the Brockenhurst College case study session on Cloud services

    At 10:45-11:45 today we will run the Leicester College case study session on Server virtualisation

    You are able to join these online meetings, without pre-registration, by using the link below:

    Join the meeting

    You may need to install the Office Live Meeting client before the meeting.

    The Office Live Meeting will include the audio feed, but if you have any difficulty connecting to the audio, you can also dial into the conference call by phone, on 0118 909 3000, using Conference ID: 66505462

    Unable to join the meeting? Start Office Live Meeting and join the meeting with the following information:
    Meeting ID: 2f98d503189b4e13b617e313dd373563
    Entry Code: 7352
    Location:
    meet:sip:t-mirbal@microsoft.com;gruu;opaque=app:conf:focus:id:2f98d503189b4e13b617e313dd373563%3Fconf-key=7352

    Re-scheduled Briefing

    We will re-schedule the full Further Education Briefing event in February 2011, so keep an eye out here for the date announcement.

  • FE blog

    Salford Software Cloud Event for FE - 19th January at Microsoft Reading

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    Salford Software would like to invite you to an event for colleges and Universities at the Microsoft office, Reading on the 19th January.
    The purpose of this event is to share the experiences of Hopwood Hall College with like minded academic organisations.
    Hopwood Hall College, in Manchester, had a clear vision to be a leader through technology. Through the use of Microsoft technologies the College are now providing their students and users with an enhanced learning environment.
    Derek O'Toole and Simon Evans from Hopwood Hall College will discuss their vision and challenges.  Experts from both Microsoft and Salford Software will also be attending this event. 
    The agenda includes presentations from:

    • Richard Green, Microsoft Live@edu UK Business Manager, who will present the roadmap and updates on Microsoft Live@edu and Cloud.
    • Matt Dunkin, Principal Architect at Salford Software will discuss the benefits of using technologies like Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager and introduce you to solutions including The Hub and Student Centre
    • Matt McSpirit, Technology and Virtualisation Advisor from Microsoft, will introduce Building Your Private Cloud.

    Whilst student numbers are on the increase, so is the requirement for improved services.  Solutions like The Hub allow students to work collaboratively and promotes efficient online working.  As a trusted advisor, Salford Software can help you to understand how to overcome some of the challenges that are currently being experienced across the FE sector.  Salford Software plan to demonstrate how, by maximising the benefits of your existing Microsoft skill sets and taking advantage of the low cost licensing available to education, your organisation can improve the way that services are managed and delivered. 

    This event is open to those from FE and HE organisations.  If you like to know how to provide cutting edge services whilst maintaining efficiency and ensuring compliance please register your place online here.

  • FE blog

    Halving the cost of servers at Leicester College with virtualisation

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    As we talk about cost saving we keep coming back to server virtualisation. I don’t feel the need to make any excuse for that, because as so many colleges have discovered not only does it provide substantial cost savings – and we all know how important that is – but it can also provide a better and more reliable experience for users.

    We’re typically talking about using virtualisation to reduce the number of physical servers from say a dozen or so down to four or five. Now, though, we’re seeing examples in further education that make the case in even more dramatic terms. Earlier this year, for example, we published a Microsoft Case Study of virtualisation at Leicester College, one of the biggest FE colleges in England, with 26,000 students.

    Like many colleges, it deals with a very mobile, diverse and dispersed body of staff and students. There are three main campuses in fact, as well as 200 other venues including churches, halls and community centres.

    It’s no surprise, then, that IT is vital for binding the whole enterprise together, nor that by the time the network staff looked at virtualisation, they were maintaining 100 servers with the prospect of more to come and nowhere to put them.

    “If we continued adding servers every time we wanted to offer a new service, we would have run out of space. Plus, our air conditioning system was inadequate and a new one would have been beyond our budget,” says Head of Libraries and E-Strategy, Paul Chapman.

    Virtualisation was the obvious answer, and they’d considered and even piloted it before with limited results. It wasn’t until they consulted Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Dimension Data, who recommended Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V technology that the project became viable.

    The case study describes how it was done, by Dimension Data people and College staff working together, over a very short period of time. You can also read about the very significant cost savings – a 50% reduction in the cost of the servers themselves; energy costs down by 18%; better and more cost-efficient use of staff time. And, importantly, a significant contribution to the College’s environmental strategy.

    You can read the full Microsoft Case Study of virtualisation at Leicester College here

  • FE blog

    System Center for education - webinar recordings from end of November

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    At the end of November, Rich Lane the resident techie of the education team ran a couple of webinars. If you want to have a listen in, you can view the recordings below.

    Secrets of successful desktop virtualisation: The Optimised Desktop

    VDI is a hot topic at the moment but what actually is it? When is it the right solution … and when not?

    In this session, Quest discussed the future trends for the desktop, the options available, and how to blend different approaches for the right results.  They also discussed their current VDI project at Kingston University rolling out globally to 20,000 students and staff –  making this a practical session which cuts through the confusion and hype to provide realistic ways forward.

    View Recording

    System Center Service Manager

    System Center Service Manager is Service Desk solution providing incident and problem resolution, change control, and asset lifecycle management.  By unifying knowledge across the System Center suite, Service Manager helps IT continuously adapt to new business requirements while reducing cost and lowering time to resolution.   This session delivered by Silversands included a demo of the product.

    View Recording

    Want to find out more? All  recordings of our Microsoft Education webinars can be found via this link

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