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February, 2012 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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February, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V was a game changer for schools (eBook)


    The arrival in 2009 of Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V was a game changer for schools. This release of Windows Server included virtualisation built-in, for free. It means that if you’re already using Microsoft technology, you can work within that without adding a new layer of infrastructure and training. As Microsoft puts it, “If you know Windows, you know virtualisation.”


    The cost savings

    Just how much could be potentially saved? At Microsoft we’ve recorded one or two striking examples. Servers typically cost £3000 each to replace, for example, often on a rolling annual programme.

    We talked to three schools about this. Two were reducing from 20 servers to 5, the other from 20 to 6. All three separately calculated annual savings of about £7,000 a year in hardware replacement costs alone.

    By the same token, many schools will significantly reduce the cost of contracted IT support. On top of this there are energy savings, because not only do fewer servers use less electricity, but they also cost less to keep cool. Again, the schools tell similar stories, of annual energy savings in the region of £8,000 to £10,000 – good for the school’s environmental impact as well as the budget. Do some simple math, come up with a global sum, and it seems that, at the very least, a virtualisation project will pay for itself quite quickly.

    With the project successfully implemented, it will continue, year on year, to make a real impact on the whole-school budget. To give just one specific example, Steve Gillott, Head of ICT at Wootton Bassett School in Wiltshire, describes reducing his school’s servers from 13 to 3. “ It came to a point where we needed to replace the hardware anyway, so money was earmarked for that”.

    After seeing a demonstration of Hyper-V by Microsoft Partner Clarity-IT Solutions we decided that the additional benefits of virtualising our server infrastructure was a much better investment than buying replacement servers. The cost savings in the first year alone paid for the virtualisation project.”

    It was a decision that saved the school over £38,000 in that first year and continues to save £14,500 a year on
    electricity and support contracts.

    But does it work?

    School network managers were originally cautious about virtualisation. The cost savings looked attractive, but there was a gut feeling that by abandoning the notion of one separate server box for each key function, you were doing something risky. One of the early adopters of Microsoft’s virtualisation solution, the highly experienced Alan Richards of West Hatch High School, ran a year-long small-scale test before he was convinced. Indeed Alan, as you’ll see in his excellent major contribution to our recent Virtualisation eBook (available to view or download below), still recommends a test project. Not so much to make sure the basic technology works, but to be certain of exactly what’s needed for the particular school.

    Now, all the doubts about functionality and reliability have gone away. From its launch in 2009, Microsoft’s
    Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V technology, has been proving just how efficient and cost effective it can be. Plan properly and carefully, follow the key principles, take the right advice, and what you end up with is a virtualised environment that’s better than the system you had before – easier to manage and easier to change as your school’s needs change, and users aren’t subjected to irritating down time.

    For Alan Richards at West Hatch it’s that improved service that really counts. “ It’s obviously nice to save money, but the main reason for the change is to ensure reliability and sustainability for the school. Alan’s right, but it’s also true that by moving in a planned way to a virtualised environment with Hyper-V, the network team is effectively presenting the school with a considerable financial bonus that continues year on year.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Safer Internet Day with CEOP - Free online safety resources and training programmes


    Yesterday saw Safer Internet Day 2012 (SID) with CEOP. This has taken months of planning from the CEOP team who have worked continuously to ensure that, whilst your children are using the internet to complete homework, play games to relax or chat to friends through social networks, parents and teachers alike know and understand what actions to take to ensure they stay safe online.

    From 6pm-9pm on 7th February, the CEOP team were on line via their facebook page answering any questions that came through from teachers and parents alike to give advice on best practices around internet safety and the challenges they face as their children grow up online.

    Over the 3 hours, over 80 people contacted CEOP, with both queries and thanks for the work that has been put in to provide free resources and training programmes for teachers to deliver directly to young people in schools through the Think U Know website, including the the Keeping up with the Joneses short 50’s style trailer to get parents to think about their children’s online lives.

    ‘’Well done CEOP on your excellent work on internet safety very informative and easy to understand please keep up the good work.’’

    Along with this, CEOP’s very own Jonathan Baggaley and with the help of others, produced ‘’The Parents and Carers Guide to the Internet’’, using a fun and interactive way to equip you with the tools to have those tricky conversations with children and young adults.


    A big congratulations to the CEOP team. Overall SID was very successful, communicating key messages across with useful resources available to use for both parents evenings and in the classroom as part of a learning tool for everyone.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Microsoft UK Education Webcasts: New Dates Added!



    Further to our recent Education Desktop webcast, the next on our series of Live Webcasts have now been scheduled. Details are shown below. We hope you can join us!

    System Center 2012 – An Overview

    March 6th, 11am-12pm

    System Center 2012 can transform your IT Infrastructure, from your Desktops, to your Data Centre and out to the Cloud. Join this session, presented jointly by Microsoft and a Microsoft System Center Partner to understand what System Center 2012 can do for you. This session will provide a good overview of the capabilities of the suite and also provide a “what’s new” update if you are aware of previous versions. You will also have chance to get your System Center questions answered by a Specialist.

    SharePoint 2010 – An Overview for Education

    March 27th, 11am-12pm

    This session, presented by Dave Coleman, SharePoint MVP – will cover the key features of SharePoint 2010 –highlighting key education scenarios. Whether you are completely new to SharePoint or have experience with previous versions, this session will give a great recap, and provide a “what’s new” in this current release. You will also have the chance to get answers to any of your burning SharePoint questions.

    Deploying Windows 7 – from Planning to Deployed
    April 17th, 11am-12pm

    This session will give you an overview of the key steps needed to plan for and deploy Windows 7 effectively.

    There are a whole range of free tools and utilities from Microsoft that enable you to remove huge cost out of the deployment process. Including:

    · How to simplify assessing your current PC estate for suitability

    · Checking your application compatibility – and reducing the impact of any that aren’t compatible

    · Application deployment methods to reduce your workload

    · Capturing and migrating existing user data

    · Automating deployments – from light touch to zero touch installations

    The session will be relevant for IT managers in schools, colleges and universities

    You will also have chance to get any of your deployment questions answered by a Microsoft Specialist.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Safety Internet Day - raising awareness with the BBC and CEOP


    The BBC’s Share Take Care campaign is part of its commitment to media literacy and online safety for young people. Working in partnership with The UK Safer Internet Centre to support Safer Internet Day (SID), (tweet #SID2012) the BBC’s campaign aims to raise awareness of the issues around safeguarding reputation online.

    Helping to raise awareness, the BBC have bought together using Horrible Histories, a number of short light hearted video clips.image


    Horrible Histories - Lady Jane Grey
    Be aware of what you download!

    Horrible Histories - Guy Fawkes
    Privacy Settings

    Horrible Histories  - Saxon Monk
    Internet Video’s are Forever



    As part of Safer Internet Day, this year, CEOP are launching the ‘Parents and Carers’ Guide to the Internet’. This informative 20 minute film is being shared widely by both CEOP and their many partners. You can view this and get up to date advice here

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    End of Support for Microsoft Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003


    Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Office 2003 will be reaching end of support in April 2014. We want to help you avoid the risk of running an unsupported version of Windows & Office, and to assist with your IT planning for 2012.

    With this in mind, the objective of this Blog Post is to highlight the potential risks involved with the upcoming end of support of these products and to outline the options available to mitigate these risks.

    What is the situation and potential risk?

    Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will no longer be supported from April 8, 2014 onwards. After this date, Microsoft will not provide any public support for these products, including security patches, non-security hotfixes or incident support.

    Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

    • Security & Compliance Risks - Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information
    • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support – A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests "many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common". And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware OEMs will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models. See Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP SP3, June 2011.

    What are the available options?

    1. Upgrade - This option affords customers the best return on investment by deploying a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010. Whether you’re a small business or the largest corporation with offices worldwide, moving to a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010 offers your business the ability to improve productivity for your employees and increase operational efficiency through improved PC security and management.

    To help customers with the migration/deployment process, Microsoft and our consulting partners offer several options including proof of concept (POC) and production pilot programs, available through Microsoft Consulting Services or one of our Certified Service Partners, to help you achieve a successful upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010.

    2. Purchase a Custom Support contract through Premier Support to stay on unsupported products – If, for any reason, you decide to remain on Windows XP SP3 or Office 2003 after support ends, you have the option to purchase Custom Support. As a condition of buying a Custom Support contract, you must have a Premier Support agreement and we ask our customers to have a migration plan in place. The cost of Custom Support is significantly higher than regular support, and rises annually due to the rising costs of supporting a legacy product.

    3. Do nothing – Microsoft recommends customers avoid this option for it can put you at risk of potential security and compliance issues.

    Where can you find more information?

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    How can we make our blog more relevant to your needs?


    I have a bit of a favour to ask. I want to ensure that the information we share via our blogs is relevant to your needs and continues to add value.

    With this in mind, would you mind taking a minute out to give me an indication of what kind of content you would like to see more of over the coming months by completing the short poll below? We will always look to mix up the content types that we share on the blogs, but if there is a particular type or style of post that you enjoy most, let me know and I can work on ensuring that I post more of this kind of material.

    Thanks in advance, and if there are any specific topics you would like us to address via the blog, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Learning Without Frontiers 2012: First batch of videos now available


    The folks at Learning Without Frontiers have made the first batch of videos from the 2012 conference available online. The remainder of the videos will apparently be released in batches over the coming weeks.

    As discussed in my recent posts on the conference (check them out here and here if you missed them), Learning Without Frontiers was one of the most thought provoking conferences I have attended in some time.

    I am not going to post every video shared from the #LWF12 team, but thought it might be useful to add a couple of the videos to the blog. I will post additional sessions that I found particularly interesting to the blog when available.

    In the meantime, the stand out sessions from the initial batch of videos are as follows:

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Virtualisation with Microsoft®Hyper-V (New eBook)


    We’re conditioned to assume, especially in education, that a cost-saving measure will threaten the quality of what we’re able to offer. That being so, the news is more than welcome that in many schools, colleges and universities, information technology professionals are turning that assumption on its head. They have found a proven way not only of saving significant sums of money for their institutions, but of doing so while delivering better and more effective ICT for staff and students.

    Already the questions are forming. How is that done? Can any school do it? Exactly what cost savings are in the offing? Is the end product really good enough for us?

    Our latest eBook, titled ‘Virtualisation with Hyper-V’, attempts to provide you, a decision-maker in a school, college or university, with the information you need to make informed decisions about how to save money within your institution. One of the solutions, and the key focus of this eBook, lies in server virtualisation using Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.

    Within this eBook, we’ll tell you what Hyper-V is already doing for real UK schools, and arguably more importantly, in broad terms what it could do for your school.

    The content covered within this eBook is structured in two parts. Part 1 provides a non-technical introduction to the concept of server virtualisation. Part 2 presents a more technical guide to help you implement a virtualised environment.

    This eBook has been co-authored by Alan Richards, West Hatch High School, and Gerald Haigh. The full eBook can be viewed and/or downloaded below.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Safety online–how much do you parents know?


    With technology continuing to grow and the fact that children and young adults use the internet everyday, whether it be in the classroom, at home getting their homework done before dinner or chatting to their mates whilst playing the latest game, the question has to be asked, do they know and understand their children’ online lives?thumbnailCAN280H2

    On 7th February, CEOP will be releasing ‘’The Parents’ and Carers’ Guide to the Internet at Safer Internet Day (SID), an entertaining and light-hearted look at what it takes to be an online parent. This will be available from 7am on and

    About 2 weeks ago, Think You Know released a promotional pack which includes all the information you need to run an event for parents or activities for children ahead of SID. If you would like to download this, you can do so here, just click on the Key Stage area you are interested in.

    And finally, Think You Know have launched a Keeping up with the Joneses' film, something to share with parents to get them thinking about how their children use the internet whilst ensuring they are kept safe online.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    The Microsoft Education Desktop (Webcast)


    What does the modern education desktop from Microsoft look like today? This webcast talks about how Windows 7, Office 2010 and Learning Suite, to name a few, come together to provide more engaging learning experiences for learners, while also saving costs.

    Furthermore, if you are responsible for managing the desktops within your institution, this webcast shares some insight into MDOP with adds significant value and removes cost from the process of managing the desktop environment.

    Finally, while not specifically a licensing orientated session, an overview will also be given on the CAL Suites.

    If you have any questions about the Modern Education Desktop from Microsoft, please leave your questions in the comments below.

    Thanks for taking the time to view the webcast and if you have any ideas for future topics, we would love to hear them. Again, leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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