One of the biggest investments most schools will make in their IT system is upgrading their server. Your server is the engine room of your entire IT network, a central hub for network-wide processing, data handling and connectivity.
When you are looking to upgrade, it is important to choose a solution which will meet your future as well as your current needs. As well as looking for the latest products to increase your memory and improve your load and operation times, there are also several different server deployment options to mull over.
With upgrades and system migration likely to cost upwards of several thousand pounds, ensuring you’re getting the most out of your school’s budget is essential. Here we’ll run through the most common server options to help you make a more informed decision for your school.
A dual server deployment has become standard for many schools, providing one server for students and teachers, and one for administration. The main benefit is that the separation between functions adds a layer of security around the sensitive data administrative staff will often be dealing with - there’s no risk of staff or pupils accidentally deleting pupil records, for example.
Dual servers also provide a resilient backup in the case of one server failing. Using virtualisation technology (see below), it’s possible to back the two servers up to one another while still maintaining the separation desired. In the event of one server failing, the necessary data could be reloaded and the system continue running virtually unaffected - a valuable benefit in the current landscape in which IT is such an invaluable learning resource.
A more cost effective option is to use a single server, making obvious savings on hardware and management costs - ideal if your budget is tight. While perfectly acceptable for running a simple school IT network, a single server does run the risk of a total system failure in the event it breaks down. Plus, if you want to develop your IT infrastructure in the future, running more and more powerful applications as you undergo digital transformation, a single server can become a hindrance.
The latest servers are resilient and come with in-built redundancy features, and will also pack enough processing power to serve your entire school’s needs. Just be sure to invest in adequate storage capacity for the users in your school to make sure everything can run smoothly on just the one server.
Server virtualisation is well worth considering for a modern school infrastructure, and can be applied to single or multiple servers. Virtualisation creates more stable computer systems by using available processing, memory and storage capacity more efficiently. Special software divides a single server up into multiple virtual machines, each with the ability to run it’s own operating system in complete isolation - in effect, turning a single server into many.
The biggest benefit of server virtualisation is that it reduces costs for schools as less hardware is required, conserving space while also providing a robust, powerful system that handle complex operations smoothly and efficiently.
As with virtualisation, a cloud-based server can also massively reduce costs for schools as no server hardware is required on-site at all. Cloud-based platforms are growing in popularity in the education industry, for example in replacing expensive textbooks with learning resources accessed online. A cloud server, hosted by a third party management company offers the same benefits applied to an entire IT infrastructure, reducing costs, offering simple, instant access from anywhere, and the peace of mind of having all technical aspects managed as part of the service contract.
Consider upgrading to a cloud server for your next server upgrade for a far more flexible option that will also provide your school environment with greater freedom of choice in the software, applications and organisation systems you need.
Octagon Education provide specialist ICT services for schools, providing outstanding product solutions, services and information. To discuss your server upgrade, or any other ICT upgrade you require, simply contact our team today to find out more.