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Virtualisation and Web-Based Applications (Cloud Computing)

It is exciting to see that the concept of "virtualization" and "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)" is starting to take hold in the telecommunications world. Virtualization of computers and networks will also go a long way to addressing the challenges of CO2 emissions by the ICT industry.

Virtualisation of servers and services makes a lot of sense to schools, particularly in an ‘advanced network’ environment, providing much better options in terms of:

  • backup
  • distaster recovery
  • updates
  • maintenance
  • storage

The concept of virtualisation is not only a trend at the server level—increasingly we are seeing the emergence of small, portable computers, that rely on connectivity to the ‘network’ to access applications and services (as opposed to having them installed on the computer’s own hard drive). Examples are the eeePC from ASUS, and the OLPC computer developed by MIT labs. The move away from computers that rely on desktop apps to the cloud (internet apps) is on.

At the software and services level, one only has to consider the proliferation of web-based applications that are becoming available, the most commonly referred to being the suite of applications for educators provided by Google. In the future it is increasingly likely that we’ll see the students in our schools using these smaller devices to connect to applications on the web where they will create and store their documents.