Azure in education

At the end of 2009 I wrote an edublog predicting what would happen in 2010. I forgot to do one for 2011 but no matter, a two year gap is better in some ways. I thought the fashion for Netbooks (tantalisingly mostly Linux at that time) would wane,...

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At the end of 2009 I wrote an edublog predicting what would happen in 2010. I forgot to do one for 2011 but no matter, a two year gap is better in some ways. I thought the fashion for Netbooks (tantalisingly mostly Linux at that time) would wane, Postgres would become the de-facto database, Creative Commons would become the licence model of choice and Microsoft’s Azure would dominate the school’s SaaS market in the guise of G-Cloud.

Some of the above happened in 2010, or in 2011.

Undoubtedly the industrial-strength, free, open source database Postgres made huge progress as Oracle gobbled up the world. Linux Netbooks did indeed fall away to zero. CC was lost in the noise of the big dinosaurs fighting over copyright and patents and G-Cloud was binned officially early in 2011. Half right, half wrong that’s a tolerable performance.

A closer 2012-look at my 2010 predictions is however quite intriguing.

Postgres databases do not need predictions from me to help them on their rise and rise. If you fear proprietary lock-in, as you should, there is no-where else to go. Let’s move on.

Conventional Netbooks are a bit rubbish as truthfully they don’t really work well without an OS that has Open Source at its heart. Unfortunately the buying public wanted their familiar Windows which they duly got and then the market just keeled over with the sheer mediocrity of it all. Free-er operating systems from Mac and Google then rescued the little-screened devils and suddenly we are awash with ‘Netbooks sans keyboards’.

That’s quite cute, what other twists are there?

I’ll move swiftly on from open licencing models, Creative Commons is fantastic but I will be able to copy and paste this article next year...nothing will happen for a while. But, G-Cloud, now ‘there’s a turn up’ as they don’t say in Seattle.

G-Cloud, I can’t let it go. Its potential for educational web-app services is so immense and it got so far under the last Government that I cannot believe it is gone - despite Cabinet Office announcements to the contrary. They (Gov) already have the hardware, the datacentres and the backbone (thanks NHS) ... and web-services are THE only real growth area in education.

It was therefore no surprise to see a huge rise in G-Cloud Twitter traffic before Christmas. It was also spooky and not unrelated to hear at that time the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley wanted all patients to be able to access their records online … soon.

Um, I thought NHS IT was dead, but hang on isn’t online patient records the very service that MS Azure Cloud already provides off-the shelf in the US?

Try this one. The super expensive and by the way, immune from FOI requests, MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for education has all but been forgotten. Once this was so hot that BECTA referred Microsoft to the OFT (Office for Fair Trading) and effectively killed any Vista upgrade in schools by advising they did no such thing. This is why we all still use XP.

But the MOU, unlike BECTA has not gone away, so I guess it is still expensive and schools are stuck with XP forever unless...

... MS 365 (a paid for version of Google-Docs) with full ‘compatibility’ with other MS products would solve schools’ hardware crisis (old and crap stock combined with diversifying new technologies) at a stroke.

Where’s the UK based delivery service when you need it? It needs to be on UK servers or else the DPA’s(Data Protection Act) writ does not run. OK so let’s put Azure on our stuff like was planned three years ago and get some use out of them.

Only one prediction for 2012: Azure.

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