Microsoft Azure's 'hybrid cloud' solution - what it is and how it can benefit your school

There is no doubt that Cloud computing is transforming how schools access, share and store their data. Apart from the excellent cloud-based collaboration tools developed by Microsoft and Google, another area where the Cloud has made a big impact is in data storage and backup – many schools are now opting to secure their essential data by storing a copy of it in the cloud.

Despite these developments, we are quite far off from a scenario where most schools opt for a ‘pure’ cloud infrastructure (where ALL of the schools’ computing processes would take place in the Cloud) .
The limitation in current broad band speeds dictates that in most cases, some data must be stored and accessed within the local network or users will suffer from slow network speeds. Also, some schools are not prepared to migrate all of their network operations to the cloud: They may have legacy infrastructure in place or they may have sensitive information they would still like to keep on their own network.

This is where, a ‘hybrid cloud’ solution comes in: A duplicate image of the local network’s data is copied to the public cloud and periodically updates itself according to local network’s changes. This solution is particularly helpful to network administrators in schools as it saves them alot of time by automating backup processes that would otherwise be quite time-consuming. It also gives schools the peace of mind that whatever disaster may befall their local network, an up-to-date copy of their restorable data is sitting safely in the Cloud.

In summary, a ‘hybrid cloud’ solution gives staff and pupils the reliable and fast experience of a local network, coupled with the peace-of-mind and convenience of a cloud solution.

One of Joskos’ recommended Cloud provisions is Microsoft Azure. Azure offers a vast collection of integrated services including servers, storage, backups, and apps. When deploying Azure solutions in schools, our technicians link the school’s physical server to the Azure cloud to allow the school to access local and cloud resources from anywhere at any time.

The key local benefits to the Hybrid Azure model are:

  • Key data is accessible within the school via the local server in the event that the internet connection fails
  • Costs are drastically reduced should the school decide to pull out of the cloud for any reason as they will have a physical server to build on
  • Data accessed remotely from outside of the school has no impact on the school’s broadband or network speeds
  • Additional cloud servers can be added at any time with no initial outlay or physical server downtime and can be removed later if no longer needed.

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