> <bits and bobs snipped>
> Note I'm not affiliated with these groups, nor am I a 
> teacher, just showing that working, LEA-or-bigger SaaS *is* 
> being delivered because of that better resourcing.

It warms the cockles of my very being to hear that some organisations can
get it right :) I wonder how much of it is mainly down to clueful people at
the reins?

BathNES seems to have come a long way... But then we in Wiltshire were
always the poor relation to upper middle class BaNES ;) (lived in Wiltshire
for 14 years when I were but a nipper :)

BucksCC with the SEGfL is currently in the process of implementing a few
gigs of storage (think it's 10?) + hosted email + docs + VLE + workspace for
every single primary and secondary pupil in the county, with several years'
retention and remote access, all the other gubbins... A truly titanic
investment and development of infrastructure, which central Government /is/
paying for, handily. Every so often I ask about how it's progressing and I
just get a weary look in my direction! I think in the end a proprietary
solution /was/ chosen over the alternatives because it was just faster,
easier and more beneficial to implement, having on balance the best
interoperability with the other existing infrastructure and all the other
essentials. I must ask the old man for some more information because I know
things have changed since we last talked about it too.

What is BathNES using for its base infrastructure?

> School network reliability aside, many Universities across 
> the UK are deploying thin clients as we speak, my current 
> employer (the University of Bath) has rolled out something 
> like 400 in the past 12 months, without any significant 
> problems. A number of other universities have had similar 
> experiences. Bath are rolling out Sun Ray machines, as are, 
> again, some of the other universities.
> All the components you mention above are probably equally as important
> - if the AD server goes down for a day and no-one can log in? Wuh oh.
> If the proxy is down and a teacher can't show the class the 
> youtube video of a science experiment or get them to do some 
> research for a project? Wuh oh.

Yes, very true, my analogy works both ways. However, there's always the fact
that unless something catastrophic happens to the authentication server (of
which hopefully there's more than one if it's a large network) there's that
much more of an incentive to get it fixed! In the meantime, if people are
already logged on, hopefully the system will let them stay logged on because
they already have validated credentials for that session. Thin client server
goes down... Caput.

I've witnessed my fair share of cockups and poor adminning at a network
level as a luser in some of the schools I've been in (including some
hair-tearingly frustrating ones... Classfuls of roaming profiles loading
over a 100mbps network at the start of each lesson anyone?) but a
catastrophic failure of some element of the network in a regular
'standalone' machine infrastructure won't be *quite* as catastrophic to the
people who are currently using the system as if they were on thin clients...

... That said, do the Sun machines have some kind of stateful 'stasis' mode
where the full state of each person's session is restored after a reboot of
the host server?

Of course if uptime is the #1 essential then you're going to have multiple
host servers, but then you still need all the other bits and pieces AND you
need multiple huge, sweaty beasts of machines to power the entire school's
computing needs. And then you end up with compartmentalised networks,
multiple host servers to look after in physically different locations... I
can quickly see it becoming as much of an administrative nightmare as a
sprawling standalone network.

Pros and cons I suppose... I look forward to the time when thin clients
become usable enough to fully replace desktops in some scenarios, because
then we'll all get more desk space :D

> As a side note, I can guarantee Dave that educational 
> software from five years ago that is essential in the 
> classroom today does not run under Wine even now :)

Can I put a fiver on that?

> > I have a feeling that most schools
> > would carry on using their existing setups regardless 
> because it's too 
> > much hassle to change.
> Oops, forgot you did actually say that :)

I forget I say stuff too, happens all the time. :/

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