To follow on from our recent post Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM post, the next post in this series includes a summary of Microsoft Private Cloud Infrastructure and Office Web Apps Originally posted by Ray Fleming
Microsoft Online Services and Education
We’ve made a public big shift in our emphasis towards cloud-based services; but behind the scenes there have been very big changes going on for years to get ready for the day that cloud takes off right across the world.
I’m going to use ‘Cloud’ to represent all of the Internet services that users and institutions might be using. It might be a mix of desktop and web-based software, or an entirely web-based service. Either way, it’s something that involves a web-service as part of the IT delivery.
So here’s my summary of the cloud-based services that Microsoft do that may be directly relevant to education, and the essential differences. .
Microsoft Private Cloud Infrastructure
This is a set of resources, products, and management tools that allows you to run your own private cloud (or contract another organisation to do it for you), using the best practice techniques that we have developed for our cloud infrastructure. It enables you to dynamically pool, allocate, and manage resources to deliver flexible/agile Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Capabilities like self-service portals let your end-users rapidly consume IT services by self-provisioning (and decommissioning) infrastructure on a shared server fabric, virtualised by Windows Server Hyper-V and managed by System Center. Departments are thus able to deploy their applications with a lot more speed and agility. This allows your own IT team to focus their time on solving business problems rather than worrying about keeping the basic infrastructure running. It provides a less complex, more agile and more efficient infrastructure, in-house. And there’s also a hybrid model, where you contract a service hoster to provider a ‘virtual private cloud’, perhaps as a top-up to your in-house infrastructure.
How do you buy it?
Well, because it is based on a set of best practice advice, you’ll find that the key components are being built into the products you already have – like Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V – and the Systems Management Server products. And in addition, we’re releasing free toolkits – like the Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center and the Dynamic Data Centre Toolkit for Hosters.
Where to find out more
Office Web Apps
The Office Web Apps are online companions for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Office Web Apps provide quick viewing of Office documents and basic editing capabilities. There are three methods of accessing Office Web Apps.
- Individuals (eg your students off campus) can use the Web Apps in Windows Live, and the files are stored online in their webspace on their SkyDrive.
- For institutional use, they can be hosted on premise on your SharePoint 2010 or they can be hosted with Microsoft Online. In this mode, files are stored within your infrastructure. It is mainly intended as a companion to the full Office suite, but available over the web when you don’t have Office installed, or when it speeds up sharing and collaboration.
- Office Web Apps is included within the Live@edu and the Office 365 for education services (see above)
How do you buy it?
Individuals can access it on Windows Live using their Windows Live ID. For institutional use, every licence for Office 2010 under a volume licence scheme (such as a Select licence) includes an additional licence for Office Web Apps.