Sustainable Infrastructure

Cloud Computing is a well-accepted practice in the state’s public schools community. LEAs have begun the migration to Cloud Computing services to: a) save money by eliminating on-site hardware and software, b) reduce the pressure on under-staffed technology organizations by shifting support responsibilities to the service providers, and c) simplify client device configurations by using web-accessible applications. LEAs use the Cloud Computing Software as a Service (SaaS) model to access enterprise IT applications such as email and web hosting, or instructional applications such as learning management system (LMS), integrated learning system (ILS), and student and teacher assessments.  All LEAs use SaaS applications. The level of Cloud Computing adoption varies across LEAs and is typically determined by:  

  • IT investment and system lifecycle: LEAs with recent investments in IT infrastructure, e.g. Microsoft Exchange, are unlikely to replace this in-house functionality with a SaaS service in the near-to-medium term. Alternatively, LEAs with IT assets nearing the end of their useful life are likely to consider SaaS alternatives.
  • Technical and functional requirements: comparative analysis of an in-house application versus a SaaS service may favor one approach over the other.
  • Financial analysis/Total Cost of Ownership: financial analysis of an in-house application versus a SaaS service may favor one approach over the other.
  • Capital Expenditure versus Operational Expenditure/Funding sources: the availability of “one-time” funding may favor the purchase of a software application over the recurring expenses of a SaaS service. Alternatively, recurring expenses that can be accurately forecast and budgeted may be preferred.
  • Availability of resources: resource constraints may limit an LEA’s ability to manage the migration to a Cloud Computing application or provide the professional development required to use it. Alternatively, resource constraints may limit an LEA’s ability to support an in-house application.

We are developing implementation plans in the areas detailed below to aid districts with these challenges.

Hosted IP Telephony

The majority of LEAs are slowly migrating to a VoIP solution to replace traditional PBX and CENTREX voice systems that are expensive to maintain, have limited expansion capabilities and lack many of the features that are expected on today’s voice networks.  The majority of premise based VoIP systems were installed prior to 2008 and just a small number have been installed in the last 2 years.    As a result many of these old traditional PBX, Centrex and premise based VoIP voice systems are reaching their End of Life and will require expensive upgrades in the very near future.

There is growing interest among the LEAs in Hosted VoIP solutions.   Today, only a small number (less than 15) have actually selected a vendor and implemented this service.   For the most part the feedback received to date has been positive.    It should be noted that the majority of these implementations are being done in a limited rollout to test availability, usability and functionality of the service.

Since the completion of the Site Surveys last fall the interest in Hosted VoIP is increasing very quickly.   Based on the conversations we are having with several large Hosted VoIP vendors and LEA personnel it is believed that at least 40 LEAs are investigating Hosted VoIP solutions at the present time.

Service Objectives:
Establish a convenience contract for Hosted IP Telephony Services.

Project Management:
Don Smith, Consultant, MCNC