Opinion: Key lessons in ICT infrastructure

by Robert Ballantyne10 Jun 2015

As technology continues to play an integral role in the classroom, schools today are also increasingly reliant on functioning and strong performing IT infrastructure.
In particular, the growth of e-learning tools such as interactive whiteboards is revolutionising the education space, whilst non-IT systems like laboratory technology are also being integrated into the central IT system.
With such widespread use of technology, a single malfunction may result in serious consequences for educators. On top of pressure to avoid costs of downtime, IT managers working within the education sector also face some specific challenges:
Some of these challenges are as follows:
Distributed IT landscapes due to structural or legacy reasons:
Increased challenges for IT to maintain constant availability of functional devices and applications across multiple locations.
Demand for virtual learning environments with 24/7 access:
Shift or standby duty is often required of IT to achieve this, which can be costly and time-consuming. As such, smaller schools often cannot afford this – leading to learning disruptions when an IT failure occurs.
Heterogeneous infrastructure caused by merging of legacy and new systems:
IT environments are often not updated regularly as a result, creating a challenge to network management. In turn, verification of the functionality of all devices, systems and services becomes time-consuming and prone to error.
Increasingly centralised IT:
More devices and systems that were not originally allocated to IT are becoming increasingly integrated with central systems. While this allows merging of responsibility in a concerted infrastructure management framework, it also requires much broader control capabilities.
So how do you keep IT up and running? The answer lies in network monitoring.

Overcoming the IT challenges: the benefits of unified monitoring

A key benefit of network monitoring within educational institutions is the ability to provide a holistic overview of IT to ensure infrastructure is available on demand. Importantly, network monitoring has three main functions: alerting on concrete malfunctions, notification of impending problems and serving as a database for long-term IT optimisation.
In choosing the right solution, key decisions-makers should evaluate criteria relating to the school’s specific needs and challenges.
Ultimately, in order to alleviate related IT challenges, it is critical for schools to have a unified monitoring tool in place – which is a vendor agnostic solution that enables the monitoring of hardware, software and virtual environments within a single platform.
Andrew Timms is the Senior Sales Manager APAC at Paessler AG, a leading network monitoring company.
For more information, please visit Paessler AG’s website here