Northern Ireland aims to create Europe’s first education cloud

2 Jul 2012

Technologies from Cisco, EMC, VCE and VMware are set to provide the infrastructure for Education Network Northern Ireland, the new cloud-based network to centralise education materials for 1,200 schools and 350,000 teachers and students in the North via the web.

Northern Ireland is investing stg£170m in the new cloud-based education network, which it is claiming is Europe’s first education cloud. It is part of the Classroom 2000 (C2k) programme.

The government-funded private cloud project will be delivered over the next five years by Northgate Managed Services using the technology of Cisco, EMC, VCE and VMware. It started earlier this year.

The aim of the project is to give students and teachers increased access to learning resources. Another aim of the cloud-based network will be to give students and teachers the ability to collaborate and support the growing trend for using mobile devices, including tablets, laptops and smartphones, in the classroom.

Among the technologies that will be deployed will be converged infrastructure systems known as VCETM VblockTM Systems.

The aim of the systems will be to converge the computing, networking, storage, security and virtualisation technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single, integrated and pre-configured system with end-to-end support.  

At its facility in Cork, VCE will manufacture the multiple Vblock systems used in this project.

There will also be a Cisco data centre as part of the network, which the company said will feature all of its latest network innovations, as well as a lower carbon footprint.

EMC, meanwhile, will be providing a security platform known as RSA Envision. The aim of this platform, according to the company, will be to enable Northgate to identify and address high-priority security incidents in real-time.  

And VMware will be supplying virtualisation software known as vSphere. The company said this software enables higher availability and agility of desktop services, while reducing the total cost of desktop ownership up to 50pc.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic