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Nov 18 2009   1:17AM GMT

Cloud Computing 101: New HP offering for schools offers lesson in innovative cloud solutions

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

Hewlett-Packard had a mega-briefing this week about thin client and client virtualization technology that I will be reporting on in greater depth, but one of the “products” that the company’s partners should consider studying most closely is something called HP SchoolCloud.

As you might gather from the name, this is an offering that ascribes to the cloud philosophy of aggregating applications and IT services in a central server location. In this case, it is a private cloud that a solution provider can assemble for a K-12 school using HP servers, thin client hardware and a service called ClassLink that serves out applications and data to students, administrators and teachers.

The touted benefits include cost savings in terms of management, better visibility into what students are actually doing with their assignments, and the ability to accommodate more individualize learning needs. Remote access support allows the same audience to grab information from their home computer (ANY home computer, even a Macintosh).

The Hudson Falls Central School District, which is one of HP’s poster accounts for this technology, went from managing 1,400 computers to running their applications off 10 servers. Here’s a video with more information about the account.

And here is more information about HP SchoolCloud.

Some of the solution providers that I speak with in the course of my journalist and analyst life question their role in cloud computing, suggesting that they’ll be cut out of the equation. HP SchoolCloud is a great example of why thinking might be short-sighted. The real opportunity isn’t in selling cloud to your existing customers. Yes, you may lose some of them. The magic lies in all the new prospects you’ll be able to reach through innovative applications of the cloud concept.

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