The cloud would include full virtualization of the software environment using Microsoft (AZURE) - connects to windows back-end server to deliver applications. It could potentially be less expensive because one pays for the time when the server is being utilized and which software is being used.
Students and educators can access the cloud from home or school when they log in to the Forefront unified access gateway to enter their board credentials. Group policy processing is applied and distributes all of the applications which run off the cloud server.
There are several advantages to this model;
- single sign-on (no need to remember multiple logins for different websites)
- IT personnel can spend more time on training as opposed to maintenance
- IT departments get valuable hard-drive space back that would have been needed for software images
- upgrades to software is immediate - no software shipping costs
- reduced network bandwidth requirements
- a great enabler to Bring Your Own Device (less powerful devices can be used to access software and websites)
I am looking forward to seeing the proof of concept for this model because there are so many exciting possibilities.