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An SDN Tool for K-12 Education? Brocade, Elbrys and Tallac Have One in Mind

By Steve Anderson June 17, 2015

Some things just don't go well together on the surface, but actually mesh well when more deeply considered. A look at the software-defined networking (SDN) solution being posed by Brocade, Elbrys and Tallac suggests that bringing SDN to a market like K-12 education will make plenty of sense.

The solution in question brings together four separate components from the three different companies. The Tallac LAN-as-a-Service tool couples with the Elbrys SDN School Application for K-12, and both of these tools work with Brocade's SDN Controller and its vRouter tool as well. Bring the four of these together and the end result is ready for demonstration at this year's Open Networking Summit.

That's an interesting combination of parts, of course, but the question of just what it does remains. Essentially, it's designed to make network use substantially easier and involve less difficulty for schools. The combined solution will help orchestrate not only campus local area networks (LANs), but also bring in Wi-Fi service complete with switches and firewalls, allowing for virtual network functions to be brought into play, and also provide access to SDN operations as well, all from what's described as “a single pane of glass.”

It doesn't stop there, either; reports suggest that the use of Tallac's LAN-as-a-Service system will allow for virtual private network (VPN) services to be brought in to branch offices, which is an excellent proposition for K-12 schools; such schools often extend over multiple buildings, with even smaller school districts needing three or four buildings total to accommodate all the students in a region. There was even further word that the demonstrations would show off how easy it is to add SDN business applications thanks to the Brocade SDN controller and the Elbrys SDN School Application involved in the picture.

With these tools, teachers and administrators will also have access to a wide array of services. One of these is the ability to bring third-party learning management systems (LMS) to the field, allowing for lists of approved Web resources that can be constantly monitored such that the best tools for the job can be always on hand. This helps keep participation levels up to snuff, and kids that are actively engaged are, all else being equal, more effective learners than those who aren't.

Image via Shutterstock

Schools have a tough job these days. Competing with a variety of demands on children's attention isn't easy by any stretch, and trying to deliver education in an environment with lots of different needs and learning styles isn't easy either. But being able to turn to different kinds of learning options is a help, and tools like the Tallac/Brocade/Elbrys solution will hopefully help get those different tools into the right hands at the right time to produce the best results.

It's not a magic bullet solution, of course, but it could be the right start that makes schools more effective, and thus a better use of increasingly scarce resources. The value of technology has shown itself across a host of industries, and education is no different; seeing it make use of SDN functions is a gratifying sight and further proof of this field's value.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Contributing Writer

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