If Nigeria’s universities and colleges are going to compete favourably with their counterparts across the world, they have to scale up the IT infrastructure that undergirds their operations. Virtual servers provide them with a means to achieve this, at relatively low costs.
Nigeria’s education system has recently come under significant strain. In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced institutions of learning to pivot from in-person classes to online instruction. Students and educators alike had to adapt to virtual learning.
For many, this transition came with hitches. Universities struggled to organize online classes, hold tests on a digital platform, and protect results and biodata generated for candidates. Low-performance speeds were common, and downtimes were frequent.
In several of these instances, the major problems were insufficient server capacity and poor support from service providers.
An obvious solution to these problems is the adoption of virtual servers. Unlike physical servers, virtual servers can be scaled up to meet demand. This means they’re more flexible, less costly on the whole, and potentially more efficient.
What Are Virtual Servers?
A server is an infrastructure that accepts and responds to queries sent over a network. It facilitates the processing, storage, and retrieval of data or services, on the request of a ‘client’. A client is a computer other than the server that’s part of a network.
An internet server is what enables you to ask for and receive results for your web searches. It allows you to run web pages, mobile applications, and enterprise solutions. It’s the ‘pillar’ on which Operating Systems rest. In many cases, the server is hardware made up of a motherboard, CPU, RAM, and other physical components.
Virtual servers are software designed to work just like a physical server. Like the hardware, they enable the processing, storage, and delivery of data over networks. But there are important distinctions between the two.
Besides not being tangible, virtual servers can be built out of a single hardware server. You can also have Operating Systems on each virtual server. With multiple virtual resources created out of a single physical server, you could utilize a lot more capacity than you would have if you simply stuck to hardware alone.
Laying A Foundation for Efficiency
Greater capacity utilization suggests the potential for increased efficiency. This could play out in several ways, across much of a typical university’s operations.
If a college of education has a distance or remote learning program, it may improve the quality of its service delivery in this area by working with virtual servers. Thanks to the scalability and increased capacity use that it enables, the college can adjust resources to properly support its online classes.
Network disruptions are a major challenge for virtual learning in Nigeria. They are capable of truncating ongoing sessions and causing the loss of data that students and tutors consider crucial. But if universities use virtual servers, they could whip up Operating Systems with temporary instances of the data or sessions that they’ve lost. This would take just a few seconds, and ensure continuity for classes and other online activities.
Schools and higher institutions also have to keep their staff and student information safe and accessible. Often, they will set up password-protected profiles for people in either category on web portals. If it’s a large database (perhaps containing details for tens of thousands of people), robust storage and query response capabilities may be required to maintain it.
Profile updates will also be expected for things like session fees, course registration, and test results. The traffic to these pages could surge at the start or end of terms or sessions. Because virtual servers are scalable, universities can boost capacity to accommodate increases in traffic at these times, and prevent portal crashes.
Higher Cost Savings and Greater Security
Given the nature of the Nigerian market for educational services, institutions of higher learning in the country are likely to appreciate offers that reduce their running expenses.
Virtual servers avail them of this possibility. As has already been noted, it’s much easier to scale up virtual server capacity than it is to add more physical servers. The organizations that use it can request a ramp up or scale down of capacity, to fit with current demand. This way, they only pay for the resources they utilize.
Security is a big concern as well. Polytechnics and universities hold a vast trove of staff and student information. Unless these systems holding this information are protected, they become open targets for cybercriminals. Thankfully, IaaS providers take care of a lot of this with endpoint protection. This typically forms part of their agreement with the client organization (in this case, education institutions).
These institutions still have a stake in shoring up their defenses. They can do this by limiting access with passwords and other means of authentication, monitoring traffic for potential DDoS attacks, installing and updating malware protection, and performing regular data backups.
vServer: A Private Virtual Server for Organizations Seeking Flexibility
If you are a university or polytechnic that maintains a large and growing database, you need a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that’s secure and easily scalable.
That’s what Layer3 offers with its vServer solution. It’s designed for organizations that want a direct say in the management of their network resources. Unlike the limited scope available from hosting companies, vServer gives its user institutions greater control of their websites and databases.
What’s more, vServer comes with features and add-ons like a web hosting control panel, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and vulnerability detection. Layer3 also has a straightforward customer onboarding process and provides round-the-clock support for clients. There are no setup fees and no vendor lock-ins.
The costs involved are within reach as well. And because Layer3 operates within Nigeria, clients don’t have to pay for its services in foreign currency. It saves them the difficulties associated with fluctuating exchange rates.
If you would like to find out more about the virtual server solution from Layer3, you can click here to request a free demo.