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synaesthesia

So, the upgrade and migration begins.

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by , 20th July 2012 at 07:00 PM (7373 Views)
Didn't get a lot done today, and probably not as much as I'd have liked yesterday with it being the end of term but mostly because some esteemed colleagues were leaving (some of their own accord, some not so much). It's hard watching people that were so obviously well respected and regarded by staff and students alike being pushed out especially when those people have made your own arrival into a new place of work so much easier by offering a listening ear or making you laugh. So the last couple of days has been pretty much just goodbyes and being regaled with stories of old and putting the world to rights.

But enough being sentimental. Today marked the first bit of proof for me that things really are moving in the right direction. We got the first full ICT suite built onto the new network, and yesterday the second important admin staff got their new system too. One member of staff nearby (our main SIMS person) had been on our new system for the best part of a fortnight already and we'd been pleasantly surprised with the lack of problems. Just a couple of niggles, one for me to work on next week with a small issue regarding SIMS and Word 2010 security (gack) but that shouldn't be too hard to solve.

SCCM 2012 is a peach to work with. I've had a lot of practice as I've said before, but being able to just fire up a whole ICT suite and PXE boot the lot with 0 trouble (well, apart from one machine that couldn't decide if it was a PC or a calculator and was just generally crap at being either) then half an hour later seeing the whole lot on the new domain, ready to roll was a huge relief. It's only the base image - but it still contains a lot of the basic stuff like Office, Audacity, Image Resizer, VLC, Irfanview, Chrome, Flash plugins etc. We could have probably rolled that out sitewide a fortnight ago with minimal fuss but nothing makes good preparation like testing.
So, 24 computers, imaged and working. On the new domain, in the correct OU, relevant SCCM client installed, Forefront working and updated. Fantastic.

We face the next stretch of 6 weeks getting the nit-picking done. Another 2 ICT suites to roll out (set and forget) and we can start the heavy stuff next week. Migrating incumbent services to the new domain and/or making sure they auth to the new domain. Zimbra, Moodle and Papercut/print server are the biggies. The bulk of the time will no doubt be ironing out little issues due to testing GPOs, drivers on those odd machines, those bloody awkward peripherals we entirely forgot about (receipt printers and ye-older scanners; grr!) and plenty of time to dedicate to making sure we're not going to get hammered when it all starts again in September.

Also got another server to build - currently one ESXi box is handling all 4 of the new servers (2 DCs, 2 user/SCCM servers) and doing a spankingly good job but we need 1 of each over our other building. Our main currently CC3 server is donating it's chassis and RAID card for this new server. It'll certainly need a clean after god knows how many years of sterling service.
People may knock CC3 all they like; I can certainly have a bash at some things, but it's been damn reliable and quite a time saver. I sincerely hope that once running, SCCM and Impero will do the same in the future.

Impero itself though is stunning. We've been using it for the last couple of months and kept finding new things to play with every time we loaded it. It's also instilled a sense of "They're watching us" into a good size group of "the kids who WILL mess around" which is damn handy as a deterrent and they've no excuse when they're pulled up for doing something they shouldn't. I'm not a great fan of the "surveillance culture" as it's often called but sometimes it can be a great thing. We're not particularly using Impero for that purpose, all in all it's 90% a remote administration tool and as from September it'll be part of a large "DIY service portal" for teachers for password resets, internet/site blocking which will take a large load off our minds.

Come October time, we hope to be able to sit back in our chairs and watch things just work. That may be a pipe dream, but I've got enough confidence in the plans, the hardware/software and our team to not worry. The only thing I really have to worry about is a small one - making sure I understand enough of my own documentation to be able to translate it into English for our records.

Things are positive.
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