ICT Plans - Am I Missing Something?
Hi all - this seemed like the best place for this question, apologies if not.
A little background: We're a computing specialist school and have been for many years, we have around 900 desktops/laptops, 30-odd servers, 3x ESXi hosts, 3x SANs (two basic ones, one nice one), IWB and projector in every room, we run Office 2010, Adobe CS5, Visual Studio 2010, etc. In other words, we're relatively IT proficient here.
For the last 3 years, budget has been almost non-existent so we've just been keeping things ticking over. We're still on XP as we had quite a few machines that wouldn't handle Win7 well enough. Over the summer this year we had a decent amount of funding and replaced nearly 300 machines with high-spec Dells, so things are now much better and once we've got rid of the last old PCs we should be Win7-ready from a desktop hardware point of view.
I try to run things here like a business - everything integrates properly, single-sign-on wherever possible, handle everything in-house and outsource as little as possible, enterprise-grade hardware, etc. My plans were to finish moving to Server 2008, virtualise as much as possible, get Exchange 2010 with Exchange ActiveSync and Outlook Anywhere working properly, put Windows 7 on the desktops, and then we should be up to a decent level.
However, a couple of people very high up in the school like Apple and mobile devices. If they have their way I get the impression we'll be replacing a lot of our desktops with Macs and replacing laptops with iPads and whatever mobile device the kids bring with them. To me this seems... not so much a step backwards but a step in the wrong direction. We put in 16 Macs in Music over summer and they're nice, but they're quite specifically suited to multimedia work rather than most of the ICT-specific work in other places across the school. Running them also now means I'm having to manage two directories (AD and OD), two sets of Group Policies, we cannot repair them when they break like we do with PCs, obviously they're twice the cost, etc.
This is what management are reading when it comes to mobile devices: Maximum cloud coverage - Leader Magazine. I'm not even going to begin explaining my problems with that article. (although I'd start with the fact it claims that ICT "never really fulfilled its promise as [a] highly effective teaching and learning tool" (I disagree) and the fact he's comparing kids bringing a calculator from home to replace a school calculator to kids bringing a mobile phone from home to replace a school PC)
So, my question is this: Am I right for trying to maintain an enterprise-level network where everything is domain-based, can be managed in-house, is widely supported, and we use new technologies (e.g. iPads) to enhance this, or should I be embracing new technologies with no (or few) questions asked and be willing to replace the majority of our network with Apple kit?
Thanks in advance for any feedback. :)