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Educational Software Thread, Network Management Software in Technical; Hi all, We are currently looking at purchasing some network management software; we've looked at CSE, Viglen Classlink... Can anyone ...
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    towen's Avatar
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    Network Management Software

    Hi all,

    We are currently looking at purchasing some network management software; we've looked at CSE, Viglen Classlink...

    Can anyone recommed any good suppliers \ software?

    Many Thanks,

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Network Management Software

    There's RM CC3 which is quite popular; and a linux solution called Karoshi. There are mixed responses to RM, CSE and Viglen on the forum of this site - good for some and not for others; it's what works for your school that matters

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    Re: Network Management Software

    What exactly do you need 'managing' beyond what a vanilla W2k3/AD system provides?

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    Re: Network Management Software

    We have looked at RM, but my pass experience and cost of RM products puts me off!

    CSE looks quite favourable at the moment, Any comments\views.. on this anyone?

    We have a complete Windows 2000 Domain structure all clients are Windows XP..

    Looking at moving to Windows 2003 over the summer....

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    Re: Network Management Software

    Looking for a desktop management suite really, and ways of being able to control and rollout of software remotely.

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    Re: Network Management Software

    If I were you I would avoid the cost of going down a Network Management layer route like CC3 since you are already running vanilla. Many schools (including ours) run CC3 because it's what was in place and the job of moving to vanilla is significant when the network is in constant use. Although some of our machines are vanilla these days.

    You can use Group Policy to deploy software. What do you want from a "Desktop Management Suite"?

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    Re: Network Management Software

    You can get a long way with Active Directory, MSI's and RIS.

    For desktop management, beyond GPO's (which are fairly comprehensive) what about Netsupport Manager?

    http://www.netsupport-inc.com/nsm/ne...r_overview.htm

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    Re: Network Management Software

    We currently use GPO quite exstensevly to lock down the workstations etc.

    Most of all we need tools to be able to improve the way in which we manage desktops & applications on machines.

    Yes, GPO's can manage rollouts of Software, but from experience doesn't bend itself well to the school enviroment.

    I've also heard alot of bad things about RM which has put us off them completely.. e.g. loss of network control, expensive...

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    Re: Network Management Software

    With RM, all you really need to pay for is the licenses, you don't have to buy hardware from them.

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    Re: Network Management Software

    Yes, GPO's can manage rollouts of Software, but from experience doesn't bend itself well to the school enviroment.
    Well, from experience I haven't seen a better method. I think RIS + MSI's deployed via GPO are probably as good as it gets. Fair enough you have to package applications up as MSI's however that's a one off cost.

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    Re: Network Management Software

    A lot of software, especially for schools, comes with MSI's so it's the best option really. Even if it doesn't you can get free msi packagers or buy a decent packager for much less than the cost of RM software. Also RM uses Winstall 2000 LE or 2003 LE so really its exactly the same system but I believe RM uses text based INI to record whats installed on a machine at any given time!

    Wes

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    Re: Network Management Software

    Most of what I was going to say has been said above. But if you insist on a package to manage clients etc then Ranger is worth looking at.

    It's as restrictive as you want it to be, but flexible enough for you to use other packages or vanilla systems.

    We used it to save us some time when there was only 2 of us. Now there are 4 of us we can keep to being a vanilla site.

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    Re: Network Management Software

    I would 100% not recommend going to the paying money to get somthing like RM Connect, CSE or Ranger. Like others have said you do not need it as you already have a Vanilla network. I think you just need some help from us to make your network do what you want. Can you give us an example of a problem you have with software rollout in detail?

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    Re: Network Management Software

    Firstly many thanks for all your views with regards to this.....

    Yes we have a "vanilla" network (i.e. Windows 2000) and have spent alot of time customising it to do what we want it to do.

    Whilst I appreciate Windows will offer the tools; that we require (remote management,software deployment tools etc) I personally still don't think it's specfically lends itself to "todays" academic enviroment without the requirement of additional tools.

    I personally don't want to lose *control* of our network by letting network management tool companies take it over and restricting what we can do!

    I think what I'm trying to say is tools to do the job effectivly and more efficently...

    We have one and half technician's and one network manager, and have approx 500+ machines on-site) including wireless notebooks

    - Ranger Suite is now a by-product of RM plc so that puts me off that..

    Rollout of Software & Remote Management of Computers are our main are requirements.

    I've had bad experiences with GPO's rolling out and corrupting installations of software so I've left it well alone...

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    Re: Network Management Software

    Just to throw in my two cents...

    For software roll-out I would still suggest Group Policy. (be sure to deploy applications to Computers and not to Users BTW) I have deployed hundreds of different packages using this technique, most of which I have repackaged using InstallShield Admin Studio or Wise Package Studio.

    Repackaging is not a technique which is learnt overnight, however, and there are ways of deploying non MSI based apps using Group Policy. If you need to deploy a non-MSI based app, then provided you can make it do a silent install (most if not every InstallShield based application can be made to do this), then you can 'wrap' it in an MSI using the Windows Installer Wrapper Wizard (see WiKi - Essential software list). The other option is to use WPKG (again, see WiKi - Essential software), which is an alternative to using GP to install software on your PCs.

    As far as remote management is concerned, it depends on what you need to do. Here are some options;

    1 - As an admin, you can use MSTSC to remotely log on to XP based PCs to perform diagnostics etc. This does NOT let you 'take over' the PC to see what a user was doing on it however

    2 - UltraVNC will let you 'take over' a PC to provide assistance or to perform diagnostics

    3 - Use the 'Computer Management' console (right click 'My Computer', select Manage, when the console appears, right click 'Computer Management (local)' and select 'Connect to another computer'. Enter the name of the PC you want to 'manage' (or browse via AD) and OK. You can also use this feature from within AD Users & Computers by right clicking a computer account and selecting Manage.

    4 - If you want to browse the files system on a remote computer, as an admin you can browse to \\(computername)\c$

    5 - If you need to access the registry on a remote computer, using REGEDIT, you can 'connect network registry'.

    6 - If you want to execute code on remote computers you can use the excellent PSTOOLS from System Internals. These tools also let you view the active processes on the PC (this can be very handy in a group policy software install gets 'stuck' during installation)

    There really is very little that you can't do in terms of software installation or remote management with the standard windows tools or a couple of bits of freeware.

    I think the strength of the network management systems is in their user/desktop management, monitoring, security and reporting functions.

    Whatever you decide to do, it's obviously your choice, but as was mentioned elsewhere in the thread there are many very experienced EduGeeks who will be happy to help if you decide to steer the righteous course of Win2K3, XP and a few select third party add-ons!

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