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General Chat Thread, RM Service and Support in General; Hi I'm rather new to education and have come from a background supporting Public Sector (Including Health and Fire Service) ...
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    RM Service and Support

    Hi

    I'm rather new to education and have come from a background supporting Public Sector (Including Health and Fire Service) and Private industry (insurance, engineering, etc). I have recently taken over supporting a private school who are heavily involved with RM and are planning a major upgrade to CC4 this summer. I have concerns over their approach to upgrades \ support and general customer service and I wondered if anyone has had any similar issues?

    What I would like to do is to prepare for a gradual removal from RM and look to move to a standard Microsoft network using AD \ SCOM etc to do the same tasks as RM.

    One of the issues that has been raised is the packaging and integration of new workstations onto the network. Understandably I have very little knowledge of RM and how this works, but surely it must be possible to use a tool such as Ghost to image workstations for integration into the network? If so, has anyone had success in doing this and purchasing an off the shelf PC for integration? How have you approached this? The support staff here are reticent to do this and would prefer a packaged machine coming from RM (And until I understand this costs, a brief look on their website points to approximately 200 extra for this service).

    Also, on the peaceful removal of RM, has anyone had any issues \ feedback or general comments about how this can be managed?

    Many thanks all

    G

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    How have you approached this? The support staff here are reticent to do this and would prefer a packaged machine coming from RM (And until I understand this costs, a brief look on their website points to approximately 200 extra for this service).
    As a side note there's no need to buy hardware from RM for it to work on a CCx network, sounds like they've been brainwashed into thinking that.

    Also, on the peaceful removal of RM, has anyone had any issues \ feedback or general comments about how this can be managed?
    I think you'd have to start a fresh. The RM components cannot simply be removed from clients. You'd have to rebuild the clients as Windows 7 and attach them to a new server setup. At least, I think that is what would be tidiest and easiest.
    Last edited by Edu-IT; 14th May 2013 at 02:43 PM.

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    Thanks - pretty much my understanding. I understand from their way of thinking that this makes the process quicker and easier - however most large organisations will take your standard image and place this onto a workstation making installation quick and painless. It is more about integrating this into the actual CC4 network and having the RM layer added onto it. Would it be possible to have this on a Ghost type image?

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    My advice is this: DO NOT MOVE TO CC4. And don't buy client hardware form RM, it is poor quality and overpriced. Even if you can't afford the big brands, there are schools hardware specialists here on Edugeek who can do you a much better offer.

    CC4 was utterly bug-ridden when it was launched a few years back, and despite the improvements made since, there is a still enormous scope for it to go wrong. For every school RM can put you in touch with that thinks it is great, someone on these forums can put you in touch with another school that despises it. We have a school near us that is CC4, and every year their NM works on the RM stand and evangelises about how great it is. Meanwhile I know teachers at the same school who tell me that nearly 4 years after adoption it still takes 10+ minutes just to log on.

    We went from CC3 to a plain Windows system 3 years ago, an approach that was recommended even by the RM specialist support company who had been managing our CC3 network before I was appointed. We haven't looked back since. Rebuild the machines with a standard image. If you want you can even re-use the domain and existing user accounts so long as you set the new machines up in a new OU with inheritance disabled.

    As for imaging: if your network is big enough, consider SCCM. If it's a smaller school, you can get by with WDS and WSUS/Local Update Publisher for application installs. In the meantime, CC3 has a system called the RM Smart Client that allows you to join non-RM imaged machines to CC3. Be prepared for RM to utterly wash their hands of any problems with it, though.

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    supawat1's Avatar
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    You can just buy any PCs that you want and then add relevant drivers into Drivers section with RM Management console. I stop purchasing RM hardware and planning to move away from RM soon as the support cost is quite high.

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    HarryMonkey's Avatar
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    I am currently in a school that uses CC4 and so far, aprt from some music software, have yet to find anything that won't package. We have boot and logon times of around 5 minutes or so. We have a mix of hardware, RM, Dell, Viglen, Stone, Toshiba etc and all of it builds fine. I can't really fault them to be honest and I can't imagine their support costs to be much more than a third party company supporting a vanilla network, especially if the level of support you use/need is fairly low.

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    I spent days trying to get a package built for Office 2007 on RM CC3. Phoned up their support... "oh yes, you'll need to purchase our integration pack"... 360!!! for an installation pack!

    Also, had to buy the installation pack for all Adobe software as you couldn't do this yourself - grrrrr.

    If you want the full list of things you will have issues with, just look on their site for their 'blueprint' packages. These seem to be the things they admit you'll have trouble with. When I last looked there were about 250 blueprint packages.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crt404 View Post
    If you want the full list of things you will have issues with, just look on their site for their 'blueprint' packages. These seem to be the things they admit you'll have trouble with. When I last looked there were about 250 blueprint packages.
    Not true. Blueprints are designed to help you package up software to be allocated out from the RMMC. Used to be that they provided packages for certain software (like Flash and WMP) FOC but had to stop due to copyright issues. Nothing to do with having problems.
    Last edited by sparkeh; 14th May 2013 at 03:25 PM.

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    If you want to move from CC4 to vanilla it will be a fresh move. You could set up a member server (vanilla) and use that to image vanilla machiens for a gradual move but it would be messy and I'd hate to have to manage that system (i.e. some GPOs handling those, CC4 handling others and making sure they don't intertwine).
    Do a proper case/feasibility study noting all the involved costs and projected savings, what you'll achieve , how long it would take, how much training would be involved etc.

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    I have worked with both RM based schools and standard server schools and I would 100% recommend going standard and ditching RM. If you are OK using standard MS server systems then you will find the RM software actually complicates most processes. Just my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crt404 View Post
    I spent days trying to get a package built for Office 2007 on RM CC3. Phoned up their support... "oh yes, you'll need to purchase our integration pack"... 360!!! for an installation pack!

    Also, had to buy the installation pack for all Adobe software as you couldn't do this yourself - grrrrr.
    Despite what you were told there is no requirement to purchase an integration pack, this does have mean that you just pop a cd in and everything is done for you, but you can create your own package for an Office installation.

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    HarryMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Despite what you were told there is no requirement to purchase an integration pack, this does have mean that you just pop a cd in and everything is done for you, but you can create your own package for an Office installation.
    Indeed. I also know of schools that have packaged up the Adobe suite using the Adobe admin tools and not bought the RM pack.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Despite what you were told there is no requirement to purchase an integration pack, this does have mean that you just pop a cd in and everything is done for you, but you can create your own package for an Office installation.
    Agreed. We did it. Nothing to stop you doing it. Just takes a bit longer than importing their pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenewman View Post
    Indeed. I also know of schools that have packaged up the Adobe suite using the Adobe admin tools and not bought the RM pack.
    I did this very easily with Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS5, and both packages allocate seamlessly, which is just as well as MS updates will upset them completely at times requiring them to be deallocated and then reallocated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post
    I have worked with both RM based schools and standard server schools and I would 100% recommend going standard and ditching RM. If you are OK using standard MS server systems then you will find the RM software actually complicates most processes. Just my opinion.
    Totally agree... Makes me laugh tho when you see people bashing CC4 on these topics. Yes there support costs can be a little on the high side, and the system a little restrictive at times.

    Most people on here, have a understanding of Windows, WDS general Microsoft systems. RM has always been for a system for a school which didn't have a full time system admin, and didn't want to invest in one. It made it simple enough that the I.T teachers could do most of the day to day running, and then maybe once a term get a outside ATSS company in to give the system a once over to make sure nothing big was going wrong.

    I personally have been involved with RM since the launch of CC3, and I think out of the box and if your aware of the restrictions of the RM system then its an amazing system (apart from the after sales costs)

    its when you move away from what the Community Connect system is designed to do you start having issues, but to be honest when you get to this stage your onsite staff should have enough knowledge to be able to support a Windows System..

    Anyway I hear the fire alarm so i better go.. So I hope that above makes sense :-)

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