Ok - clearly you can't devise an explicit plan as you (and probably the school, at this stage) have no idea of the actual ICT vision?
You’re in a really enviable position – most of us would love to be able to start from scratch and get things perfect.
There are several things the school will need whatever the vision ends up being.
1) Master Dedicated server room, securely built, brick walls, no windows, secure door access, preferably with all network cabling cabling coming back to here as cat6, rack cabs installed and ready, multiphase power delivered via a 32amp 240v plug per phase into separate PDU and separate UPS’s per phase, and redundant air con installed.
2) Backup server room, preferably in another building, one rack cab, one air con single phase 240v. Again preferably brick walls no windows and secure door access.
3) Reliable network infrastructure (Cisco or HP depending on your preference) preferably with redundant switches and links where possible 10 gig to servers and ti inter switch/inter building links, and 1 gig to desktop
4) Reliable server and storage infrastructure loaded with your preferred virtualisation software (Dell & Vmware with VSan using local storage for me, no SAN needed)
5) Reliable backup infrastructure e.g. Dell Server loaded with 4tb drives for use with Veeam Software, a separate NAS device (Synology for me) for mirroring/archiving backups.
6) Use physical cat6e drops and PCs wherever possible. IMHO Wireless/laptops should only be used where neccassary, Dedicated staff PC in every classroom cabled in with Cat6e and IT Suites for departments that need computing en mass is the way to go, Wireless and laptops/tablets just have far higher installation, maintenance and total cost of ownership).
7) Strong wireless system. Cisco here. Make sure the entire site is covered, should the school decide to purchase 35 laptops for a room – the wireless should cope with that.
8) Documentation and labelling. Every single cable, device etc documented labelled in inventoried. Makes future life so much easier.
9) Software to audit PC and internet use. Much easier for the school to safeguard pupils and manage their IT requirements in the future if they know who’s doing what, what’s being used, where, and can prove it.
If you get the above right, then the school will be in a position to use any number of different types of devices in any way they see fit in order to comply with their ICT Vision.
Wireless needs to be a first class citizen. With coverage to support VOIP over Wifi across the entire building, and guarantee 5MBit/sec to 30 2x2 devices per classroom. Every space should be covered by at least one 2.4Ghz 20Mhz Channel and one 5Ghz 40Mhz Channel
Support captive portal for guests and student owned devices. RADIUS for everything else.
Any school wireless devices MUST be ac and at least 2x2:2 otherwise you will find wireless performance crippled.
1 GbE to desktop. Lots of Gigabit PoE for phones, Wireless APs, door access control and possible CCTV.
Classrooms should have 4 Sockets at the teaching position, two at high level for projector and streaming device and 2 for wireless.
It is prudent for AP locations to have two sockets as the top end WAPs generally require a lot of power.
PC Suites should be U shaped with standard class desks in the middle. (assuming PC Suites are wanted), and have 36 sockets available round the room plus the standard classroom provision.
All non-student desk positions should have 3 network sockets and 2.5 double-gang power sockets.
Each Cab should have at least 2x PoE switches. For general classrooms it is safe to assume that initially only 50% of sockets will be populates. Similary for Admin offices. IT Suites are likely to be fully populated. An estimate of 1 live switch port per member of the school is about right.
10GbE OM3 Fiber from every cab back to the core (ideally 2 x 10GBe with load balancing)
Core network should be configured for IPv6 and v4. Windows infrastructure should be similarly configured. Printers etc should have any services not being used switched off, and their IPv6 interfaces correctly configured.
Consider not having departmental printers and instead have strategically place Riso with PaperCut.
All kit should come with 5 year warranties. Networking Kit preferably lifetime.
Make sure you can get support for any technology from multiple sources, in case the relationship with the initial provider breaks down. Always take the manufacture's support contract with software/firmware updates - stuff NEVER works right and you want to be able to fix it as quickly as possible.
Projector or fancy TV? - To get decent image size and resolution Display panels are very expensive, consider TCO of a Display Screen vs a high end interactive (or not) projector with a 5 year warranty (or two).
Office 365 seems a pretty simple call, unless you really want to go down the Google route - this is very much where understanding the Head's Vision for the school and the expectations on the service matter. (the rest of the above is the same no matter what the vision is)
Build a year 2-10 budget for maintaining a steady-state service (i.e. be able to replace kit as it fails, planned replacement of IWB/Projectors/Printers/End User devices etc, and ensure firmware/ OS updates, AND keeping your skills and those of your team relevant)
Random question with VOIP - do people generally VLAN the phones?
visioN (4th June 2014)
Also ensure that your involved in ensuring you have network comms rooms in sensible locations. In the school I worked in we had comms room for every half floor (building was 4 stories) which air con, UPS, raised flooring (wonderful stuff) and 2 42U racks. The main server room was connected to the IT technician/workroom office and had space for 8 racks + redundant professional server room AC + 3-phase 40kva UPS. It's useful to have multiple fibre routes from each comms cabinet location back to the central server room - we had 32 cores between each comms room and the main server room split over two separate routes through the building. It's also useful to have at least 5 Cat6 cables run from each comms room (in a separate patch panel) back to the main server room - it's surprising how useful they are for routing things that aren't IP based.
I'd also say that while VDI/Thin Clients are good don't base everything around them - it's good to have a mix of physical and virtual .
Any questions just ask - I've still got all the plans and documentation around here somewhere
Just wanted to say a really big thank you to you all, for the feedback and suggestions.
Yes, it's an exciting position to be in. We're looking to build the school ourselves e.g. The Academy Trust pending government approval.
As you suggested I do need the vision of the non-existent SLT but at least I can make a start on a writeup.
Please keep your suggestions coming in!!!
We've also just had a discussion about whole-building UPS systems, which might be worth looking at if yu're building a new school. Instead of just a stand-alone UPS for the servers, have a battery or generator-backed circuit that powers strategic places around the school (servers, switch cabinets, admin PCs, wireless access points, phone system) in case of a poer outage. Seemingly there are large battery systems available, or you could go for a generator.
One problem is with a new build all you end user kit will need to be replaced at one time. Also you to ask what can we afford to run you could build the mega stuff and it get left to be run down and not replaced.
Might be worth coming up with a Bronze, Silver and Gold option in your plan.
Last edited by nicholab; 7th July 2014 at 10:56 AM.
Two words: Operating lease.
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