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General Chat Thread, Suddenly... Upgrades!! in General; Originally Posted by sparkeh Really? I have an entire x64 Win 7 site with no issues regarding the 64 bitiness ...
  1. #16

    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Really? I have an entire x64 Win 7 site with no issues regarding the 64 bitiness and drivers or anything else. What problems are you having?
    64bit XP saying a no no - Win 7 X64 is fine.

    Give us a bit more info on what you currently have and the requirements (no desktops size of school etc). We run 900 Fat Desktops (Stone Custom Builds) and with a 5 Year warranty they don't need replacing for 5 years and any fault through parts failure is covered.

    Last Summer I purchased Intel Core I3 (2nd gen), 4GB Ram, 64GB SSD from Stone on 5 year Warranty. I have only 700 of there desktops and the build quality is excellent and so is the support. If a part goes they come out and replace in on side normally NWD.
    Last edited by glennda; 27th February 2012 at 11:15 AM.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    We're looking at Ergo. Apparently our HT has used them before and likes them. [I'm not too sure... I don't really trust companies where everything is "quotes on request". I always think they just make it up.]

    We run various RM Ecoquiet desktops in every class, plus 8 spread between the library and 2 PPA rooms, 30 RM laptops [leased] for pupils [split into 15 KS1/15 KS2], 5 RM laptops for staff [leased] plus 18 RM All-in-one desktops for the IT suite. [Can you see a theme here?]

    The desktops are [IIRC] Intel core2, 2gb RAM, 60/80GB SATA HDD, integrated graphics. And pretty much made from laptop parts. [Source: Our LEA techs.] Also, they're all out of warranty now.

    One class has an outdated Dell Optiplex 755 with RAM upgraded to 4GB... and they DON'T want their old computer back as this one is a lot faster. [Or so they say.]


    I don't know what the eventual plan for IT is. Apart from get new stuff for new classes, expand it suite to 1:1 from 1:2.

    Our HT doesn't really have an idea either. I know because I asked him this morning.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    From what you have said they need to detail out where they need to be in 5 years time and aim towards that with the infrastructure they put in now.

    They also need to know that its no good buying the best desktop hardware possible in the back end switching infrastructure is not in place.

    personally money needs to be ready to replace switching/cabling before things like desktops get changed. There is no point spending thousands on awesome desktops if there is no back end infrastructure in place.

    Toby

  4. #19
    CAM
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    No long term plan should factor XP in at all. If you need to upgrade the workstations to Win 7 and your server infrastructure doesn't cut it, than that will need to be upgraded too. Otherwise you are going to have to upgrade the workstations again within a much shorter timeframe than you intended. See this as the perfect time to jig a few server upgrades in to the upgrade package as well.

    XP/2003 support for SIMS dies very soon and with that, I expect a large chunk of the education sector to follow suit in the jump to Windows 7 (don't go Vista, that is on it's death bed already).

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    I have used CC3 in the past and was quite happy with it but XP hasn’t got long left. If you are sticking with CC3 for now then you will need additional CC3 client licences which are quite expensive. If you are ditching CC3 either for Vanilla or CC4 then I would forget about XP altogether and go with W7 from the start.

    We are still using XP and I have not long purchased some refurbished PCs which came with 4GB of ram but we are still using 32bit XP. I don’t think you will notice much difference between a machine that shows 3GB and one with 4GB. If you are sticking with XP for 12 / 18 months then it might be easier to stick with 32bit unless you have already tested all of your drivers / software.

    RE: your PCs made with laptop parts – the hard drives in laptops are usually 5400rpm jobs and performance takes a big hit, have you thought about buying a few SSD’s and seeing if it gives them a second life?

    RE: beastly computers - custom built. Cutting edge always has a price premium attached. In most cases i7s are overkill and an i3 / i5 would be fine although I would give serious thought to ditching the hard drives and buying into ssd if I was ordering new PCs now.


    I also agree with the earlier post about having a plan in place and looking at upgrading the infrastructure but as long as its reasonable i.e. gig uplinks between switches and the servers on gig nics then I would sort the servers / workstations out first (assuming you do stick with fat clients).

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    XP support ends before the summer break 2013, so if you are going to ugprade to Win7, this summer is the time to do it.

    Regarding MonsterSpec machines... the reason I have a 5 year replacement strategy is not because the hardware is becoming outdated, because frankly, Core2Duo will run IE & Office perfectly fine on Win7 with 4Gb of RAM. The reason is that by five years, things just start breaking - hard drives wear out and PSUs get clogged with dust and burn and CPUs start getting rubbish at doing maths (I've seen it). So even if you buy MonsterSpec, you'll still want to replace them in 5 years because they'll be running slower from storage (unless you overprovision some SSDs by a good chunk) and heat issues and wobbly power, and you'll just have spent more money in the beginning for not much gain.

    I'm afraid IT isn't a problem fixed as one big splurge of money - it absolutely has to be, and is better being an ongoing investment. Replace 20% of your machines each year with that generation Core-i3 and a reasonable amount of RAM (at least 4Gb right now, if not 8Gb - cheap as chips and all that). Put these machines into your main IT teaching rooms, where they are most demanding, then cycle out the machines being replaced (that are only a year old) into other places.

    Sod CC3. Vanilla ain't hard and RM hardware is made from scrap. Get a new server or two, virtualise, migrate your domain to 2008R2 (which isn't hard, apart from stripping out the RMness - easiest way is to create a separate structure under a new OU and rebuild everything there) and install Win7 x64 everywhere regardless of RAM (mixing x86/x64 across your site will only confuse software deployment and shortcuts). Start a project to slowly replace your switching infrastructure if it needs it, rolling out from the core.

    Get PC hardware quotes from Stone & Novatech at least, and then presumably Ergo as your third. I've seen both and the quality of their builds is stonking, especially at the price. Get a 5 year warranty; ours with Novatech involves us having a handful of extra free machines on site so we can swap out broken machines, and get replacement parts sent for the repair. This is an excellent way of doing it because above all, it recognises the competency of your onsite team to diagnose and repair stuff, like what you are paid for.


    --

    Alternatively, do it with thin clients, which I know little of (although I'd warrant there are VDI geniuses lurking round these halls). You can't do it with a VLE, that's an awful approach to be blunt - you will still need full fat clients to boot into a full fat OS, so none of the benefits of proper thin clients, but everything will need to be shoe-horned through a VLE which is not a competent replacement for actual software. They're great for some things, but making everyone do everything through it will result in a Teacher's Mutiny. Doing something on a VLE is slower and more awkward than using proper software because it is going through a browser interface. They're a great tool, I'd thoroughly recommend every school have one, but they cannot (and shouldn't) replace a network entirely.


    --

    I fear all this will come in at some cost, but your management have to understand that doing it right will reap the benefits tenfold in future. Scrimping now will just mean spending more later to put it right and confidence in IT being undermined further, with the result that when it finally works, there's no-one left to care.


    My tuppence anyway. Prbably more like £7's worth going on my hourly rate and the time it took to write, but I couldn't resist.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    If you moved everything to the cloud and used a vle take a look at chromebooks then.

    Or a normal netbook running JoliOS instead.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    XP support ends before the summer break 2013, so if you are going to ugprade to Win7, this summer is the time to do it.
    Microsoft don't end extended support until April 2014:
    Microsoft Support Lifecycle

    So Summer 2013 is the last big hol you get to migrate, leaving an upgrade until summer 2014 would leave your network unsupported for 3 months so would be best avoided...

  9. Thanks to ToyHeartsFan from:

    sonofsanta (27th February 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToyHeartsFan View Post
    Microsoft don't end extended support until April 2014:
    Microsoft Support Lifecycle

    So Summer 2013 is the last big hol you get to migrate, leaving an upgrade until summer 2014 would leave your network unsupported for 3 months so would be best avoided...
    I knew it was an April so as a school you needed to be a few months ahead of the curve... and I knew that it was [citation needed] but I'm feeling idle today, so tah for that

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    At the moment we have CC3. So we're stuck with XP and a 2003 server.

    Win7+2008r2 is only for/supported on CC4. Which would be ANOTHER thing we'd have to pay out for.

    And with the way things are going, we may not stick with an RM network.
    You are going to have to come up with a plan quick - even RM have started talking about the end of CC3.

    TBH the view of many schools on here is to go vanillia (having said that there are a number of people on here with happy CC$ sorry CC4 networks...).

    Either way plan for Windows 7!

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    X-13's Avatar
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    So... many... suggestions...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    I'm afraid IT isn't a problem fixed as one big splurge of money - it absolutely has to be, and is better being an ongoing investment. Replace 20% of your machines each year with that generation Core-i3 and a reasonable amount of RAM (at least 4Gb right now, if not 8Gb - cheap as chips and all that). Put these machines into your main IT teaching rooms, where they are most demanding, then cycle out the machines being replaced (that are only a year old) into other places.
    Thankyou, the all at once model ends up with all the computers being rubbish after 3 years then having to deal with them for another two. Rolling upgrades are where its at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Thankyou, the all at once model ends up with all the computers being rubbish after 3 years then having to deal with them for another two. Rolling upgrades are where its at.
    Yup - I'd totally agree with this. We have super overspecced amazing PCs (ask anyone thats been to visit - they're better specced than lots of peoples servers), but because of being a new build we had to buy everything now. Our replacement plans are...complicated. Currently we may try starting early replacements in year 4 and eeking others out to year 6/7 depending on how they wear. By that point we should be doing 20-30% replacements a year and be at a point where we have a manageable number of everything being replaced.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulfish View Post
    We have super overspecced amazing PCs (ask anyone thats been to visit - they're better specced than lots of peoples servers),
    Xeons for Desktops! Enough said lol

  16. #30

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    We were in a similar position. Sat down and discussed where we thought we should be, what technologies we thought we should be looking at and then worked out how to go there. We then broke it down in to sections that if money suddenly dried up we wouldn't be left in the lurch or could shrink the plan to core parts.
    - We are going vanilla with a Virtual backend and full rebuild of the network (S2008R2 & W7) this year and funding for that was fully secured
    - Next year we aim to get our infrastructure, tested, overhauled upgraded and re-layed where needed. If money dries up we will focus on core switch replacement and tidy up some of the 'rough' areas of the network.
    - Next is thin client and full WiFi for BYOD provision and station replacements. If money dries up we will see what we can do with thin client prices or drop all together. Possible key WiFi provision

    I would suggest getting a big picture so at least you know where you are aiming, even if you can't get there yet.

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