Even if you just write it out yourself and present it to them on a side of A4, it's something.
I agree with sonofsanta, do it yourself if needs be. You will know fairly well what has been asked for, where the school is lacking compared to discussions on here and what you think a network should have. So write it up and take it to them. Show the benefits and possibilities of things they won't understand (VM, Thin client BYOD etc) don't worry about costings yet just have a roadmap. Have a meeting and they will have an idea of what is possible and whether that then fits in with the little idea they have. You then have a compass for the next 3-5 years & if you make it robust with contingencies (the must, should, could style list) then you will be able to arrive even if it you arrive a little leaner and streamlined then you first planned for!
Year One: get rid of cruddy old hardware, purge school of CRT monitors and beige workstations
Year Two: upgrade servers to Win2k8
Year Three: Win7
and details were filled in afterwards (such as using virtualisation for the servers). It doesn't have to be in depth, and SLT won't read anything greater than a page anyway. Just something more useful than "Year One: Make IT Good. Year Two: Make IT Gooder. Year Three: ? Year 4: Profit"
“1)Get rid of RM.
2)Get rid of RM.”
I sense a theme here… lol
I can’t really comment on CC4 because I have never used it but CC3 worked well when I was supporting it at one school. I think CC4 had bugs and caused problems when they first rolled it out but it’s been around some time now and should be pretty stable. The client licenses are indeed quite expensive but everyone forgets that if they ditch it they then need to go out and buy separate programs for printer accounting, user management, netschool / netop (what ever teacher monitoring / control program is the current flavour of the month) etc…
It sounds like you are a one man band so replacing the network in house although not impossible could be very taxing. In your situation I would get a number of the major suppliers in and tell them you want a new solution with W7, 2008R2 servers etc… and see what they can offer you. I’m in a similar boat as we are still XP (Vanilla) but as of yet I have no idea what next years ICT funding is going to be and we don’t have the licences in place to upgrade yet.
If you are doing it in one go i.e. workstations, servers, software upgrade then you will probably need multiple quotes because of the cost. Yes you can go Vanilla but don’t rule out RM just yet give them a chance to quote with the others.
I only support one school now because it got to the point were there wasn’t enough hours in the day, one was cc3 the other vanilla both had around 700 pupils on role. The networks were like chalk and cheese i.e. local install and next to no security on the vanilla and RMs package creator and everything pretty much locked down on the RM network by default. I’ve locked the vanilla network down, setup wsus etc, etc… but don’t expect it to all happen over night vanilla networks are a lot of work but work well once you have got them setup.
The thing is, it was pretty much forced on the school by our LEA. No CCx = no support. Even though we pay for their tech support.
I've been looking at prices, for new desktops [I think we can skip the network upgrade. It was done recently.] and I now have a plan of sorts.
Linux for schools on the server[s], I'm kind of a linux-n00b, but from the looks of it, it's easy to use. I may give the demo a go to verify.
For classrooms, and this is the sneaky part, the linux client with a Windows 7 theme.
The main problem I found when I ran a linux test here, is that people don't know what their doing on it because it looks different.
Win7 theme should provide enough familiarity that they'll just get on with it, but without the licencing cost.
Anyone use Linux for schools here, that can give advice/suggestions? For instance... will the theme work?
EEEEK - you want to replace a managed cc3 network with linux when you are a linux noob
I would stick with your cc3 network until RM kill it off...
How much of the schools software will run on linux what about the schools mis solution? or are you = me
Your LEA was a bit out of line forcing cc3 on you but I do understand their point a single system is a lot easier to support.
"It's just the cost... So damn expensive" - What cost? The client licences? The cost of their hardware? The cost of RM support?
The client licences are expensive because they include things like printer management software. You can buy hardware from any supplier you want it doesnt have to be RM. You can drop all RM support except the updates because you are already paying your LEA for support.
Have your LEA said what their plans are for upgrading from cc3 to cc4 if its their recommended solution?
When your linux network breaks and your school cant call the LEA tech and your at home in bed with the flu who is going to fix it for them?
I've been going through what's installed and comparing it to what's actually used... and all anyone really uses is MS office. And there's a built in alternative.
MIS is web-based. Integris G2. [More RM!] It should be fine on linux/GNU systems if they have internet access and a web browser. Providing we stay with it, if we don't I'll find a Linux solution.
Other software either has alternatives or is available for Linux.
Linux for schools also contains the following on the site "No need for in depth knowledge of Linux server administration." so my lack of experience with Linux shouldn't be a problem.
As for who looks after things if I'm not around... it'd be the same person who does it now. The invisible man.
If I'm not there, it gets logged with the LEA support, but that takes a while to sort. By which time I've usually returned and sorted it myself. Seeing as I'm on here, and our HT respects your opinions, I can see him [or our IT-co-ord] signing up and posting questions.
Whack it in *nix and Robert is your father's brother.
No no no no no no no no no no! X, Take that idea outside right now and shoot it. Even if you don't need Linux server administration experience, desktops are equally as hard to administer for a rookie! If you don't know what you are doing, don't go for Linux! Take this from someone who has been through Linux modules in a degree and had a play with it both at home and work!
It doesn't matter how much software looks on the screen, it is still vastly different underneath and Windows-based software may not run reliably if at all. You will spend ages doing compatability testing, fixing things that aren't working as expected, sorting hardware glitches and trying to source drivers with often confusing information and streams of commands in Terminal. An experiment in a lab is one thing (and by all means try that with your defunct kit!), but a whole live business network? Employment suicide.
Our LEA support can only offer so much help aswell.
Our Library software broke. They faffed around and fixed it, it broke again. They faffed, it worked... it broke.
I got onto them and was told "We don't support this software. It was just a good will gesture."
So, they come onto our network. Messed about with settings and permissions [no-one knows what they actually did... even the people who supposedly did it.]. And now all we get is a "too bad."
We had to chase up the manufacturers of the software, after trying half a dozen different things, only to be told to install it DIFFERENTLY than how our LEA did. [So they did it wrong?] That sorted everything.
See also; all the problems we've had with drivers. Which I've had to sort. On my own.
Seriously. When things go wrong now, we're boned. *nix, OSX, Windows... it doesn't matter. If it dies, I have to sort it.
Nah, but in all seriousness... the *nix thing is where I WANT to end up with this network. Vanilla is what I'm suggesting. [I mentioned *nix with Win7 skins and our HT actually liked it...]
Last edited by X-13; 28th February 2012 at 02:46 PM.
Make sure you consider the whole network Workstations, Wireless, Switches, Servers, Primary storage, Backup and internet connection for any cost calculations. It would be worth doing a back of the fag packet calculating for replacing what you go and also for adding new stuff and give a yearly cost. I think HT can forget the basic a network were you can log on and no time is wasted is as good as shiny toys. Put some picture in HT/SMT love pictures.
Last edited by nicholab; 28th February 2012 at 02:56 PM.
No matter how much it looks like Windows it does not behave like it and making it look the same will probably cause you more greif as people will try Windows things and weird things will happen which is worse than a different interface that behaves differently.
Given drivers and the epic levels of support that OSS gets you will definatly be busy being told to read the manual, submitting fault reports into various digital black holes and learning how to code to actually fix it yourself and write the missing drivers. Cynical, yes, but all my experiences with linux have ended this way.
If you know all your hardware is supported and you have a very training freindly budget and schedule for staff it may be doable but unless you are already a kernal dev for linux go for a vanilla network. Its been done and so people actually know about it, there are resources/people/companies everywhere that can help as opposed to a few difficult to get a hold of people.
Using linux schoolwide is like building the school out of log cabins from newly felled trees instead of dropping a bunch of fully apointed prefabs in. You can do it but it is going to be some heavy work as comparitivly you will be very alone.
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