Cash (or lack of it)
As a noob to edugeek, hi in general but I'd like to tap people for assistance, via PM if necessary.
I've been working in a school with 800 pupils for 8 years. Our budget has to provide and maintain 450 PCs/Laptops/netbooks while also providing laptops for around 50 staff, printers, toner, Windows, Office and AV licences, all infrastructure and effectively anything that's digital or can be connected to a network bar photocopiers which are contracted. To carry out this task we have averaged the grand sum of £30,000 a year (really, there are no noughts missing) with the highest year being £40,000 and the lowest £20,000.
Now having been predicting that sooner of later things will go tits up for about 3 years, they finally have and I'm looking at gathering opinions on how much is reasonable to run a network this size. If anyone would like to share info which, if PM'd will not be put on-line anywhere I'd be very grateful.
It would be accurate for us to say "ditto" on the higher end of that figure with 1200-1400 pupils, 600 machines, 30 odd printers, toners, consumables, software etc etc etc.
We manage reasonably well and are bang up to date. We make good use of virtualisation, thick, well specced clients, lots of open source goodies to supplement the main system and still have some left over for goodies like Impero. Forward planning is very important to us as are the running costs of our printers.
One bonus is that we do not supply staff laptops, as and when existing laptops fail (from the laptops for teachers scheme) they are not replaced.
It's quite easy to work out what your annual running costs would be, please excuse me if I pitch this a bit low...
Work out a lifecycle for all your kit - how long do you expect to want to keep each equipment type? e.g:
Laptops - 3 years
Desktops - 4 years
Projectors - 5 years
Servers - 3 years
SAN/NAS - 3 years
Network - 5 years+
Then do some relatively simple maths...
So... if you buy your laptops at £500 each and have 200 of them and want to replace them every three years your annual cost for laptops would be (£500x200)/3 = £33,333.33 per annum.
Do the same for all of the other items.
That's your basic annual spend on hardware.
Then you need to add in all of your annual running costs - software, support contracts, consumables, leased lines etc.
Then you might want to add in a percentage for developmental stuff, R&D maybe?
The end figure you come up with will probably be fairly substantial... so it'll be necessary to phase it in, and may be sensible to look at leasing deals for obtaining new hardware as you can spread the cost.
Hope this helps.
No worries, most of our stock PC and server kit is refurb and I think only one of our servers is less than 3 years old. Not long ago we applied for a capital grant to fibre the school but lost out by 0.2 of a point. For 6 years we ran a Samba 3 network with XP which had uptimes of 99.7+ % but upgrading to something that'd support Win7+ with a total budget of zero was the straw that broke the camel's back. At the moment I'm questioning the point of continuing.
It all depends on what priorities the school has on its finances.
My previous school my budget fluctuated from £90,000 through to one year spending over £300,000 (this had a new build 100k in it). We had 950 machines (19 IT Suites), with every classroom having IWB's. Radio Station, Music Suite. when I started my budget was 90k which had been dropped for 140k with loosing specialist school funding.
If they school really wanted too they could have cut the budget and we could have coped but I put in a very big transformation of the IT systems when I worked there. Nothing apart from fibre runs, mice and keyboards where original from the day I started to the day i left. We replaced everything as they previous team had essentially wasted a lot of money on a system that didn't function.
Thanks for that, these are all very helpful. As an aside, another quick straw poll that would be helpful is topography, i.e are people fibred up, e.g. fibre from core to distribution and copper to desktop or are people still mainly copper from core to end user?
The only fibres we have here are 2 1GB links to outbuildings that are >100m from out core switching.
We can help you stretch your budget far further than you imagined with regards to desktops, laptops and server hardware.
We help a number of Edugeekers maximise their small IT budgets.
Drop me a PM if you fancy a chat to see how we can help you out? :)
The School i worked for had 22 patch cuboards with all but 3 too far away for Copper. But to keep things easy everything was Fibre.
Originally Posted by Vlad_the_Emailer
Just to contrast, my budget has been capped at £5k in previous years, £10k others - that's for everything but sometimes more would be provided to replace an IT suite. While it was tight, this was manageable. Even now, my budget is below your minimum (this is a medium sized school, 1000 users and 750+ devices). That's the more common situation in Wales, money is much tighter here.
We were fine until the upgrade was forced by the EOL of SIMS XP support and XP itself. Up until then we had 7 second log ins and it worked fine. Annoying :|
Is that £30k per year excluding separate fixed costs (internet etc.) or £30k per year that has to pay for everything including the yearly licenses, leased line etc costs?
The Internet connection is the only thing that isn't included. Website, VLE etc, are all hosted in-house as they come from our budget (Moodle, Joomla freebies etc.). Everything apart from that is considered ours.
I get about £45k that has to include all licences (including SIMS) but not the internet connection. I have 560 students and 300pc's.
Replaced my entire network and 90% of computers in the last 18 months and all the funding for that was extra on top of my budget, servers & san are on a lease though. Old network was 6-8 years old and some of the computers i replaced this summer were 9 years old!!
Don't buy hardware, lease it. Doesn't matter where you source the kit from, but there's no benefit to an organisation in owning assets that depreciate. Historically, schools haven't had to worry about depreciation, but academies are covered by different accounting rules, and the way DfE is pushing everyone, that's where things are going.
Playing with numbers, if you need to replace £30k's worth of hardware you can either spend £30k of your capital budget today or £10k a year over the next three years. Three years down the line it's replaced with new stuff.
Benefits to Network/System Managers? You don't need to spend your time firefighting, stuff works, teachers are happy, SMT get kudos for good ICT and smile at you, you don't have to fight for budget and you can on with making things better.
You do, of course, need to make sure the lease is the right type - Operating, not Finance - and from an approved provider.