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Hardware Thread, ICT infrastructure progression in Technical; Thanks Domino Visiting schools would be a good idea. Filtering is managed by LGFL so I don't have to worry ...
  1. #16

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    Thanks Domino

    Visiting schools would be a good idea. Filtering is managed by LGFL so I don't have to worry about that but in terms of hardware I would better start off with replacing network switches and wireless.

    Thanks

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    Hi Sparker,

    This really is a great help. We are a primary School having client size of approximately 100. I have few questions related to ICT hardware infrastructure and I'd appreciate if you advise me on them:

    1- We have a single Dell PowerEdge T605 Server in the School. It has 4 GB memory and 500GB hdd with raid1 Array. I am looking forward to replace our server as this is running slow and short in capacity. Do you have any preference for the Servers?

    2- All new updated Schools have ICT suite or you use netbooks in classrooms rather than having a separate ICT suite? If you have ICT suite then how many computers do you have in your ICT suite? We have 30 DELL Optiplex 330 computers in our ICT suite with all XP pro. I will be looking forward to replace these desktop by the mid or end of this year.

    3- We have Samsung netbooks for year 5(25 netbooks) and year 6 (25 netbooks) pupils' in classrooms. Though year 5 pupils are using old XP netbooks so we may think of upgrading them. Do you guys use netbooks in your schools or ipads? And if netbooks, which netbooks do you prefer to get for pupils to use in classrooms, netbooks for upper school.

    4- Our broadband and firewall is managed by LGFL so we won't be replacing them. But I will replace network switches in the School and would like to know which network switches are best for Schools? I am using Cisco and Netgear at the moment. I am using DrayTek Wireless access points for wireless connectivity of laptops and netbooks in School. I have installed one wireless access point for 10 netbooks (approx).

    5- What is the recommended replacement life of UPS? Our APC ups is almost 1 and half year old but still working fine and give 100 results while self testing.

    6- What's the best option of desktop computers for classrooms for teaching? I would definitely go for Windows 7 64-bit pro but I am little newbie when it comes to brand. Which brand and category you suggest for client machines in a network?

    7- Which School is well known for best ICT infrastructure in Southwark council, do you have any idea?

    I want you geeks to please advise me on these questions so I'd better equipped and prepare myself for best hardware and suitable learning for School.

    I appreciate your time and support.

    Best Regards,

    Umair
    Last edited by umairadmin; 5th February 2013 at 04:15 PM.

  3. #18

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    1) A quad core Opteron and 4Gb shouldn't be running slow for 100 clients. I'd look at upgrading the hard drives rather than throwing out the whole server, personally.

    2) Netbooks/Laptops vs ICT suite is a question for the headteacher and their vision for the school. How do they want to teach their classes? Most primaries we support prefer laptops because they can move to the children rather than the other way round. As for how many in a suite/trolley? What's your average class size?

    3) Again 3 is a question for your headteacher and their vision for teaching and learning. I'm promoting iPad's as I see a real benefit for them but it has to fit in with the schools ethos. At the moment (we are a high school) we don't use either and just have suites of computers. As I say, most primaries I support prefer laptops. The largest as a mixture of all three and is actively moving more towards iPads.

    4) Switches? I don't know. We use all HP managed here. We run 10/100 to the desktop. They've been in for years and we've almost forgotten about them. Wireless is another school ethos question. If you going big time down the netbook/iPad route then you'd be much better served looking at a fully managed system than trying to maintain a 10:1 cheap AP ratio.

    Best advice is to get a company like net crtl who specialise in this sort of thing to do a site survey.

    6) Who every offers the best price for the spec you're after? I'm looking at Novatech, Stone, Dell, maybe Viglen or VeryPC next time out. Spec + Price + Support.

  4. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    umairadmin (6th February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    1) A quad core Opteron and 4Gb shouldn't be running slow for 100 clients. I'd look at upgrading the hard drives rather than throwing out the whole server, personally.

    2) Netbooks/Laptops vs ICT suite is a question for the headteacher and their vision for the school. How do they want to teach their classes? Most primaries we support prefer laptops because they can move to the children rather than the other way round. As for how many in a suite/trolley? What's your average class size?

    3) Again 3 is a question for your headteacher and their vision for teaching and learning. I'm promoting iPad's as I see a real benefit for them but it has to fit in with the schools ethos. At the moment (we are a high school) we don't use either and just have suites of computers. As I say, most primaries I support prefer laptops. The largest as a mixture of all three and is actively moving more towards iPads.

    4) Switches? I don't know. We use all HP managed here. We run 10/100 to the desktop. They've been in for years and we've almost forgotten about them. Wireless is another school ethos question. If you going big time down the netbook/iPad route then you'd be much better served looking at a fully managed system than trying to maintain a 10:1 cheap AP ratio.

    Best advice is to get a company like net crtl who specialise in this sort of thing to do a site survey.

    6) Who every offers the best price for the spec you're after? I'm looking at Novatech, Stone, Dell, maybe Viglen or VeryPC next time out. Spec + Price + Support.
    Thank you tmcd35 for your kind words. Actually Quad core Server is now almost more than 4.5 years old. It takes a good time to reboot like 15 to 20 mins. But I can also consider option of hdd replacement. I will get back to you once I get some more suggestions. Thank you so much for your reply though.

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    1) I bought my servers from Fujitsu Siemens and they have been great but any decent brand would do. I would recomend using virtyualised servers possibly using hyper-V although I use VM ware. This will allow you to run a different server for different applications such as one for exchange, another as a file server and another for your MIS. This means maintenance will not impact the entire network - just the service you need to work on. There is a lot more to VMs than that and it may seem like overkill for a small network but it makes the admins life a lot easier and allows for better uptime for the school fo r little aditional cost. Ideally you want at least two servers to load balance/failover but you could keep your existing server as a second Host but would need some more RAM. Many here can advise further especially with Hyper -V. A reinstall and more RAM will certainly speed it up as will RAID 10 maybe with a few more disks. Disks are so cheap now less than £100 for 3Tb!
    2,3) We have at least 4 classroom pc's plus a IWB/teacher machine in each room . We also have two ICT suites with 24 PC ( low power Asus EeePCs which have been great). The suites are in regular use especially in the infants but the classroom machines are used everyday for most of the day. We also have a trolley of netbooks (Samsung N120) which are good but seldom used. Our site is large and the books are not well looked after so teachers can't be bothered with them. If we had more or they were better managed then perhaps they would be more succesful. I think you will struggle to find netbooks now so you will need either ultrabooks, cheap laptops ( large), or slates.
    IMHO slates will be too expensive (Ipad seems to have a 2 yr lifecycle which is intolerable for a £400 investment) Nexus et al are great but you need a mobile device management system to get them onto the network safely and you have to balance life spand vs price so I reckon 2 yr lifespan vs half cost of PC ( once you have bought MDM solution and apps) or Lenovo W8 slate which is again £400 but aleast will go onto a Windows domain.

    2) I would keep the dells and maybe get new monitors ( 22" for £60) makem look good. They are dual cores I think so will run W7 64 so perhaps add some more ram. If all else fails set them upo with Multipoint server as thin clients. Or give them to me!
    4) I got a good deal on D-Link switches and they are fine but most people go for HP as they are not much more and very reliable. Go for managed even if you don't use the features yet. If your wiring is OK ( cat 5e ) you should be able to get 1GbE over the existing copper.

  7. Thanks to sparker from:

    umairadmin (6th February 2013)

  8. #21

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    1) I bought my servers from Fujitsu Siemens and they have been great but any decent brand would do. I would recomend using virtyualised servers possibly using hyper-V although I use VM ware. This will allow you to run a different server for different applications such as one for exchange, another as a file server and another for your MIS. This means maintenance will not impact the entire network - just the service you need to work on. There is a lot more to VMs than that and it may seem like overkill for a small network but it makes the admins life a lot easier and allows for better uptime for the school fo r little aditional cost. Ideally you want at least two servers to load balance/failover but you could keep your existing server as a second Host but would need some more RAM. Many here can advise further especially with Hyper -V. A reinstall and more RAM will certainly speed it up as will RAID 10 maybe with a few more disks. Disks are so cheap now less than £100 for 3Tb!
    2,3) We have at least 4 classroom pc's plus a IWB/teacher machine in each room . We also have two ICT suites with 24 PC ( low power Asus EeePCs which have been great). The suites are in regular use especially in the infants but the classroom machines are used everyday for most of the day. We also have a trolley of netbooks (Samsung N120) which are good but seldom used. Our site is large and the books are not well looked after so teachers can't be bothered with them. If we had more or they were better managed then perhaps they would be more succesful. I think you will struggle to find netbooks now so you will need either ultrabooks, cheap laptops ( large), or slates.
    IMHO slates will be too expensive (Ipad seems to have a 2 yr lifecycle which is intolerable for a £400 investment) Nexus et al are great but you need a mobile device management system to get them onto the network safely and you have to balance life spand vs price so I reckon 2 yr lifespan vs half cost of PC ( once you have bought MDM solution and apps) or Lenovo W8 slate which is again £400 but aleast will go onto a Windows domain.

    2) I would keep the dells and maybe get new monitors ( 22" for £60) makem look good. They are dual cores I think so will run W7 64 so perhaps add some more ram. If all else fails set them upo with Multipoint server as thin clients. Or give them to me!
    4) I got a good deal on D-Link switches and they are fine but most people go for HP as they are not much more and very reliable. Go for managed even if you don't use the features yet. If your wiring is OK ( cat 5e ) you should be able to get 1GbE over the existing copper.

  9. Thanks to sparker from:

    umairadmin (6th February 2013)

  10. #22

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    I think you would do better visiting some school and having a chat perhaps with your ICT co-ordinator. It can be very daunting to make so much investment so enlist the users for help - look at what others have done and cherry pick.
    I am just outside of Reading and we have many visitors so you would be welcome but I am sure that others here would also be happy to show you their empires!

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    Hi Sparker,

    That's really helpful. I'd speak to our ICT coordinator and will visit some Schools. I would let you know if I need to visit you as well. I think I have now got a better picture of what I need and what I don't. I will present my ideas to heads and will see what they suggest.

    I may need your advice again. Many thanks everyone for supporting and replying.

    Kind Regards,

    Umair

  12. #24

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    Cool , good luck with it and dont forget we are all here if you need a sanity check before you splash the cash!

  13. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by umairadmin View Post
    We have a single Dell PowerEdge T605 Server in the School. It has 4 GB memory and 500GB hdd with raid1 Array. I am looking forward to replace our server as this is running slow and short in capacity.
    If you're upgrading servers, virtual machines are the way to go. Your existing server itself should be fine, but fill it with as much RAM as it will hold (32GB?). For a smaller primary school, 500GB of disk space would probably be okay to run a domain controller, print server, general application server and management information system (SIMS or similar) server. You used to be able to run 4 Server 2008 instances with an Enterprise license, I'm not quite sure what Server 2012 does. You could, of course, run a Samba domain controller (my home system seems to be working very well so far, but I haven't tried it on a large install) and skip having to pay for one Windows server license or any device CALs (you'll still have to pay for Windows workstation licenses, obviously).

    You'll need a separate NAS device of some kind for user files - I find FreeNAS works very well, although you might prefer a pre-built Windows-based or other NAS. You'll probably also want your own hardware firewall / Internet gateway device, although if your filtering is provided by your LEA then nothing too fancy is needed.

    I'd guess you'd need enough PCs in an IT suite to cover the largest class size you have. In my experience, having a "mobile" trolly of laptops doesn't work well as there's too much messing around getting it to and from different classrooms. A laptop trolly for a particular class might work, though. I'd go for all-in-one PCs over laptops as tradditional dekstop replacements - we're finding our laptops tend to loose keys rather easily, which are a bit of a bother to replace.

    For your networking infrastructure, I'd go for a proper managed wireless system - Ruckus and Meraki are popular choices on here. Meraki might well be able to provide you with a full switch-and-wireless deal, too.

    What is the recommended replacement life of UPS?
    If it's passing self-tests okay then that's fine. Ours lasted under 2 years, but that's because it's in a server cupboard withour proper air conditioning.

    What's the best option of desktop computers for classrooms for teaching?
    I like VeryPC's all-in-one FlexPC - basically a slim desktop PC with a snazzy bracket to hold a VESA-mount monitor. Works well, and good value. Several other companies do similar devices - Stone do an all-in-one chasis that you can add your own components to.

  14. 2 Thanks to dhicks:

    umairadmin (6th February 2013), VeryPC_Tom_B (6th February 2013)

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    Hi dhicks,

    Thank you for your valuable comments. If speak about replacing server, existing server has Windows Server 2008 32-bit OS and it can only go up to 4Ghz only. And server hasn't got any much capacity left as teachers are saving videos, pictures and all other stuff. There are no more bays left in the server it came with only 4 hard drive bays so I would have to increase the capacity by replacing existing hard drives. So if I go for enhancing capacity on the same server I would have to upgrade everything as in OS, RAM and hard drive. And also Server is more than 4 years old now. Don't you think it would be a better idea to replace it completely rather replacing bits on the Server?

    Thank you for you advice on managed wireless system. I will now look for their quotes and what difference it can make to our existing wireless system.

    Thank you all again.

    Regards,

    Umair

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    Hey I have another question about compatibility of slates/tabs with educational resources? What applications/software and resources are you using on ipads/tabs if you are using one in your schools?

    I mean I can understand we can operate all online resources but if speak about other educational software that can easily go on desktop. And is there a way to get an image of one slate and then copy that image to all other slates?

    Many thanks.

    Regards,

    Umair

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    If you go virtual you can use the existing server just to home the OS for the VMs. You will certainly need some additional kind of stirage somewhere which could be an old pc stuffed full of big disks with a RAID card or you could by a purpose built NAS (12tb for about £1K or a 12 bay san (48tb for about 6K). Plus a near infinite range of possibilities either side!
    Keep talking and asking and you will form an idea of the ay that is right for you. Bear in mind what ever storage you add you will need to backup and also that you will need some kind of disaster recovery plan which should be done in conjunction with the SMT and should include fire, flood and theft.
    Personally I like to recycle old kit as much as possible but new stuff is more powerful and more efficient so power use should be a consideration - my new server use a quater of the power of the old ones and have 20 times the processing flops but the old server could be a second host especially if the VMs are homed on a secondary storage device you could just keep it as a backup in another location. Some cloud services can store your VMs so they can be pulled down in the event of catatrophe - so if you have a spare server near line that could be part of your DR strategy. Must try that myself!
    If you want a chat about all this then PM me and Ill send you my number.

  18. #29
    VeryPC_Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I like VeryPC's all-in-one FlexPC - basically a slim desktop PC with a snazzy bracket to hold a VESA-mount monitor. Works well, and good value. Several other companies do similar devices - Stone do an all-in-one chasis that you can add your own components to.
    Thanks for the mention @dhicks

    Happy to talk about solutions/options we can provide if needed @umairadmin

    I'll send a PM with my details

    Andy

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    Juniper/HP/Cisco switching
    Ruckus or Unifi for wireless
    Dell or HP workstation/PCs
    Local update publisher with WSUS for software.
    Also VDI is a good way to go.
    Last edited by nicholab; 6th February 2013 at 05:27 PM.



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