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How do you do....it? Thread, Suggest how to spend this budget! :P in Technical; ...
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    mark's Avatar
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    Suggest how to spend this budget! :P

    Hi there

    After an extended hiatus, I'm tempted to join the ranks of the overworked shool techie once more. The school I'm interested in is a small special school with 110 kids. The site is a mess of detatched portable classrooms, with a mixture of wired and wireless connection. There are enough PCs around for the pupils and staff (max 40 PCs), but ONLY a file server for the kids and nothing for the staff. plus no management of their collection of windows PCs and ipads.

    They have budgeted £25k this next year to get the system up to spec. Can you suggest what they should be spending their money on to get something workable?

    TIA

    Forgot to add... They want to setup their own email server out of this budget. They've looked into google hosted. The low numbers work in their favour I assume if they were to look at exchange cals?
    Last edited by mark; 4th December 2012 at 05:13 PM.

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    Chris_'s Avatar
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    Possibly look at Office 365 (hosted Exchange), it's free for education and would sort their emails

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    mark (4th December 2012)

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    +1 for Office365/Live@Edu.

    First up, what is the cabling and switch infrastructure like? For 40 PCs, depending on layout, a few HP 2510G switches will do, one for server room then one/two where ever your distribution cabs are (24 port J9279A, 48 port J9280A). We use these as edge switches and they are great, would love L3 capabilities but for 40 PCs you don't need that.

    Make sure the cabling is up to scratch especially the "backbone" if you have one that is.

    Servers - I like Dell. Does your LEA have a Dell Premier account? If so you will get significant discounts ordering through them. It's such a small school it's sort of hard to justify in a way but I'd try for 2 servers with 2008R2 enterprise licences and virtualise. Server 2008 enterprise gives you 1 licence for the host server and 4 more to virtualise on top of it. Something like the R510 with 4+ drives in RAID5, 32GB ram, don't particularly need dual CPUs but that will depend on price.
    Your old server could then be turned into a physical DC.

    What about backups? Does your LEA offer off site backups? If not your can get a tape library for a few grand, then do you even need that..? HP StorageWorks 1/8 G2 Tape Autoloader Ultrium 1760 Tape autoloader - LTO Ultrium - 4 - External


    You didn't say if you have office or if your clients have Pro licences. Either way with you only having a small number of staff go for MS EES. Cost is based on number of staff. Last time I looked it was slightly less than £40 per staff member per year for the basic package which covers all your cals, office, upgrading clients to Win7 Pro. The enterprise package is around £45 which gives you more management tools but you don't really need them for 40 PCs.

    2* R510 servers = £12000
    2* Server 2008R2 enterprise = can't remember off the top of my head but less than £1000
    EES = ~£40 x staff number.
    Switches = £250 to £500 per switch depending on port number. Call it less than £1500.
    Backup = £3000

    That should come to less than £20k. The extra £5k can go towards cabling if needed, projectors and IWBs, etc.

    Do you have a MIS btw? The change could be spent on that.


    //Spending £15k on servers and backup sounds a lot for such a small school but if you get 5 years warranty on them you are set for the foreseeable future. £3k/year isn't actually that much when you think of it that way. HP switches come with lifetime warranty too and with gig to the desktop your should be set for at least 10 years. SLT should like the fact that their infrastructure is good for 5 years (bar cabling). Next up would be looking at the wireless.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 4th December 2012 at 08:20 PM.

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    mark (4th December 2012)

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    mark's Avatar
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    That's great. thanks guys!

    Wow free email? You're kidding? Will look into that then.

    Backup - yeah they do want that. I set up a disk NAS last time for about £600. Would want to do something similar.

    They have a few IWBs so I don't think there's too much they need to spend there, apart from the odd upgrade. Cabling is good in parts I hear. The wireless stuff is done by a good company... tho I hear they have problem with a couple of classrooms. The site isn't great and they've upgraded a few links to go underground. New building is 5 - 7 years off too.

    The LA have a Dell account yes. Don't seem to get much off but worth a look. Don't mind their servers.

    MIS = Integris (age range 3 - 19)

    Pro Office I presume - will have to ask. Mostly XP clients with a few up to 7.

    What about managing the ipads?
    Last edited by mark; 4th December 2012 at 06:56 PM.

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    Forgot to mention iirc EES covers you for DPM which is MS's backup solution. Works ok, and supports HyperV VMs very well. Only problem is you have to have a tape drive/library for long term backups as it only allows 64 (disk based) backups short term - ie 64 daily backups.

    What software will you use for backups? If you use "proper" software such as backupexec you'll probably not save anything by using a NAS. Remember DPM is "free".

    TBF you could use a "NAS" with server 2008 installed and just use the short term backups of DPM. 64 x bi-weekly backup gives you 32 weeks...


    Managing iPads - you'll have to ask someone else as I'm not fully up to date with it but...
    Mac mini with Lion server installed = £1000
    Or something like this https://www.meraki.com/products/systems-manager/


    New build only 5-7 years off. Only. A lot can happen in that time. We've played that game and had BSF go tits up. We started playing that game 6 years a go and are still 18months off the new build. Besides which a pupil will pass all the way through the school is 5 years. We are in it for the kids right, so do it for the kids now.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 4th December 2012 at 07:02 PM.

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    mark's Avatar
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    I used a robocopy script! :P You're right - I'd use DPM and the short term backup thing. Sounds perfect.

    I guess all they'll care about is web management initially for the ipads, and keeping them up and running. Usual story: sold 3 for £3k and they're sat in a cupboard. thx for the pointer.

    Yeah not thinking of the new build at those timescales. Like you say - this is a selfless job. I mention it as a stickler for the powers that be's hands sticking in their pockets.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    If your looking at Hyper-V look at Veeam Backup - instantly restorable VM's (obviously slower from the nas but it works).

    Personally I would look at Live@EDU/Office365/GoogleApps for your email needs (all free for education AFAIK)

    With such a small schools I would suggest

    1 x HP DL380/Dl385 G7's (for cost saving Gen 8 if needs be), with lots of local storage (8 x large sas drives).
    1 x HP DL180 G6 (or ML350) with as much ram as the host above. But lots of large Sata HDD's (1TB).
    10k at most the above.

    Put your server licenses on EES, 2012 datacenter edition is circa 100pa and you can run unlimited vm's.

    You can then keep the Dl180 or ML350 in a separate location from the primary server and run Veeam replicas to it along with Veeam Backups, Keeping lots of restore points. This means you can instantly boot any server up from the previous night or previous week.

    Meraki for Ipad Management along with Wireless if you don't already have it

    Total spend probably 15/16k. More then enough there to cope with the stuff you have mentioned. If needs be buy 2 x the DL380. I would push all clients to windows 7 as XP is out of support in the coming future.

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    @mark:

    we have used Zimbra for quite a number of years now and that is absolutely free, runs very well as a VM but as others have pointed out live@edu should provide you with e-mail and office apps.

    Have you also thought of google docs for the school which would also be free with free storage and the added bonus of collaboration within the google docs so no requirements for your own storage onsite or backups except for your VMs if you go down the virtual route.

    Xenserver is also absolutely free if you just want to run the one host with all your server VMs running on it, with the latest version 6.1.0 it has the capacity to run scheduled snapshots to a storage NAS and then the nas can be linked to an tape drive (LT04) for encryption for taking off site.

    Not that expensive all told.

    Good luck

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    mark (4th December 2012)

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    Reason I said R510 is for its upto 12 hard drives. If you get some big hard drives now the R410 has 4 bays so enough for now. But what happens in 2 years time when SLT decide to go with video editing in a big way and you are out of bays to put HDs in...

    £25k is more than enough. I don't tend to spend money for the sake of spending it but it sounds like money rarely comes around in your school so future proof while you can.

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    Don't you have to have hardware on site for google? I wouldn't want to rely on links, although the infrastructure locally has benefitted from some Gov't investment.. all high schools hereabouts are on a a 100mb link. I guess it should be reliable enough from experience. I know the LA's are consolidating to a national hub of datacentres, for example.

    I hate tapes!! No tapes!

    Not too keen on Zimbra. Had enough of squirrel/ sunJava over the years. And it looks pretty similar to me. Good and basic, but frustratingly unfriendly sometimes.. which in this environment is key.

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    Re: Suggest how to spend this budget! :P

    Sparky has listed pretty similar to what id go for. However cabling and wifi may cost more than £5000. If they set a budget of £30'000 you could more than likely have wifi and cabling sorted with change to spare (nrt ctrl or cpltd do both infrastructure and wifi)

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    I hate tapes too but cost wise, for us at least, they trump HDs by a long way:
    Server with 12 3.5'' bays = £1500+ (probably more like £2500)
    12* 3tb enterprise HDs = £2500
    Software to make the bare metal usable = Free - £1000
    = 36tb of unformatted unraided space for £4000-6000+ (formatted in raid 6 + hotspare = ~25tb). The cost of getting up to 36tb adds another few thousand pound)

    HP 36tb tape library = £3000
    24 tapes = £700
    external SAS card and cable = £300
    = 36tb of usable space for £4000.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 4th December 2012 at 08:18 PM.

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    Totally forgot to mention. If you didn't realise already EES is a yearly subscription. Even so it's a bargain just for Office alone.

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    Beware the costs of EES. In a very small school, the number of staff versus the number of machines may make the cost of EES more expensive than Schools' Agreement.

    It was this way for us... we had more staff than PCs! (This is no longer the case and we have switched to EES)

    Microsoft count Full Time Staff as anyone who works for more than 200 hours PER YEAR (roughly 6 hours per week term-time only), so most part-time staff end up counting as Full Time for Microsoft's calculations

    Obviously, you only include staff who actually use the network and don't count people like Dinner Ladies and Cleaners if they don't have logins!

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    Re: Suggest how to spend this budget! :P

    Thanks Elsie it could be close! I must check!

    I'm not up to speed with virtualization at all. Is there much involved?

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