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How do you do....it? Thread, Setting up a new network in Technical; I've had a good meeting with the head on Friday and with a bit of luck I have the funding ...
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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Setting up a new network

    I've had a good meeting with the head on Friday and with a bit of luck I have the funding to replace all of the current curriculum servers and have a fresh system to play with. Now I'm hoping to by them within the next two months with the heads permission. This thankfully give me several months to actually set them up properly and have them running in conjunction with the existing system so I can throughly test it before releasing it on the masses lol.

    I'm looking to by several servers to do this.

    2 x Servers for DC
    1 x Email and Remote access
    1 x Print Services
    1 x Eventual VLE (May change my mind on this though)
    1 x Storage Server
    1 x Backup Autoloader
    1 x 10000VA UPS (I think it was anyway)

    My office has already been done over the summer so I have some decent ring mains in.

    I'm looking to set up a OS environment of Windows 2003 and Windows XP, I'll see how MS VLM works with this and possibly LAN View which I am using currently. Space Quota and Print Credits to be done by Print Manager Plus and Space Guard unless Win2k3 R2 is as good as WindowsNetworking.com have said (That'll save £500!)

    We are also looking at Laptops for Mobile Classrooms too.


    Okay so now you have some idea of what I want to do I'd like to ask several questions if I may?

    1). What pitfalls have you come across during you careers in setting up this kind of network from stratch? (I've done this before but I'd like some idea of anythign I didn't come across last time lol)

    2). Mobile Classrooms - If you have say a 5 hour teaching day that would suggest 2 batteries per computer I know IBM and RM do External Battery chargin units so you can fully charge a battery outside of the laptop I'm wondering have you used anything like this and what are the problems?

    3). I'm looking to use TEKSYS for the remote access (I know for a fact that there software works with our LEA firewalls and proxies and they already have at least one school in our LEA that uses it currently) Do you know of any other companies that do this kind of service?

    4). I think for the time being I'll be using RIS for the installs not sure I'll have enough budget left over for Ghost Software or Deep Freeze Software or Reborn Cards what issues have you had to overcome when you used RIS?

    Sorry for the extermly long post but I want to make sure I actually do this as near to perfect as I can now so that when we switch over during July everything works (I know I'm really hoping here )

    I will of course have tested it thoroughly but users always manage to find out problems (or make them, themselves) I haven't even thought of.

    Anything you think I may have missed (Software/Hardware/etc..) please let me know.

    Hope you can help!

    Wes

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    john's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    HP DL380s for your servers, with U360 15K SCSI disks. Server R2 is good on the quotas you will probably survive with that

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    Check out some of the posts on mobile classrooms as alot of people hate their setups due to various reasons.
    I have recently got my head round the whole RIS process and was going to put some stuff on the wiki about it. I started of using riprep images but found I had a few problems with these. I now install everything from one flat image which handles 99% of all the drivers needed etc. If I need to make a change to application installs or add a new script its easy as opposed to potentialy having to redo a few different riprep images.
    In a ideal world all your apps will be MSI packages. If you have apps you have tradionaly intalled as part of a base image there is usually a way to automate this using a scripted installed or something like autoit. For example I have just produced some silent switchless installers for the applications in studio 2004 which many people have had trouble converting to MSI packages. These all install automatically at the end of the workstation setup.

    The forums at www.msfn.org are an invaluable source of information on all this.

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    Hardware sounds good
    From your points:
    1) personally I'd set up a linux network to serve windows clients, It will save you a packet inthe long term, all the additional software windows requires, plus it will generally run on lower specs so you could combine the VLE/email servers into the DC's and retain the redundancy. It will also improve interoperability if you later decide to install mac/linux/thin clients and you won't get forever locked into MS upgrade cycles. Migration from AD here: http://www.idealx.org/prj/index.en.html
    2) mobile classrooms - if you can avoid giving laptops to students then do so. They cost a lot and are easily broken. Better spend half the money on another ITsuite and have them walk. Laptops look good for PR but I wouldn't consider them for a long term solution.
    3) I hear bad stuff about teksys. They made a complete bodge of our network (before I arrived). These guys know their stuff http://www.precedence.co.uk/ also check the cutter project. They are both school orientated.
    4) Ghost / Deepfreeze / reborn are excellent products, go for it!

    Good luck

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    I'd choose pcounter over Print Manager Plus. Does the same thing but seems more powerful and a fair bit cheaper. I evaluated both, preferred pcounter by far.

  6. #6
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    I too am in the process of setting up a new network from the ground up.

    1) Depends on if you have a complete new network. If you carry over user accounts / user shares can cause a headache.

    2)IMO not a good idea. Have seen alot of these, and have yet to hear about a setup that doesn't have issues with charging / damage / wireless bandwith. Spend the pennies on another suite, or mini bays inside / outside classrooms.

    3) Any remote access software that is any good should work with your LEAs connection.

    4)Have used ghost for years, even before symantec got their hands on it. Fantastic software. Havent had a chance to look into RIS, but alot of ppl here use it.

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    You'll spot my posts about - I recently did a similar thing (10 Sun servers, EMC SAN, Tanberg tape library, HUGE APC UPS) but went down the Citrix route because IMHO it provides a lower TCO and is far easier to manage centrally.

    I don't want to teach you to suck eggs but remember to be ridiculously cheeky when buying - I think I had nearly £8K knocked off in one phonecall by just being cheekier and cheekier

    Also remember to overspec and rememebr to buy all the little finishing features like new racks (I can recommend the APC racks - relatively cheap, excellent build quality and WHEELS!), plenty of capacity on KVMs and air-con is a must have!

    If you want to PM me, I will send more details of my servers and the devices such as the UPS and tape library. Your brief sounds like the fat client version of my network

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    Air Con is something we're still looking into the costs aren't too great but I'll have to see if that would come out of building maintenance or my own budget (I hope not )

    Looking at the stats of citrix I'm not sure how much server power i'd need but as something to bear in mind in the future then yes I will be putting it forward sadly not for a year or two when the main classrooms come under replacement!

    I'll have a look at www.precedence.co.uk and give them a call thanks for that.

    I'm not all that familiar with linux so that could take a lot of setting up from my perspective i.e. learning how ops: I'll have a go at the samba setup and see though. Still gonna have a windows server with SIMS also training staff and pupils in openoffice will be interesting they have bought a lot of software over the last two years and all for windows no second install for linux etc.. Shame really linux is something I'd really like to get into!

    We will have to go down the mobile classroom sadly as we have no more classrooms we can readily rebuild as an ICT Lab. I suppose there is always the mobile building idea (buy a mobile unit set it up for computers) trouble with that is security and they aren't the nicest places to work in!

    Well I'll certainly be copying over their work etc.. but all of the shares I'll setup using batch processing!

    Wes

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    Like Ric says, air con is a must. No matter how good your hardware it could all grind to a halt come summer!

    The great thing about Citrix is published applications, so all your windows only educational apps will 'run' on pretty much any OS, but are actually running on the terminal server. You can also allow students/staff access from home. For Citrix you will need dual processors, lots of ram and fast disks. One DL360 with 4GB ram will run 20-30 clients no probs (in desktop mode) - depending on what the kids are doing. Blade servers are ideally suited (if only...). The downside is things like multimedia, voice recording and such like is problematic, as is rich graphical content - flash is ok though, but you can always do this sort of thing on the client

    Another AD/email/DNS/DHCP/SMB replacement is http://www.karoshi.org.uk/
    I saw it mentioned on this forum, but not really checked it out.

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    The usage of our users in the current environment means probably 120 - 150 people logged on at any time so taking that into account I would need 4 or 5 servers to handle applications? That is possible presently but given the fact that pupils may be given laptops at a later date this could rise to 700+ users 25 Servers at dual or some truly stupendous datacentre server? Ouch! Good for home use though! If I had the budget available its a good line to go down especially if you can run it with linux brings the overall price down then for licensing XP still needs the CALs though this isn't very expensive anymore!

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    You could save approx £1.5k by setting up the remote access yourself. We'd be happy to help or show you ours if you like. We're not too far away.

    Laptops - RockDirect do several models with 6 hr batteries at a good price, good specs too, they are also developing a secure cabinet which looks impressive, which I would recommend if using mobile classrooms. http://www.rockdirect.com/ Ask for Marvin - he's very helpful and not at all pushy like some.
    Most of our laptops are used all day every day and it's rare we get a flat battery.

    pm me if you want half a day out to visit us

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    russdev's Avatar
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    Re: Setting up a new network

    maybe someone wants to record a audio segment for podcast top ten hints and tips on setting up a new network from scratch...

    russ

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    For server hardware, we use Dell. We have not had one go down ever (apart from power cuts) after 3 years of use. I know what you're all saying. Never say Never!

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    I don't want to teach you to suck eggs but remember to be ridiculously cheeky when buying - I think I had nearly £8K knocked off in one phonecall by just being cheekier and cheekier
    I got Dell to knock £16k off a quote for 50 PC's by just refusing to agree to each quote my account manager came back with

    Oh and yeah, we use Dell servers, PowerEdge 1750's and 2750's which I belive have just been superseded by the 1850 and 2850. They've been in well over a year now, with no problems.

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    Re: Setting up a new network

    We have 4 Servers shared between 350~ workstations, some 200~ laptops 1800~ Student User Accounts + 300 Staff User Accounts

    Server 1

    >Domain Controller
    >Serves profiles
    >Serves users home directorys
    >DNS Services
    >DHCP Services
    >Time Serivces etc
    >Ranger Network Manager
    >Ranger Solo


    Server 2

    >Domain Controller
    >Print Server for about 20-25 printers
    >DNS Services
    >DHCP Services
    >Ranger Network Manager
    >Ranger Solo
    >Software Server
    >Shared work
    >Sophos AntiVirus Deployment and control centre

    Server 3

    >Purely acts as a ISA server


    Server 4

    >Sims SQL etc
    >AimHigh
    >Print Server
    >Domain Controller
    >Veritas Backup for all servers
    >Windows Update Services Center


    Now we are are struggling alot especially with a wireless setup. With more classrooms demanding wireless connectivity for laptop users the servers are queueing traffic for ages and everything is slowing down.

    We have AP's with anything from 5 at a time to 35 laptops logging on the DOMAIN. Thats 54mb shared between 30ish laptops...

    >requesting authentication
    >checking for windows updates (Downloading Updates)
    >downloading sophos updates
    >downloading desktops, startmenus etc etc
    >possible application updates

    To make things worse... teachers want to watch the students. So each teacher has a laptop in class with every students desktop on their display. Thats 30 refreshes every x amount of seconds --- ALL THROUGH 1 AP of 54mb.

    As you could imagine, a user clicks start and its pointing so a UNC on the server so that takes a while to come up. The kit is state of the art and fast which is great but theres this pressure to try and keep up with the demands with the kit in place.

    We have had to increase AP's in classrooms where ever there is trouble setting the laptops to use only certain AP's. This then becomes a problem with the laptops roam out of range from the AP they are assigned.

    I had the idea of using a bandwidth monitor running as a service the other day and i logged on and checked the log. The results was awful. 45mb a logon for a user.

    Let me know how you guys get on heh

    I know something has to be done, but I can't say No when people ask for new things... I know the probable outcome, but im the small guy in a big school.

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