Will PM you with details of 2 people I use.
We are at the stage where we have to decide what direction we are going to take with our network as our current setup needs drastic change, so we are going all out and changing the entire domain for a new one this summer. However we have yet to decide if this is going to be RM or another company coming in and designing the system for us, or our favoured option of an in-house constructed solution.
We have the skills in house to build a functional network which will meet the schools needs, but the main objection from the business manager and others (and it's a perfectally reasonable one) is what happens if we get a major problem that's beyond our skill level, and what happens if there's long term sickness of key team members, who do we call on?
So does anyone know if it's possible to get a third party to provide some form of on call support for a network that is designed and primerilly maintained in-house?
Will PM you with details of 2 people I use.
We run our own in-house system as well. We have Microsoft Technet Plus, which comes with 2 complimentary support tickets, and that generally does us perfectly for anything we can't handle. Though it is useful to have a back stop of course.
We had similar panic from certain people as well - "what if you quit?, what if you fall under a bus? What if something goes wrong you can't handle?" - and I've always found that argument slightly annoying - What if the Head of History quits? What if the Business Manager quits? What if the catering manager fell under a bus? Well, their deputies would take over, and do the best job they could until a permanent replacement can be found, else the school would need to get in touch with external agencies for support at that time.
Exactly plus it's not like you are crafting your own networkd hardware and bespoke cabling pinout configurations.
You are using industry standard equipment and procedures.
Your network would be the same as if a "professional" company came in and installed a vanilla network anyway.
There are a great many companies out there that will support in house designed networks. Our school had one before I started, with a 48hour support contract (ie we got 48hours of on site support a year). Or we could pay for extra callouts etc...
So long as you aren't doing anything weird and wonderful, support will be everywhere.
If it's going to be a well designed and fully documented vanilla win2008 network built using MS best practice, then there is no real problem. Any Win2008 centric person should be able to jump in, read the documentation and work out roughly how everything works fairly quickly.
Have you not an LEA that can support you? If not then I guess it would be handy to have a company you can cal on for advice, as well as a technet subscription.
LEA would be good, even if you a independent school, just might be billed.
If you do it on your own, make sure you keep a good record of everything. Like are you servers labelled? If your DNS server goes down, are they going to find it quickly or are they going to have "map" out your network.
Thanks for the responses.
We're an academy school, so don't get support from the LEA unless we buy it in, which I'm not that keen to do as I think we can do better than that. The network will be pretty bog standard windows server 2008 based, nothing unusual and of course will be fully documented as we build it.
I like the idea of Technet Plus, that could come in handy for other things as well as providing us with access to additional support, so I might investigate that option as well as the companies elsiegee40 has PM'd me.
I think the business manager just needs to make sure these questions are answered, as if there were problems in the future (not that I think there will be) then as he is responsible for me it could be him being held to task as well as me, so I can't blame him for raising the issue.
Funnily enough we are tentatively discussing this and pondering this exatct situation so it is good to see the answers coming in.
We run everything ourselves here but for big projects we've called in an external company to double-check the plans and run through the upgrade with us to be doubly safe.
Did an Exchange 2007 upgrade recently, could well have done it myself after the Learning Tree course I went on but with critical systems I don't believe in taking chances (especially with such a flaky old 2003 box upgraded from 2000...) so was worth the £££ to reduce the risk.
Always be careful who you deal with though, you don't want sharks coming in trying to grab your job & network by the back door
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