Ideally we have no scheduled downtime from 8:30am to 3:00pm however we have in the past had some, (2 occasions), where scheduled maintainance happens during this time, for different reasons. I think we all appreciate that 100% uptime is not financially viable for schools and discussing this with SLT is key.
We have an IBM virtualised system being brought online this summer using vmware. I have designed the system with no single point of failure. It wasnt cheap, but neither was it extortionate. I took extended warranties to ensure replacement parts are with us the following business day. An engineer can be with us, but as I have setup 2 similar systems before, I am confident of fitting the parts myself.
VM ware, as other virtualisation products, ensures that if there are any issues, there should be little/no disruption to service.
An SLA is also key as mentioned before. This will be an agreement with SLT as to which services are most important and give details of how long there can be a disruption to a service. This powerful document gives you the leverage to buy in better equipment or spares and if they dont like it, then the SLA needs changing.
If you want to set it up yourself these best practices were developed at Stanford University with contributions from the greater Puppet community.
Puppet - Puppet Best Practice - Puppet Labs
Puppet Tutorial for Linux: Powering up with Puppet | Bitfield Consulting
Pro Puppet: Amazon.co.uk: James Turnbull, Jeffrey McCune: Books
Last edited by somabc; 14th April 2011 at 12:52 AM.
There is no simple or general answer for this one - totally dependant on attitude of SLT/ability of tech staff to be flexible/cost of minimising disruption.
If SLT/tech staff working relationship is OK and both put themselves out at times to help the other then life is good
andyturpie (1st August 2011)
Not neccesarily - these are virtual machines we're talking about here, you can change around the underlying hardware without noticing any difference. You maybe need a consultancy service that could come in and switch things over in a weekend, or maybe a week of the summer holidays.and making any changes would have to be done over a long period of time and with careful change management ...
I'm afraid I've not read all of the replies but I deal with downtime as follows:
Just do the work.
Obviously I don't plan any work during school hours and I try to do everything during the holidays, but if things break, they break. We've had two entire days offline here since Christmas due to aircon failure in the server cupboard, we had another day without any printers. If you explain to them why, there's not a great deal of argument for breakdowns. As for planned works, I definitely would not do it outside of my working hours. It's part of your job to do this work and it will improve the system. Try and do the high-profile jobs during time that people will notice, that way they will notice the improve and be able to accept the downtime was for a reason. Recabling a cabinet as you were saying is a tough one because you definitely need to do it but there's nothing in it for them, so they just see it as hassle. If there's an improvement that they will notice as a result then they will come around to your ways. As for the clubs during break and lunch, tell them to whistle. If there's an important problem that needs fixing then the club comes second! Personally I just weigh the situation, who's going to be inconvenienced, who's going to gain. Normal the latter is the whole school and that normally outweighs any single group.
If they're not willing to give you the time to do it and complain even when you've warned them well, a) that's your job and b) they're teachers - they love a good whinge. To most staff your job is a COMPLETE mystery, or at least that's the impression I get. So if you ever say you're causing them hassle, they can't begin to comprehend it. Sounds nasty, but I think that's true in a lot of cases.
Duke (29th June 2011)
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