How do you do it ???
What can you do in this situation ???
I start my new job as Schools IT Manager on 1st April but have been there voluntary for the last 2 weeks (without pay I may add),
after a bit of investigation and auditing the suite is 7 years old and waranties expired 2 years ago, the laptop trolley is also around 7 years old and is 3 years
out of warranty, the wireless is an engenius system as follows and is a bag of bolts;
EAP150 EnGenius Long Range Wireless 11n 150Mbps Ceiling Mount AP/WDS with Integrated 5dBi Antenna - Scan.co.uk
the switches are out of date cisco units with a combination of 10\100 3-com units thrown in as well (need I say more), been told that the priority
is to sort the wireless out but whats the point in having a good wireless and s**t laptops ??
Also just found out that the local council are going to give the school £30,000 that is owed to them to spen on IT (I can replace the laptop trolley and the IT Suite), but the head wants 10 LCD Touch Screens ?????
What can you do it would appear that they want a mini turning into a porsche.
Explain that 10LCD touchscreens would blow a large chunk of the budget, and explain that the suite could fall down along with the laptops, and with no hardware cover, it would be a nightmare.
For £30k, I would be able to buy a server, 30 machines (no screens), 40 keyboards, 40 mice (the additional 10 are for replacements).
Server - 2x Xeon E5-2407, 32GB RAM, Server 2012 (with 1 cal for SCE, hyper-v set up,) 2x 146GB 15k SAS drives, 6x 3TB HDDs, redundant 750w PSU, dvd writer (£5,900)
PCs - i3 (Ivybridge), 8GB RAM, Windows 8 with downgrade to 7 licence, 1TB HDD - £350 a piece (£10,500)
Laptops - i3 mobile chip, 4GB RAM, Windows 8 with downgrade to 7 licence, 320GB HDD - £330 a piece (£10,200)
Total for all 3 - £26,600
Remaining 4k could buy a few touchscreens, but cant see why it would be wanted tbh!
Originally Posted by nephilim
You missed this bit:
Being a stickler for infrastructure I prioritise my network first, computers 2nd.
Originally Posted by staningrimsby
Couldn't agree more! Get the infrastructure right first and everything else will be better in the long run!
Originally Posted by CyberNerd
Would invest in a core switch, get your vlans sorted to split off wireless traffic.
'No one was ever fired for buying Cisco'
Firstly work out what currently works, after a fashion and what desperately needs replacing. What will last another 2-3 years with some love and care and what is going to the great motherboard in the sky tomorrow.
Next work out a 5 year development plan. Don't rush into spending money now, it's the worst thing you can do. In 5 years time any new kit you buy now will be old, need replacing and you won't have the money for it! Make sure you have an affordable rolling replacement strategy for everything before you spend even a penny.
Once you've done that you'll know where to spend the £30k now to make the best use of the money in terms of both replacing kit that can't last much longer and adjusting the development plan to factor in life cycles of new kit bought now.
Ahh yes I did miss the hardware bit...my fault. Well to generate more funds you could sell off the PCs and laptops to parents with the understanding there is no warranty. Might generate about 3-4k additional leaving 8k from my budget to replace switches etc.
Sort the switches out first - managed HP procurve are good - get a decent core switch. Ruckus is good for wireless - there are some good deals on at the moment. If you have this then you may get away with sticking SSD drives in laptops if they are not too ancient.
Explain this to the head - no point in fancy LCD screens if infrastructure not working - good luck :-)
Sit down and ask them exactly what they think improving the wireless will achieve. They've told you what to do but not what they hope to achieve. Chances are they will want to reduce logon times, that being the case explain how the chain works and how each part of the chain can make a difference. Also worth asking if they have an existing short/medium/long term plan, if they do then ask if you can evaluate it, if not then sit down with relevant parties and find out what they would like then draw up a plan based on that with your additional expertise ( systems life cycle, software life cycle, hardware life cycle, future technologies, current tech etc)
You can't build a skyscraper on a mud puddle. Start from the ground up, explain to management that money needs spending on the infrastructure first, and like a skyscraper the sky comes last (in this case, sky = wireless) you need a 3-5 year plan to be honest as from the sounds of things it's not going to be a 1 years budget type of job.
Air your concerns and suggestions to SLT or the head, and explain why just buying X or Y isn't a good idea when A and B are needed then Put your concerns and suggestions forward ON PAPER and keep a copy. then when they deliberately ignore you and things don't work you have proof that you suggested things that were needed prior to buying X and Y. you might not be popular for doing it but don't take any messing or they will walk all over you and then Blame you for any problems and deliberately claim that you didn't raise the issue earlier, Emails are a good way of doing this. (if you cant tell i have had simaler problems)
depending on the site (once the main infrasturture is sorted) i would look towards aerohive or meraki (now owned by cisco) as they are 'cloud managed' wireless solutions. Currently we have Aruba which has been brilliant, including flawlessly running our first set of iPads (32) in a mobile hut with a 3/4 year old AP-65. We have about 35 APs around the site (2 main buildings and 10 huts).
As per most of the comments above, first work out what the desired outcomes are, then work out a plan on how to deliver it. This can be divided into classroom / curriculum outcomes and administrative capability. You need to make sure that the background systems (server, network cabling and switches) are up to the job and that's usually the most difficult battle. No one apart from you sees that, but they will moan about the impact. The other thing that would be on my list which hasn't been mentioned is software. If you've got lovely new computers which have a rocket like connection to a hyper-speed server and the internet, what exactly are the kids going to do with them? Search Google at high speed? Speaking of which, what is your broadband connection like and what budget does that come out of? You might assume that the software will come from curriculum budget, but are the teachers aware of that. If you're replacing old PC's with new Win 7 machines, what ever version of Office is running will likely look very dated. Even with £30k, you won't achieve all of this from day one. Questions I would ask are:
How much money will I get next year?
Does the budget cover curriculum software? What about subscriptions to VLE, other sites (we have phonics play, busy things and a couple of others)
Does office / admin kit have to come out of the same budget?
Definitely start with the network / server upwards. Wireless networks always create a chicken and egg situation - if you don't have the devices, you don't need the wireless. If you don't have the wireless, the devices won't work. If your laptops are going to be on a trolley, you could consider getting one decent WAP and putting it on the trolley and connect it to a decent Gigabit switch. That gives you an expandable system, so you don't waste money, but should get something decent for this year. You might be able to extend the life of some of your PCs by converting them to thin clients - look at thinstation or multipoint server. Also bear in mind that if you replace everything in one go, you'll be in the same situation again in 3 or 5 years.