Managing Downtime In A School Environment
This a bit of a random one but I though I'd throw it out there and see how EduGeekers handle it:
What is your school's expectations for uptime, what maintenance windows are you given, and how do you manage planned and unplanned downtime, particularly on a school budget?
For example, some of the issues we are facing:
- In the past, pretty much all students would finish at 15:00 and after that we could do server maintenance that wouldn't affect staff. Most staff would be done by 16:30 or at least would understand downtime after then and so we could do maintenance at the end of the day. Now, lessons go on until 16:00 or 16:30 and controlled assessment goes until until 17:00 or 17:30 so we can't take anything down during the majority of school days.
- We used to be able to get away with quick reboots of devices at breaktime or lunchtime but clubs and activities now run through these.
- School holidays used to be free for us to do as much maintenance as we needed as long as we warned people, but now even a single day causes problems. We're in the Easter break currently and I spent yesterday from 7:30am to 6:30pm re-racking a server cabinet and despite the fact we warned people everything would be down (core switch was turned off) we still had a few complaints.
- I need a few more hours to finish re-cabling the above mentioned cabinet properly, and I'm currently either going to have to work a night or a weekend, and getting time off in lieu for that will be difficult.
The school basically expects close to 100% uptime, yet I currently have no budget, only half the funding I needed for virtualisation and no money for redundant storage or a proper backup solution.
Is this unusual, or are most schools facing this problem? Our school heavily runs on email and SIMS so any downtime in the day is seen as a major issue. A few months ago the network was down for most of the day (bad switching issue took out most of the network and was a nightmare to trace) and I'm still being reminded by management how big a deal that was and how it must never happen again.