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Mac Thread, Are there many establishments using Mac Servers instead of Windows or Linux? in Technical; Sorry Dos_Box but I to have visited Essa Academy and it does look very impressive on the front of it. ...
  1. #16

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    Sorry Dos_Box but I to have visited Essa Academy and it does look very impressive on the front of it. However, as soon as you scratch the surface I felt there were some extremely "odd" problems, some of which to me seemed obviously and concerning.

    The building was new and impressive, seeing teachers with Macbook Airs and iPad2s was impressive, but when I considered they have used them for 8 weeks only at the time, you cannot base anything on them. How many will be dropped/ lost or stolen in the first year?

    The students had "used" iPods for 3 years, but when questioned came up with very little real uses for them, mainly as a dictionary and to look up things sometimes but they prefered the school oweed iPads for that.

    The school curriculum was also vastly different to ours, and in fact to most schools I have visited and I felt some of these changes were being put in place because they had spent the money on technology without deciding what to use it for first. Is blogging a lesson?

    My other concern is they used a wiki to teach/ give the students articled, which worked well to an extent, but they had to use for macbooks or imacs to create aarticles for it, not ipads, they couldnt even edit on ipads. The wiki wasn't published externally due to some dubious reason (they blamed the managed service), the Apple TVs in every room didn't always have a password on and teachers choose them individually which seemed crazy! I was never shown someone learning Maths, English, any other Language or a Humanity, there was no equipment to teach Science with they view videos of experiements or the teacher does them, personally I enjoyed hand on Science.

    I must also add there budget for a school the same size as mine was about 2.5x as much if not more, I wonder if this should be an ongoing concern as best value for money as there was several projects mentioned that were scrapped after 2 weeks, one being some software that was about 20,000. I could never afford to spend 20k and then write it off.


    I look forward to your article, as when i visited I went with the Head of ICT and the Head of the school who highlighted other concerns to when they scratched below the surface and I wonder if you spotted them to and agreed with them.

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    speckytecky (31st January 2012)

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    manxdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speckytecky View Post
    I'm curious are many educational establishments running Mac Server in preference to Windows or Linux domains?
    - puts hand up
    been fully Mac since the BBC's got skipped. Mac Servers since MacManager on OS9. now on 4 Xserves. using OD, AFP, DHCP, DNS etc.
    "It doesn't do the job better" - no, but I reckon it does it just as well.
    "and hardware is just expensive." - yes it was expensive, but bulletproof - one small hardware issue in 15 years - happily running 2 x 6 year old Xserves now.

    where we save over M$ though is: OSX Server software and licensing ~52 per server - unlimited users - forever. no CALs or annual license costs. also very light on AV requirements.

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    speckytecky (31st January 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by speckytecky View Post
    I'm curious are many educational establishments running Mac Server in preference to Windows or Linux domains?

    Talking to an Apple enthusiast today he told me that it surprised him that schools were not running Mac server set ups in preference to Windows Domains. He reckoned that a Mac Server could do the job far better - and cheaper?
    Three issues here.

    1) Microsoft's server-side offerings in general and Active Directory in particular are much more widely used, better supported and are generally much more mature products than their Apple server equivalents - where an Apple equivalent exists.

    2) Where an "Apple equivalent" exists for a server product, more often than not its actually an Open Source equivalent that Apple have bundled, so why run a Mac server platform to run, say, MySQL if you can run the exact same product at a lower price on Linux?

    3) Apple's recent moves show that they are somewhere between 'clueless and witless' and 'outright hostile' towards serious business/education use of their products, to the extent where we're looking to wind down what is currently a fairly serious investment in Apple gear that runs alongside our Windows-based stuff.

    This is far from unique to Mac enthusiasts but imho lot of technology X enthusiasts who reckon their favourite tech du jour can do "the job" better and cheaper often turn out not to know what "the job" actually is.
    Last edited by Roberto; 31st January 2012 at 02:42 PM.

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    We have been running a 70/30 Mac/Windows split on our site since 2004. Initially we ran our staff 'network' using OSX Server, which at the time was 10.3. This authenticated 70 Windows machines, provided SMB shares for home folders and some machine management using registry / NT4 policy style 'hacks'. The major problem we had was that at that time Open Directory would trash itself every few weeks which we simply couldn't accept.

    After many refinements of our network we provide all user accounts/authentication and GPO through Active Directory on Server 2008. And manage about 350 Mac OS machines via a Mac Mini. All home folders are hosted over 4 XServe and XServe RAIDs. The servers in this role have been very stable and licensing and management of the Mac OS based machines has been very cheap.

    We pick our server hardware and software on what we deem best to do the job. We have a variety of systems - from Server 2003R2 to 2008, Mac OS 10.6 Server, Debain / Ubuntu Linux.

    Anyway, I would be wary of putting your directory system in Open Directory. It may have matured, but AD has always been way more stable for us.

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    speckytecky (1st February 2012)

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    For me the biggest cost on saving was the licensing of OS X Server over the Windows counterpart. My Linux skills are very limited. Having the ability to use OpenSource technology with a reasonably simple GUI helped me get the best out of the hardware and software that we have at our disposal. Since MS's move to the EES licensing scheme, the cost to run MS software has reduced to now be at least competitive. With Exchange now being viable for a small school wishing to run their own Exchange server, there is no need to use Apple's mail service.

    We use OS X servers and their services wherever possible, but still retain the AD for users and Windows clients. I thought about removing AD from the mix as it is where most of my issues come from (AD-OD integration), but over the last 2 years things have been relatively smooth. Hardly have an issue where some users can't log in due to skewed times, resolved an issue where some users get the users cannot log in at this time.

    In short with the new licensing from MS, and Apple's client software now integrating so well with AD servers and exchange services, there really is no need to use an OD environment. Couple that with the ability to extend the AD schema to manage OS X Clients, it could potentially be better than the Magic Triangle. You could argue that you could do the same with Linux, but I think that it takes a very skilled administrator to be able to pull it off successfully, and a very knowledgeable person to fix any serious issues without resorting to a support contract. If you are going for the support contract I feel that you have already lost the main benefit of running Open Source.

    Just my ramblings.

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    speckytecky (1st February 2012)

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    mellowip1983's Avatar
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    I think the term "cheaper" may be in relation to the CALs for the server, you get mac os x server and can get unlimited clients for say 600 where with windows you need to fork out for the OS and then CALs on top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mellowip1983 View Post
    I think the term "cheaper" may be in relation to the CALs for the server, you get mac os x server and can get unlimited clients for say 600 where with windows you need to fork out for the OS and then CALs on top.
    Yeah the CALs is where I was coming from. But also from the services point of view that are (or were in the case on 10.7) on the OS X Server. They weren't Exchange killers but did the job. The mail service and calendar service allowed for as many users as you wanted with out additional cost. You could set one up for the pupils to use and it would be scaleable from a cost point of view.

    You could do this using Linux but as I mentioned earlier my skills just weren't up to the job configuring it all. You could do it on Windows but you would still need the licenses for each connection.

    If your users are like mine then getting them to use email was a major task and so given that the service is free to use then it wasn't such an expensive thing to run for 2 people.

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