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MIS Systems Thread, Solus 3 - Why bother for clients? in Technical; Originally Posted by psydii Could I just get some clarification.... The implication of this thread is that if your machines ...
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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    Could I just get some clarification....

    The implication of this thread is that if your machines are not wired into the network with WoL enabled, they will not receive updates to SIMS in a non disruptive way.

    If the above is true, how are people dealing with laptops?
    It should get pushed the package once the pre-req are done, so once the database is upgraded, the client will get told to update. If the client is offline, when it comes online it will contact the server and the server will push it - ok it won't push it as it will already have the files, it'll just tell it to apply them. If it doesn't have it, it will download it and apply it.

    The issue at the moment is the server isn't telling the client to update when it comes online - or it's hit or miss, the next version will allow the client to ask the server, hey, do I need an update? Like it previously did. So it's a failsafe.

    The other issue it has is cause it happens in the background, you don't get the pop up\ignore it so you go in, open sims and it's mid upgrade - it don't work and the install\upgrade will be pending a restart. So I've ask it to not allow you to run it whilst it's upgrading and if it needs an upgrade, to reboot. Also if it's a multi part upgrade, it prompts you from the first until the last upgrade, so you don't think it's finished when it's only finished part 1 of 2 - again it doesn't say part 1 of 2 either. The other issue is it doesn't - currently - alert the end user to the fact the database is upgrading - so if you're on the system, and you've ignored the administrators notice about an upgrading occuring at 2pm, then you'll get "reminded" kicked out - something that's currently lacking I feel.

    Final point, it doesn't matter if you're wireless\wired, just on the lan. I did say about following CentraStage path and make it so it works over a HTTPS connection so you could - if you wanted to - update them remotely.


    Not sure if they ever implemented WOL - I did ask, but I've never really tested it.

    PS: I just highlighted the two main issues currently. My rant mainly is cause if the talent on here helps back at the start, we would have found these and they would have fixed them ages ago.

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    I've been thinking of ditching Solus3 for all clients (except those that use the Exam module) as it is, in my opinion, the biggest pile of horse excrement I've had to install in the 5 years of working in a school (and that's saying something given the standard of some educational software).

    I have no idea what Capita were\are thinking but the way they ignore customer opinions just seems to be to be an abuse of their market position.

    For us, we have to install the client via a script (as the client won't install centrally from the Solus3 console unless we enable the server service on our PC's, which I'm not going to do just for Solus3) then hope that when the server updates, the clients will follow at some point. After getting bored of waiting we usually end up with a script to copy an updated sims.net directory those machines which have decided not to update. This seems ridiculous so I think we might just use a script for all of them.

    Also, does anyone know what the official policy is regarding re-imaged PC's? Like many schools we like to maintain the ability to simply re-image any PC which is causing problems. We set it rebuilding and the relevant operating system, settings, applications and printers are all reinstalled as we want them, except of course the Solus Client which we have to remove from the its own separate database, re-install the client, add it to the relevant channels and wait for Solus to catch up and think about installing something. Genius.

    Personally I think that SIMS should be web based or, at the very least, come with some sort of standard client installer (msi or exe).

    Whilst people on this forum might be "Silo'd" I would suggest that Capita might like to poke their heads out their own Silo occasionally and realise that their model is actually pretty terrible for the majority of their customers.

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  4. #33

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Forgot about the GUID "issue", that was a "silo" issue, I think the idea was to prevent people hijacking workstations, which my response was "oh no, you've managed to change your computer name to a manage solus machine, oh no, now your sims is upgrading, oh... no?" Worth checking with Jon Wood to see if it's on the scope for the next release.

    Out of interest, what AV do you use? Cause I know I've heard of some that don't like being imaged cause of the guid issue - does it not manage it central? if it does, do you end up with duplicate records? Just thinking from a licensing point-of-view, how do you stop the duplicates in ad \ av? I assume AD would be ok as the SID or whatever would get removed\reused.

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    When I say re-image, we use WDS (with sysprep) and AV (currently Sophos as it is cheap) is not part of the image but reinstalled with a script. There are no duplicates in AD or Sophos or indeed any other problems with SID's. Just Solus3.

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    Ok, so why don't you install S3 via the script - oh it won't get added to the channels - ie it'll be in S3 but not defined as a SIMS workstation. Mmm, yer, defo check with Jon that it's on the list for the next release.

    Just to check, if I create an ad group, then put in say all the sims workstations, then reimage, the machine will still be in the same ad group - it won't have the old machine SID listed? If that's the case that might be a better way forward - don't user computer accounts, use groups - like you would with users.

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    It would be great if the SOLUS3 Agent MSI had switches that could allow you to define SIMS/FMS/Discover during the deployment so that it automatically got added to the necessary channels when it started communicating with the DS, removing the need to manually add the workstation after it came online.

    Even with an automated process, SOLUS3 still requires manual work no matter how you add to the environment.

    Got a South West SOLUS3 Technical Session with Jon Wood on March 8th so I'll be compiling a list of questions/bugs etc.

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    I'm guessing it is like most SMS es with large amounts invested, if the installer actually worked gracefully they would loose out on all those jucy billable support hours and people would be able to get by without such heavy reliance on them, they may even have enough time when not fighting fires to look at other options.

    I have no idea if this is the case but seems to be an all to familiar model, most could make their software oss and still make a profit talking people through the latest crop of 'unintentional' bugs.

  9. Thanks to SYNACK from:

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    Personally I wouldn't like that, with SOLUS3 you can be a bit more relaxed about which machines gets it, I mean if a dedicated curriculum machine gets it, meh, not really a problem as it's not defined as a SIMS machine, even if you go for the group idea, someone with AD access needs to add that machine to the group. I guess I like that extra layer of security.

    Still I do like my quick job Ideally want to be able to get a quick job to run on the server rather then the client - if you get what I mean. So I'm connected to desktop1 and when I run the "Install SIMS client" quick job it goes to desktop1 server machine and runs the "oi, add this machine to sims in solus3" component.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    they may even have enough time when not fighting fires to look at other options.
    Clearly you haven't been through the MIS selection process. Technicians don't get asked until they've signed on the dotted line and it's more of a telling.

    Personally you shouldn't base your selection on the fact it installs easily - otherwise my spreadsheet MIS system would win everytime. If you are involved in the process, don't say it's rubbish. Say, just be aware there is a higher cost of support, so by last years figures, Capita released 2 releases and both them them required a re-release, therefore we would have needed to applied 4 release that would take x hrs each on average @ the cost of a z many technician at £y per hr. Also add it the cost of the hardware it'll need and any additional MS license - make sure you point out that you may be able to reuse stuff where possible. This way they WILL listen when you say SIMS is expensive when the Capita quote is a lot less then the nice Cloud MIS rather then fobbing you off thinking your just Capita bashing again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    It should get pushed the package once the pre-req are done, so once the database is upgraded, the client will get told to update. If the client is offline, when it comes online it will contact the server and the server will push it - ok it won't push it as it will already have the files, it'll just tell it to apply them. If it doesn't have it, it will download it and apply it.
    I must be missing something, as those clients which were turned off at the time of the update did NOT get the update when they turned on. Is there a tickbox somewhere I overlooked?

    Even if they did, it is still limited as often the first thing a teacher does after turning their computer on is open SIMS and do the register. With an MSI or scripted .exe installer, this would be okay as SIMS would already be upgraded, but not so with S3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    I must be missing something, as those clients which were turned off at the time of the update did NOT get the update when they turned on. Is there a tickbox somewhere I overlooked?

    Even if they did, it is still limited as often the first thing a teacher does after turning their computer on is open SIMS and do the register. With an MSI or scripted .exe installer, this would be okay as SIMS would already be upgraded, but not so with S3.
    As @matt40k said just under that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt40k
    The issue at the moment is the server isn't telling the client to update when it comes online - or it's hit or miss, the next version will allow the client to ask the server, hey, do I need an update? Like it previously did. So it's a failsafe.
    This is a huge thorn in my side and causes no end of "Incompatible database" calls. In most cases, it's more miss than hit for us. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen a device upgrade successfully when it missed the main roll out.
    Last edited by Rawns; 4th February 2013 at 03:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Clearly you haven't been through the MIS selection process. Technicians don't get asked until they've signed on the dotted line and it's more of a telling.

    Personally you shouldn't base your selection on the fact it installs easily - otherwise my spreadsheet MIS system would win everytime. If you are involved in the process, don't say it's rubbish. Say, just be aware there is a higher cost of support, so by last years figures, Capita released 2 releases and both them them required a re-release, therefore we would have needed to applied 4 release that would take x hrs each on average @ the cost of a z many technician at £y per hr. Also add it the cost of the hardware it'll need and any additional MS license - make sure you point out that you may be able to reuse stuff where possible. This way they WILL listen when you say SIMS is expensive when the Capita quote is a lot less then the nice Cloud MIS rather then fobbing you off thinking your just Capita bashing again.
    Depends on how much of an ear ache they expect to get when it turns out to be a dog, I'm sure most of SMT here could easily recite several reasons the current one fails as software. I don't apologise for bad software, I lay the blame where it belongs, with the developers. Blatant and stupid avoidable bugs and clearly stupid architectures are not something I'm taking any blame for.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 4th February 2013 at 03:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Personally you shouldn't base your selection on the fact it installs easily
    That shouldn't be the only criteria, but ease of installation should certainly be a factor.

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    So it does in fact work very close to the way I suggested. Except in cases where devices might be off the LAN in the hours following a server update, it doesn't work very well? What triggers a client update? What happens when a client doesn't get the update and the end user tries to launch it? What are the recovery steps?

    How much control do local admins get on the timing of the server updates?

    I am asking because we are in the market for a new MIS, and the basics (i.e. does the client start up and present usable information promptly and without incident) have to work. And by 'in the market' I mean I have a five figure sum allocated for implementation...
    Last edited by psydii; 4th February 2013 at 03:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    I am asking because we are in the market for a new MIS, and the basics (i.e. does the client start up and present usable information promptly and without incident) have to work. And by 'in the market' I mean I have a five figure sum allocated for implementation...
    Look beyond installation and upgrade to support levels - Capita have a first line response team who, from what I can tell, look up your error message in a database and read you the answer. If it isn't in there, you wait a few hours for someone to call you back. That is okay for a lot of issues, but no good when you're half-way through an upgrade and it throws its toys out the pram.

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