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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS end of support XP and 2003. in Technical; OK, looks like I've put my head above the parapet a little late on this one... We are pretty much ...
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    Koldov's Avatar
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    SIMS end of support XP and 2003.

    OK, looks like I've put my head above the parapet a little late on this one...

    We are pretty much exclusively 2003 server with XP clients (I know, I know but whatever, it worked and everybody was happy) for SIMS and FMS (I presume FMS is in the same boat). Although I'm not actually involved with SIMS apart from installing and upgrading (clicking some buttons) and know nothing really about SQL database stuff... Nobody has handed me an email from Capita stating that this is happening, it was only by chance that another school I help has been contacted by a 3rd party, offering their services to do any upgrades that I found out about it.

    We do run a 2008 server (but not even R2), so.... all the jobs I had planned for the summer may be on hold while I work this one out, as that will change so much more than just an install won't it (new backup strategy needed for server 2008 just for starters).. Apart from that I'm pretty sure none of the admin pc's will upgrade to 7, so they will all need replacing, updating, data transferring, drives mapping, printers installing and OMG teaching them the differences in 7. This will be the biggest change in IT this school has had since about 2005 I think, as all the PC's (and staff) have been happily chugging away doing what they need to do with what they've got. Maybe getting bitten in the ass now for having the opinion of not 'changing just for the sake of it....' But to be fair, nobody has ever come to me moaning that their Windows XP machine needs to be upgraded to 7 (or 8) because they can't do X,Y or Z, in fact just the opposite has been true on many occasions!

    Anyway TL;DR question is, bottom line - What help is there on this? Guides, Capita support (install disks, etc)?

    What with the huge amount of sensitive and (legally obliged to keep?) data at stake, I am a tad concerned!

    Kol.

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    First up - don't panic! Migrating your network to 7/8 and Server 2008R2/2012/R2 is not that scary. There are a number of tweaks and changes along the way (such as mandatory profiles not being compatible, many new GPs etc) but you can work through these by updating one DC to the newest Server OS possible (thus updating your schema, GP Central Store etc). Then stick a Windows 7 PC on the domain, and work through getting it to work. Once your policies and back-end systems are in place, you can start to roll out 7. You can look at upgrading the other servers at the same time - your SIMS server should be straightforward with the guides in place (essentially - detach the database, stop the services on old server, move data to new server, attach database, go). There's much more to it than that, but we've been through it a couple of times and it was fine.

    You can do much of this work (obviously not the SIMS migration) during term time, as it shouldn't be disruptive if done right. Move over a batch of PCs to 7 (that'll run it) at a time, you don't need to do them all at once - XP and 7 coexist fine.

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    Koldov (4th July 2013)

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    Ghostgame's Avatar
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    If you have access to SupportNet have a look at resource 17910.

    That has the SIMS technical roadmap and will tell you when Capita are planning to drop support or take up support for software, OS's, etc.

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    Koldov (4th July 2013)

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    Koldov's Avatar
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    No, I don't think I have access to that (is it a sign-up thing?) which is a shame because it sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!
    Anyway, might have put the cat amongst the pigeons a little prematurely... I just took the information to the Head and Bursar who were less than pleased about the prospect of a whole load of new admin pc's coming out of the budget that they hadn't planned for (let alone the time it would take for me to implement, or the cost of getting in a 3rd party contractor). So, they contacted CAPITA who back-peddled furiously saying that they haven't said the support for those systems is ending!

    Kol.

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    creese's Avatar
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    Sever 2003 and XP support ends after the Autumn upgrade. It doesn't mean SIMS will stop working, just that if you have a problem that you will be asked to upgrade.

    I would suggest the server upgrade is the most important.

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    Koldov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghostgame View Post
    If you have access to SupportNet have a look at resource 17910.

    That has the SIMS technical roadmap and will tell you when Capita are planning to drop support or take up support for software, OS's, etc.
    Ah, it's OK I have it here:

    Capita Education Support Services

    About 2/3 of the way down.

    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    Sever 2003 and XP support ends after the Autumn upgrade. It doesn't mean SIMS will stop working, just that if you have a problem that you will be asked to upgrade.

    I would suggest the server upgrade is the most important.
    Yeah, I get that, but if it were to stop working for whatever reason it's the same difference?

    Kol.

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    supawat1's Avatar
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    We still have Windows Server 2008 32 bit for our SIMS and just upgraded our Windows XP client to Windows 7 recently. Windows Server 2008 is still supported from what I can see from the Technical roadmap anyway.

    Upgrade to Windows 7 is not that hard work and it will not cost you that much (have you considered EES path yet?). Also Windows 7 interface is almost similar to Windows XP, so the training part for all of your admin staff would be very simple.

    Do not panic, your SIMS will not stop working overnight (apart from you have a power cut).

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    All I'll say is they won't actively stop it working - but sods law is that it breaks at the worst possible time and the last thing you want to here is, please reinstall your server.

    Also - LOL!!! I keep forgetting that some heads and bursars "forget" that computers should be on a refresh program and treat them like a building.

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    Koldov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supawat1 View Post
    Upgrade to Windows 7 is not that hard work and it will not cost you that much (have you considered EES path yet?). Also Windows 7 interface is almost similar to Windows XP, so the training part for all of your admin staff would be very simple.
    No, but it's not the upgrade I'm concerned about, as 99% of the workstaions won't be able to be upgraded (they are mostly Celrons or Semprons with 512MB of RAM)! So it's new PC's, migrating the GIG's of data they've saved on the C:\, reinstalling SIMS, redoing shortcuts, mapped drives, printer installs, profiles, GPO's and moving the right PC's to the OU for LOGON scripts etc... Might be a piece of cake for some, but I'm not that far up the techie ladder and this is all AFTER the server move.

    Yes, we are on an EES agreement, but the new PC's are going to need base licenses and yes, the interface is pretty similar, especially when I force 'classic' on them

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    All I'll say is they won't actively stop it working - but sods law is that it breaks at the worst possible time and the last thing you want to here is, please reinstall your server.

    Also - LOL!!! I keep forgetting that some heads and bursars "forget" that computers should be on a refresh program and treat them like a building.
    This is exactly how it appears to be seen here, but to be fair that is how it has been up until now!

    Kol.

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    36Degrees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koldov View Post
    We are pretty much exclusively 2003 server with XP clients (I know, I know but whatever, it worked and everybody was happy) for SIMS and FMS (I presume FMS is in the same boat). Although I'm not actually involved with SIMS apart from installing and upgrading (clicking some buttons) and know nothing really about SQL database stuff
    We're in the same boat. Taken me a long time to convince the powers that be that we need new domain controllers (current servers are 9 years old!). I mentioned SIMS support, Office 2010 and Windows 7 as part of the justification and they finally agreed so the order has been placed.

    However, I think they also heard "all machines will be W7 from September" when I have been repeatedly telling them most of our computers won't run Windows 7 and even sent them a colour coded spreadsheet showing them how old all of our servers, etc. are.

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    Koldov's Avatar
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    Well, there is a fair amount of scaremongering to drum up new business, a quick Google came up with these beauties:

    Capita SIMS support for Windows XP & Server 2003 coming to an end

    In particular "Capita have contacted all of the schools who use their product to let them know of the changes" ... No!

    And "Put simply these changes mean that any updates that are released for SIMS™ will no longer work with machines running Windows XP or servers running Windows Server 2003. Should any issues arise, Capita will no longer be able to fix the issue. This means that functions such as finance management, teaching timetables, pupil information, class registers and Ofsted requirements will no longer be available." Errrr...

    Also "The answer is fairly straightforward; the only option is to upgrade your Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 computers to at least Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is sadly not a simple process and requires specialist support.. Well...

    But they aren't the only ones:

    End of support for Windows XP, Server 2003 and Office 2003 Frequently Asked Questions

    And I quote "There is currently no direct upgrade route from Windows XP to Windows 7. If you are considering retaining your workstations they will need a full reload of the software".

    We do not recommend you upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to 2008 to avoid carrying forward any legacy problems. If you are considering retaining your server a complete rebuild will be needed providing it is of high enough specification (Windows Server 2008 needs a high spec machine in order to run efficiently you may need to purchase a new server).

    Of course all with offers to do these things for you at very reasonable rates, it appears the answers in this thread throw some doubt on these bold statements, but some schools have no other option...

    Kol.

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    CAM
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    It isn't down to Capita to go directly to schools, they provide documentation such as the roadmap to forewarn users of any potential problems and have done so for years. They have given a fair amount of warning regarding the drop of support which has been extended if anything. Do be aware that in just under a year's time (08/04/14), Microsoft will also be pulling the support rug from under Windows XP's feet and I guarantee that a ton of zero-day vulnerabilities will be released as soon as that happens.

    It's unpleasant that you have been caught out but you still have time to fix the issue. Remember SIMS doesn't need to run on pupil machines, so staff ones can be prioritised and upgraded now and the pupils at a later date, depending how long you fancy running the zero-day gauntlet when Microsoft take XP out the back and shoot it.

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    shadowuk (7th August 2013)

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    creese's Avatar
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    To be fair Capita can't be expected to spend time and resources on vista/xp and older servers when there are so many new OSs to test with new releases. SIMS is a really useful and powerful system (when used properly) if the schools wants it to run properly, they need to invest time and money in it.

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    - XP and 7 coexist fine.
    One caveat to this, whilst they do co-exist, remember they have a different 'my documents' structure so you may find that a single set up won't suit either - we had to do ours gradually and created separate OUs for XP and 7, ran different GPs and different scripts and moved people over as we migrated them. This isn't absolutely necessary, but worth considering. We tried without and found it was easier to spend a little bit of time on it than lots of time afterwards.

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    supawat1's Avatar
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    Can you tell us of what is your IT network like? How many clients computer and servers do you have? How many PCs that are actually installed with SIMS?

    I just want to know what sort of scale you are talking about?

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