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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS + Terminal Server in Technical; DrCheese We've only recently started to do online registration via sims and the hassle of running 150/200 installs of sims ...
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    DrCheese We've only recently started to do online registration via sims and the hassle of running 150/200 installs of sims on teacher PC's fast became apparent. Impatient teachers clicking cancel whenever an upgrade is installing, errors updating when certain user perms are set etc. A move to just a few TS servers would fantastic, then we only have to worry about updating 2/3 systems instead of the 150.
    To me sadly you started on wrong foot - started with a badly written application and you are trying to put it right without realising that then you are exposing yourself badly another way.

    1. If you look around hard enough there are online registration software that do not require the hassle of 150/200 installs.

    2. Using TS to access admin from classooms: Have you considered data security risks by allowing 150/200 PCs accessing your admin domain via TS???

    Good luck!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    To me sadly you started on wrong foot - started with a badly written application and you are trying to put it right without realising that then you are exposing yourself badly another way.

    1. If you look around hard enough there are online registration software that do not require the hassle of 150/200 installs.

    2. Using TS to access admin from classooms: Have you considered data security risks by allowing 150/200 PCs accessing your admin domain via TS???

    Good luck!
    1. Yes, there are other packages but that is beside the point.
    2. Why do you assume they have a split network? We have SIMS installed on our teacher PC's which are members of our single domain...

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    @Localzuk

    Tiger has concerns over the security of flat networks. This has been debated before and the issue of access TS to work on data is a concern to him. The solutions proposed involve people coughing up for expensive software, tying you into a particular supplier that has been known to be challenged over Patents and their treatment of schools ... erm ... much like a certain other company </cynic>

    In reality he has a valid concern but in the balance between security and usability many of us will opt for usability within the framework of the funding we have, the resources we have access too and the instructions from people higher up the chain.

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    localzuk: Why do you assume they have a split network? We have SIMS installed on our teacher PC's which are members of our single domain...
    On the contrary, I don't -hence the risks. For TS to work, Classroom PCs (on the curriculum network) must be on a flat network with Admin servers. This is bad news!!

    See the Computer Weekly article this week on SQL attack vulnerability from insecure PCs - page 28 & 30. Drop me a PM if you want a copy.
    Last edited by Tiger; 28th April 2008 at 10:39 PM. Reason: typo

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    On the contrary, I don't -hence the risks. For TS to work, Classroom PCs (on the curriculum network) must be on a flat network with Admin servers. This is bad news!!
    Not true if you use something like SGD sat in between both networks. This way you can control who, what why and when the admin network is access from the curriculum side.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Yep .. using SGD or other similar technologies you don't even have to have them on the same network at all ...

    If you can afford it and have a decent company to support it.

    (ps The order should have been faxed over, Andy) ;-)

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    We had our networks split and only teachers PC's could see accross to the admin domain which students couldn't log onto. Then one day the LEA told all schools that they had to flatten their networks. OH

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    One important thing for us to consider with running SIMS on an x64 OS is that the OS can't run any 16bit app.

    These include the older Launcher modules (we still use Personel for really old info) and also Nova-T (Timetabling) to name but two.


    Frank.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Nova 6 and personnel 7 are no longer 16 bit ... I honestly can't think of any section of SIMS that should not work on x64 ... if there is we haven't found it yet.

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    GrumbleDook: Yep .. using SGD or other similar technologies you don't even have to have them on the same network at all ...

    If you can afford it and have a decent company to support it.
    OK - so how much are we talking about??

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    Are we just talking about the use of SGD or talking about the whole Thin Client setup with Terminal Servers.

    We went for a solution that fitted a number of objectives but as part of a long term approach (ie 5 years+) to ensure sustainability as well as flexibility.

    At the end of this summer we will have a total of 140 thin clients, 7 terminal servers (2 for staff and 5 for students), Sun Rays and SGD via 2 Sun servers.

    We are then adding a change to our WLAN to enable 2 separate WLANs. The interesting one in this project is the 'hotspot' that students can bring their own devices in and after registration will have all web traffic redirected to a specified server on 443. This server runs SGD and after authenticating the user has access to the relevant TS box over 443.

    All in, this will have set us back around 50,000 include network hardware (inc support for 3 years), the servers, the clients, the installation and management. The annual management costs are around 3000 but that also includes warranties,

    It then allows me to have any wireless device to connect to our network and access the TS via SGD, the staff accessing the WLAN via a different SSID (with a different security credentials to go with it all) and can access SIMS via SGD rather than having to have it installed on their laptops. It also give remote access to files and software from home for staff and students.

    I can then add devices to the network at a reduced price ... and the devices I do add will last longer than our present 5 year planned refresh.

    This is before we talk about reduced power requirements saving money ...

    Whilst this does not satisfy certain aspects of certain security regimes (NSA best practice recommend that all traffic between the delivery device and the reading device is encrypted to silly level and relies on the reading device having a software client to manipulate the data in such a manner that the memory stack couldn't even be interpreted to get information from it ... but those folks are plain paranoid!) it does for us.

    Over all we expect a year on year cost saving of 6000 for years 2-4 of the project, 3000 in year 5 (server refresh means that the initial purchase may require additional servers for capacity over and above that planned) but 10000 to 15000 for subsequent years depending on damage to clients. This is outside of software refresh which is part of a slightly separate strategy, but software requirement may force earlier server refresh (either as upgrades or complete refresh).

    I am presently working on a full set of analysis sheets on our projected 5 year purchasing and refresh policy so some figures are a little rough and ready, but seemed to be in the right magnitude.

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    GrumbleDook: Are we just talking about the use of SGD or talking about the whole Thin Client setup with Terminal Servers.

    We went for a solution that fitted a number of objectives but as part of a long term approach (ie 5 years+) to ensure sustainability as well as flexibility.

    At the end of this summer we will have a total of 140 thin clients, 7 terminal servers (2 for staff and 5 for students), Sun Rays and SGD via 2 Sun servers.

    We are then adding a change to our WLAN to enable 2 separate WLANs. The interesting one in this project is the 'hotspot' that students can bring their own devices in and after registration will have all web traffic redirected to a specified server on 443. This server runs SGD and after authenticating the user has access to the relevant TS box over 443.

    All in, this will have set us back around 50,000 include network hardware (inc support for 3 years), the servers, the clients, the installation and management. The annual management costs are around 3000 but that also includes warranties
    Wow - 50,000!!!

    How much is just SGD?

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    @Tiger

    That all depends on what you want.

    To put you in the picture, we supplied the solution for GrumbleDook.

    There are a number of factors governing cost. It is a modular solution so you can start small and grow it easily as funds and requirements dictate.

    The factors that govern the costs are:

    1. Licensing options (2 main ones for schools)
    2. Concurrency requirements
    3. Who is going to use (Just Staff, just students or both)
    4. Tin costs (We use Sun servers which are buy 1 get 1 free on Matching Grant. Last application has to be with Sun by 20th May ordered by 20th June)

    If you want some detail shout and we can look at it based on your specific requirements

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    Contacting Schools who use SIMS.net in a Terminal Server Session

    I'm finding it hard to convince our Director of Studies that using a Terminal Server is a good idea.

    We have a split network and He wants Teachers to start to access SIMS.net on the Admin network which is behind a Firewall. The best way I can think of is to have a Terminal Server behind the Firewall with a Port redirection allowing RDP's to the Terminal Server (rather than removing the domain on the second network and then making a single domain)

    Would anyone here be willing to speak to me or our Director of Studies about your experiences with SIMS.net in Terminal Sessions?? From this thread I have gathered it needs 4GB of RAM and 30 connections per server. His main concern is that SIMS.net if fragile and Captia have told us that there is no support available for Terminal Servers.

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    Thats interesting that Capita say there is no support for TS. I was speaking to our Project Manager at Capita who told me that he believed that pretty much the whole of oxfordshire are using a TS solution to access SIMS - don't take my word for gospel - thats what he said!

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