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MIS Systems Thread, support for independent school in Technical; I am looking for a 3rd party support company to do sims updates and installs. Current one has gone and ...
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    support for independent school

    I am looking for a 3rd party support company to do sims updates and installs.
    Current one has gone and disapeared on me

    any suggestions

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    I am looking for a 3rd party support company to do sims updates and installs.
    Just for one school? Is there some problem with doing it yourself? If it's a case of installing/updating SIMS on workstations being a palavar then you could switch to using SIMS via Terminal Services, then there's no more workstations to install or update.

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    David Hicks

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    sims

    The reason I wont touch it is every time something goes wrong and independant schools have no LEA to fall back on. So becuase of time and the fact sims is rubbish i would rather pay someelse to have the hassle. When it goes wrong as it has several times they can stay till they fix it and i get to go do something more useful

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    The reason I wont touch it is every time something goes wrong and independant schools have no LEA to fall back on. So becuase of time and the fact sims is rubbish i would rather pay someelse to have the hassle. When it goes wrong as it has several times they can stay till they fix it and i get to go do something more useful
    If you mean rubbish-as-in-crashes then I've not had any problems. We're running SIMS on a Windows Server 2008 VM with 1GB of RAM assigned and it's been nice and reliable. If SIMS is conking out on a regular basis then that might be your hardware - it might be cheaper (and less bother) to upgrade your server.

    If you mean rubbish-as-in-lacks-features-your-users-want then there's not a lot you can do about that. You can sort everything from a server point of view - speed, backups, etc - but you can't actually use the program for people.

    I've found SIMS support to be very good when I've had to contact them. You raise a problem ticket on their website and someone calls you back pretty soon, and the support staff are actually able to help (they can generally remote into your machines to help you out).

    If it's any help, just for price comparison, it cost us £1,000 + travel expenses per day to get a Capita consultant in one time when we wanted to move SIMS between servers. Just handy to know if you're comparing prices.

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    David Hicks

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    Oops_my_bad's Avatar
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    Indeed, people with SIMS problems are usually those with bad setups. Under normal circumstances the software works as intended!

    No sims guru will be of use if you have fundamental problems with your network

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    We used to pay Enterprise in Leeds as well as Sims for support when I first arrived at this school.

    Pretty pointless having two contracts so I cancelled Enterprise and went for Capita... the main benefit for Enterprise was the training was less than half the price of Capitas training courses.

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    enterprise

    Yes thats who we used but they are gone now
    training was cheap and they took crapita update and wrote patches for them so they would just work.
    We can never get the solus update to go through the firewal so man used to come with usb hard disk with all tools and updates on and do all updates in a couple of hours, then help sims users with problems well worth the money when it frees me up. I dont have to pay either as it comes out of seperete budget so why give your self hassle, we have a complicated setup which sims does not like.
    clustered servers 64 bit with SAN storage.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    ...and wrote patches for them so they would just work.
    Sorry?

    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    We can never get the solus update to go through the firewal
    It runs over HTTP, you can get on the internet? There is a bug with Squid (proxy) which breaks solus if you mean proxy rather then firewall.

    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    clustered servers 64 bit with SAN storage.
    How is that complex? You've just described most central hosting setups

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    Matt40k

    How is clustered servers with central SAN complicated? Do you have a SAN? When it works not but when it goes wrong very, and to be honest who uses clustering? from my experience in Leeds working for Enterprise as a senior engineer or rather used too i didnt come accross any clustering and dont believe such a solution is necessary (There was the odd nutter who had a silly setup but in the long run is not doing the school any favours when they throw their teddy out of the pram and go off on stress). How often do you experience failure and would require clustering to ensure 99.9% uptime. in the event of complete failure you can get the app working in no time.

    imiddleton25

    Sounds like you do have a complicated setup and if my memory serves me right i can remember the individual who probably came out and consulted at your school from Enterprise. Do you still have support for your SAN/ Clustering? If you need further consulting please let me know as i may be able to put you in touch with companies or assist myself. You may have networking issues, certainly resolving any issues with your firewall to allow Solus to update would save you money for people having to come out.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    ...and wrote patches for them so they would just work.
    Sorry?
    You sound incredulous, but I can back up the fact that many Capita update packages have bugs. Many has been the time when the SOLUS has failed to apply a patch, and I've unpacked the .ZIP file and run the SQL script manually, with no alterations, successfully. Some of their custom tools also have little if any error handling, so anything unexpected causes an exception.

    The SQL migration tool is a good example of this. The SQL FMS database schema has additional key constraints that were either not present or not enforced in the old schema, and the migration tool just assumed that the data would conform to the new schema. In our case, it didn't - we had some duplicate values in a field that was now being enforced with a UNIQUE constraint. This meant the migration tool crashed with a nondescript exception, and I had to run a trace on the SQL server just to find what statement was running when it crashed, deduce from that what the problem was, then hunt down and resolve the conflicts in the data manually. So, I can completely understand where people are coming from when they say that Capita updates don't always work properly.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    We must be very lucky here then ...........

    Or is it that out ICT Services team are very efficient ........... ?

    Most of the time I run the upgrades without even having to refer to them (and I ain't technically minded!). The only issues I have are those that are known about anyway and the info is on SupportNet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by littlehoughton View Post
    Matt40k

    How is clustered servers with central SAN complicated?
    You've miss quoted me. I stated that clustering server with a central SAN isn't a complex thing, it's not unusal to see these days in the education sector.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imiddleton25 View Post
    I am looking for a 3rd party support company to do sims updates and installs.
    Current one has gone and disapeared on me

    any suggestions
    Hi,

    Even though you are an independent school have you contacted your LA support team. In Warwickshire we’re always happy to help out our independent schools even though they’re not in the LA (for a small charge). Also as you purchase direct from Capita you’re already paying for a support agreement from them. Are they not giving you the support you need? If they’re not, you should speak to them about it.

    Ian.

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