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MIS Systems Thread, Sims forced upgrade? in Technical; I would be happy if Capita were to move to MySQL. It does not seem that long ago that we ...
  1. #16
    Quackers's Avatar
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    I would be happy if Capita were to move to MySQL.

    It does not seem that long ago that we paid to move from MSSQL 2000 -> MSSQL 2005.

    Now we have to pay again to move from MSSQL 2005 -> MSSQL 2008

    Can somebody tell me what benifits this will bring to us? They would be better off putting the effort into MySQL and supporting OpenOffice too. Maybe then we would not have to upgrade SQL Server every 2-3 years and if we did cost would low.

  2. #17

    Michael's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how realistic this would be for SIMS as it's based on .NET. To my knowledge I've not come across an application based on .NET and uses MySQL. I'm not sure whether it's even possible. I suspect it isn't, so SIMS would have to be re-written. The amount of work involved would be huge, so I can't see it happening anytime soon.

  3. #18


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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I'm not sure how realistic this would be for SIMS as it's based on .NET. To my knowledge I've not come across an application based on .NET and uses MySQL. I'm not sure whether it's even possible. I suspect it isn't, so SIMS would have to be re-written. The amount of work involved would be huge, so I can't see it happening anytime soon.
    That was my point, they chose a development environment that was designed to pass costs onto the schools.

  4. #19

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    I am in no way a fan of capita, but it seems that capita can't win. When they don't keep up to date, everyone complains and if they try to keep upto date then yet again complaints. Software assurance is a good thing to have!

  5. 2 Thanks to TronXP:

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  6. #20

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    Can somebody tell me what benifits this will bring to us? They would be better off putting the effort into MySQL and supporting OpenOffice too. Maybe then we would not have to upgrade SQL Server every 2-3 years and if we did cost would low.
    AFAIK it's for the advanced reporting that 2008 brings with it.

  7. #21

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    I would be happy if Capita were to move to MySQL.

    It does not seem that long ago that we paid to move from MSSQL 2000 -> MSSQL 2005.

    Now we have to pay again to move from MSSQL 2005 -> MSSQL 2008

    Can somebody tell me what benifits this will bring to us? They would be better off putting the effort into MySQL and supporting OpenOffice too. Maybe then we would not have to upgrade SQL Server every 2-3 years and if we did cost would low.
    Your comparing a free version to a commerical version. You should compare MySQL Enterprise to MSSQL. Even if we don't use Microsoft for support, Capita does. Same goes for OpenOffice.

    If you want to go down the open source route, you're going to start looking at redoing it all in Java, but then you won't have support...

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    If you want to go down the open source route, you're going to start looking at redoing it all in Java, but then you won't have support...
    This seems to be an entrenched view in the MS world - if you use open source then you won't get any support -more FUD. This is plainly completely wrong, and needs putting straight and is probably an insult on all the companies out there selling support for OS software. If you want free support get on mailing lists or IRC and speak with the developers directly, no helpdesks there. If you can pay then I'm sure Sun would sell you support for it's Java platform, Red Hat for its enterprise OS .......

  9. #23
    Oops_my_bad's Avatar
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    At the end of the day, Capita *have* to select one set of infrastructure to base their product. I am by no means an M$ fanboy but it makes sense - Capita have the support and backing of Microsoft with a reasonable turnaround time for problems, and the same with us humble users - if we have problems there are so many resources out there for MSSQL, all for free.

    If it was down to a lot of "technicians" we would all still be running SIMS on NT4 and SQLv6. And then Capita would be getting blamed for being irresponsible and allowing schools to run insecure and unsupported platforms They can't win.

    Re the comment about the OS upgrades - it's not just MSSQL that's the villain here - the latest version of MySQL only runs on Windows 2000 and Windows NT upwards - no support for Windows95 or earlier then?

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    RE: Opensource comment
    I can image what SLT would be saying when your MIS is down because of bug in your SQL and you're waiting for a response to your email. Commerical solutions allow for full-time developers so you don't have to wait for a developer to finish there "9-5" job. It's pointless say Capita should use MySQL because of the cost. If MySQL was truely cheaper, Capita would be moved over. They are a business after all and there primary job is to make money.

    Also they are forced really to use Microsoft as it's what is primary used in the education sector. Becta are stating to push open source and non-MS stuff, but I would image Capita would go down the SaaS route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    . It's pointless say Capita should use MySQL because of the cost. If MySQL was truely cheaper, Capita would be moved over. They are a business after all and there primary job is to make money.
    That was the point, Capita could develop on a single postgres/mysql database and bundle that to schools with a web frontend, but it's cheaper for them to pass the costs of the .NET on to the schools - it saves Capita a few quid on development, but collectively it costs schools/LA a fortune in ensuring they have the correct .net/OS/database.

  12. #26

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    I can see SLG (SaaS) replace the SIMS client for most stuff. But resource heavy stuff should still be fat client, at least for now. I can't see them moving platform, just webby. Image the cost of getting rid of all the MSSQL people or having them re-trained, re-coding all the MS specific bits.

  13. #27

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    A few other things to remember with this upgrade ... Is your server powerful enough to run this (or your virtualised environment suitable). This can be a fantastic opportunity for the long asked for upgrade to be rolled in, and the existing box recycled to use as something else. If you also get your school to accept that your MIS server will need a regular refresh due to the demands placed on it by both the software and the users then it can help to get SLT to understand a model for sustainability.

    The MIS is going to be even more mission critical than ever ... make sure you have the right backend for it all.

  14. #28

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    We have just had some paperwork
    Has anyone actually read it? 1550 must be the work and the (full) SQL licence surely? Perhaps the scenario is that the school has forgotten it bought the SQL licence itself last time around and only paid county a few hundred for the installation and migration work?

    Don't forget to amortise the costs: SQL 2008 doesn't fall out of MS support until 2019. If it's going on a Server 2003 then that expires summer 2015, which gives you over 5 years before you have to change anything much, although as GD said it's a good time to check that the server isn't getting a bit creaky. [Capita could throw a spanner in this by demanding a new SQL and/or OS I suppose].
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 1st February 2010 at 11:49 PM.

  15. #29

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    I think the primary reason for the move is the transistion to a 64Bit SIMs platform.

    A 32-bit system can only directly access a maximum of 4 GB of memory.
    This limits the addressable memory space for Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 systems to 4 GB.
    As 2 GB is reserved for the operating system by default, only 2 GB of memory remains for SQL Server.

    To allow a 32-bit system to address memory beyond the 4 GB limit, a set of memory management extensions to the Microsoft Win32 API called Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) is used. (Enterprise 32bit Server Editions).

    Using AWE, applications can acquire physical memory as non-paged memory, and then dynamically map views of the non-paged memory to the 32-bit address space. By using AWE, SQL Server Enterprise Edition can address up to 32 GB of physical memory on Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and up to 64 GB of memory on Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition.

    Although AWE provides a way to use more memory, it imposes overhead and adds initialization time leading to weaker performance as opposed to 64-bit systems.
    Also, the additional memory addressability with AWE is available only to the SQL Server's data buffers. It is not available to other memory consuming database operations such as caching query plans, sorting, indexing, joins, or for storing user connection information.

    In contrast, SQL Server 2005/2008 (64-bit) makes memory available to all database processes and operations.
    Using the 64-bit version on either IA64 or x64 hardware, a SQL Server instance can address up to 1 terabyte of memory; the current maximum amount of physical memory supported by Windows Server 2003 SP1.
    This memory is available to all components of SQL Server, and to all operations within the database engine.

    Switching to 64bit SQL is going to resolve the increasing number of issues SIMs user have due to the limitations of the OS and Databases of existing versions.

    But, with all of the newly addressable memory and speedy databases how long before they fill it all with bloated modules and subroutines?

  16. #30
    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    In all of this debate we only appear to be looking at Capita because they have moved to SQL 2008. The other "main" products in the market also have a reliance on Microsoft and will also require the same updates in the future

    Bromcom
    "Bromcom MIS is a Microsoft .NET, predominantly web-based application that runs on the Microsoft Windows 2003 Server operating system with Microsoft SQL Server 2005"

    (and does this work as a true web app or do you need IE and the MS plugins?)

    Serco

    Currently use SQL 2005 and in an earlier post
    "In years to come we will be using more and more of features found in 2005 and 2008 such as stored procedures and management views, among other things"

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