Network and Classroom Management Thread, To RM or not to RM, that is the question... in Technical; I would personally go to a Vanilla Network with using abTutor for general monitoring....
9th June 2009, 11:03 PM #16
I would personally go to a Vanilla Network with using abTutor for general monitoring.
9th June 2009, 11:03 PM #17
CC4 in its current form is pretty flaky still, CC4 with SR1 looks better but still suffers from many problems, Long Logons/Startup times to name but a few. Min station spec as commented is quite high 512mb is not really enough, your machines will need 1gb as a minimum and a decent processor. Builds are still not great in comparison to CC3 and much of the functionality and development work promised is still not there, i.e still know XP SP3 Vista SP1 to come with SR1 but things are slow comming.
9th June 2009, 11:31 PM #18
Also look at the costs. RM Connect is not a cheap product, and depending on how many stations you have Vanilla could be a lot cheaper. Also when you add on the fact Vanilla will run better on the lower end machines savings could also come from not having to spend money on hardware upgrades.
10th June 2009, 12:07 AM #19
If you are wondering what the "RM Support Contract" consists of, it is merely a first line helpdesk monkey who refers you to technotes on the RM website.
10th June 2009, 12:13 AM #20
I was also under the illusion that they dialed in for remote support and stuff where necessary?
Originally Posted by Oops_my_bad
10th June 2009, 12:24 AM #21
RM Support is very good and first line is just that they take your call log it and put you straight on to next line.
As for CC4 my advice I have given is this general rule new CC4 sites aka ones that are not cc3 upgrades work well.
So even if cc3 network I suggest it is done as part of a new server aka run two side by side. The point was made comparing with a vanilla is good one as everybody home grown solution will be different. As for if should go for RM or not well enough threads on that subject to last a life time. I would just say the same point I made in the pass it is "what is good for the school".
So what is good for my school is not good for your school etc.
Also please note I said school and not me whatever our own views of the software and the conceived lack of flexibility is irrelevant.
It is what is best for the school.
10th June 2009, 12:26 AM #22
Lasy July we went from an RMCC3 network back into the bosom of the LEA. Was it a good move? At the time I didn't think so - we were comfortable with our RM network, we were on the CC4 field trial (glad it didn't go through for us) and then the school took the decision to go back into the LEA for various reasons.
Will they regret that decision? I don't think so. Do I regret the decision? Not at all. I embraced the change and realised it was the best thing for the school to do.
We are now on the LEA WIndows 2003 network. The main thing was that the LEA had configured the AD over the previous three years so we just dropped in on the work they had done. They configured it all and we look after our OU. There are 15 seperate OUs (each for a comp school). We look after ours.
As others have pointed out you then have to look for tools that RM provide. Print management? Set it all up yourself - purchase your own print monitoring software. We bought PCounter. Monitoring pupils? We purchased Impero this year after using RM Tutor.
MSI and software deployment is a problem. Using pre-made MSIs is easy but learning to do your own is something I still have not gotten around to do. I'm finding a lot of tools out there. We are looking wt WPKG at the moment. It looks great.
We created a RIS server to mimic the RM setup as closely as possible.
I think it's great.
10th June 2009, 12:33 AM #23
I think it's a bit harsh to say they only provide first line. They have some very good second and third line support people. Also their developers dial in frequently to edit the postgress db.
10th June 2009, 12:56 AM #24
I wouldn't expect any IT Professional who had reservations about creating a network or performing a network migration on their own that they'd seek the advice elsewhere. Little-Miss contacted her LA, now she's asking on this wonderful forum. I respect individuals like her as she's asking for advice and we're all voicing our opinions and experiences managing networks.
Importantly: Without producing a pile of junk because you didn't have all the skills necessary for that process.
There is a lot of credible work/detail in CCx and speaking as a bit of a rocket scientist, I am 100% certain it would take someone months of wall-to-wall work to reinvent and debug the useful bits **from scratch** on a vanilla. And you'd still need to add 3rd party print management, tutors, better s/w deployment if required.
I have managed networks for quite a number of years. I know a lot, but I don't claim to know everything and I never will know everything. However, clearly I have enough knowledge and the expertise to deliver quality, reliable networks to schools because they look to me to resolve problems and support users accordingly.
I am not knocking the efforts RM have gone to with their product. It does have some advantages over a vanilla setup, but it is of my opinion that a vanilla setup outweighs what an RM setup can deliver. My solutions are always in the schools best interests as I always listen to their individual requirements and 'tweak' accordingly. The cost of going vanilla longterm without a doubt is cheaper. I have heard of some schools that are so tight with budgets that they've been unable to renew RM contract agreements. Not exactly a position I would like to be stuck in myself.
Thanks to Michael from:
Little-Miss (10th June 2009)
10th June 2009, 01:07 AM #25
It's also worth finding out what setups other schools are running - especially if they have close links to your establishment generally. That way, you may well be able to exchange assistance without having to call on RM Support / other-external agencies. Great as this place is, sometimes it's just good to be able to commiserate face-to-face with someone else that has first-hand knowledge of the particular issues you have!
10th June 2009, 10:04 AM #26
I'm speaking to the general case in this thread, but RM don't seem to have had too much trouble selling into primary schools (when those schools have the money) which previously had support of some kind. Why?
I wouldn't expect any IT Professional who had reservations
A vanilla setup **can** outweigh, again it depends on who made and maintains it. There's no argument that a decent one that doesn't charge per station and for deployable office packages etc. should be cheaper.
my opinion that a vanilla setup outweighs what an RM setup can deliver
Again I think the real rule was larger scales. Same code with the same bugs running on both. Not an expert on upgrades, but they have you rebuild all your computers and probably reset profiles(?). What exactly is carried over from CC3 then? Packages but they're not the reason. I have seen GPOs mentioned and I can believe that causes glitches if you were stubborn enough to want to hang on to them. Noting that I haven't seen a patch saying "for sites upgraded from CC3" then what else is specifically causing problems for upgrades?
general rule new CC4 sites aka ones that are not cc3 upgrades work well
Premise: Majority upgrade = secondary, Majority new = primary. A 5% chance of a problem hits a few PCs at a primary and may not be seen unless they happen of Friday morning when a tech is on site, whereas a secondary tech might get 50 complaints. Similarly for amount of stress on the FR server e.g. more PCs means more stress and more chance of routine trouble if memory usage is an issue.
10th June 2009, 10:16 AM #27
Couldnt agree more, CC4 has some fundamental issues and the general feeling i get is RM are now scampering trying to make the best of a bad product. Comparing a Vanilla setup to CC3 is a completly different kettle of fish, that is a mature product that works for the majority of sites small and large quite well.
10th June 2009, 11:09 AM #28
Wow, ok. This is my first role as a network manager, some members may be of the opinion that i shouldnt be messing with jobs like this if im not sure about what im doing, but thats how i learn. We all had to learn somewhere...
There's no way that im going to do this on my own, so im obviously going to need some sort of support.
My plan is to buy a new server and get a company in to set up the server to a school standard whilst i shadow them. RM was only an option as i've worked at an RM school i've had some experience of CC3 and liked it. Apparently if i use Link2ICT i've got a little more security with them as they can play mediator with the company ive chosen from them if things were to go horribly wrong.
So far i've worked out:
- RM is going to cost more in the long run
- Its a bit heavy for some older workstations
- Vanilla pretty much depends on how its set up
I know its not possible for anyone to tell me which one i should go for, and i completely agree its whats best for the school.
Our current setup is Winsuite, we have no sort of monitoring tools and no print management so i'm going to start from scratch there. I've been pointed in the direction of impero, which i shall investigate.
Maybe what im after is for someone to do some sort of comparison for me....
Sorry this is basically some sort of brain dump!! lol
10th June 2009, 12:09 PM #29
The one thing I can't really fault RM for is their support. It would be the biggest thing I would miss if we went vanilla.
Originally Posted by Edu-IT
10th June 2009, 01:41 PM #30
However it has to be said that you wouldn't need the same level of support with a vanilla system.
Thanks to t4ll1f3r from:
Oops_my_bad (10th June 2009)
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