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Network and Classroom Management Thread, To RM or not to RM, that is the question... in Technical; I personally dont like CC3 (never looked at 4) infact our local infants school were so unimpressed they dumped them ...
  1. #46

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    I personally dont like CC3 (never looked at 4) infact our local infants school were so unimpressed they dumped them after about 6 months, they were having a complete nightmare with the workstation installs, roaming profiles, etc. It all depends on your available time. Also do you work there full-time or are you shared (ooh err) between several schools. Do you have full control or is there a ICT co-ordinator getting involved adding users, trying to do some of the management.

    There is nothing really that RM offer that cant be achieved in a vanilla setup even if you do have to go out and buy the occasional third party app for it.

    To put it simply, which do you have more of, time or money?

  2. #47

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    Hmm, i'm full time. ICT Co-ordinator does have some say but since ive been employed has left the network managment to me.

    I dont have much of either at the moment! Money or time! Spend most of my time fire fighting, I think though sorting out the network would free up a lot of my time, so putting it that way, i dont have a lot of money - at all!

    Should i be including 3rd party software in my calculations...are these needed straight away or just things that could be added when needed. Like i said we dont have any sort of print managment or what not so we're not losing out.

    Will have a look on the forum or might start another thread about recommended software.

  3. #48

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    As ever though it is swings and roundabouts. I have seen some questions on here and thought wow, we have it quite good as we have no problem with particular problem as it is covered. Or a security issue has come up and I've run the proof of concept and it immediately gets smacked down. Other things people have mentioned I have though that would be nice to be able to do.

    Alot of the problem people have with RM are historical from when it was a very closed system or from an attiude that RM is for those that lack skills or you lose control of your network. I guess the same for those that dispised Novell or anyother tool that helped out.

    As for the comment about training, everyone needs training, vanilla admin, rm admin, vanilla user, rm user. Can a user walk in and use an rm system without training? Of course! Can an admin? A competent one should be able to yes.

    But all I can reiterate is what others have said. Work out what is best for the school. Get RM in and they can give you a demo, see other schools, compare costings and work out if you have the time, access to the training and money to do either option. We did this between the jump from RM2.4 to CC3 & although we actually intended to go Vanilla we decided in the end that it would make more sense to go CC3. We will be looking at the same decision in the next couple of years & I have a strong suspision the decision will go the other way. We shall see.

    The only concern I would have is that currently CC4 does look a bit of a shambles. CC3 took about a year, year and a half to settle which is when we came in and we bypassed many of the horror stories we had heard about. We are staying put until roughly the same time frame asn then we shall see. That could sway your decision if you need to upgrade now.

  4. #49
    PEO
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    during a demo of CC4 the managemnt interface crashed creating a user. that says alot imo when its on one machine and its not supporting more than 100 machines. not a great selling point.

    and in comparison it is a great deal more expensive to go for compared to other products.

    and you will find this out when you get your quotes in. we have to get a minimum of 3 qoutes in when we spend over X amount of .

  5. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by PEO View Post
    during a demo of CC4 the managemnt interface crashed creating a user. that says alot imo when its on one machine and its not supporting more than 100 machines. not a great selling point.
    We went on a 3 day CC4 training course and got about 1/2 a day of use because it was so broken.

  6. #51

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    some members may be of the opinion that i shouldnt be messing with jobs like this if im not sure about what im doing
    Moi? As stated above I was speaking generally, but no I wouldn't be impressed if someone decided to learn how to do a vanilla domain with the IT at my daughter's primary, or the primary where t'other half is a teacher. One of several real and sadly repetitive answers for my CCx sales "Why?" is simply because that scenario hasn't worked out so well.

    thats how i learn. We all had to learn somewhere
    Yes and I learnt this as I went along myself, however I had some serious related qualifications/experience, and there were no training courses or exams for NT 3.1. These days it's easy to find training and it's also easy to practice on virtual machines rather than risking production systems. Question: Real-world IT jobs typically require exerience/qualifications of relevant core skills for good reasons. Why should IT in schools be a special exception?

    Speaking to you personally, if you don't have the experience then get say a Server 2008 course under your belt and then decide.

    Package allocation trickle is just BITS and can be done with a vanilla system.
    SpecOps Deploy uses BITS and MSMQ (which is also important to CC4). Background deployment isn't something you can reasonably do with a bit of script wrapped around bitsadmin though.

    CC4's BIT's package alloaction doesnt work nearly as well as RM make out nor does the package assigment overview.
    Don't know about anyone else, but for me the fundamental problem is that they require significantly more of my time than CC3 does. And I really resent that "change the package metadata e.g. space required on C:" = "new version of package" thing, the tracking where it came from and so on - an overdesigned solution to problems I haven't ever run into (perhaps they make sense for CC4-in-managed-BSF-mode, but I'm struggling to see why).

    If RM is so good why do very few (if any) non educational establishments use it?
    Because it's got education written all over it (default groups, policies, folder structures and so on)?

    Almost any tech support company can help you out [with vanilla - Ed.]
    Don't think many would be thrilled at the prospect of taking one over and maintaining it (as opposed to redoing it to their standards) though.

    There is nothing really that RM offer that cant be achieved in a vanilla setup even if you do have to go out and buy the occasional third party app for it.
    I think the main bit's you can't do natively or with other MS freebies are:

    -Flexible start menu delivery (CC4 does that in the background too).
    -Better than native s/w deployment.
    -Printing control.
    -Privileged users.
    -Make/Restore images

    CCx also has one GUI rather than being some diverse collection of apps, script etc. and of course you can't compete with the manuals and documentation.


    Or a security issue has come up and I've run the proof of concept and it immediately gets smacked down
    That's part of the credible detail I had in mind and they have done a reasonably serious job there. But like most 3rd-party s/w CC3 and CC4 have their own vulnerabilities.

    A lot of the problem people have with RM are historical from when it was a very closed system
    CC4 is a lot more closed/proprietory than CC3.

    xp which as much as ppl try to forget this - support etc is coming to an end.
    In April 2014! The question is whether h/w in a couple of years will still boot XP.

    Hmm, i'm full time
    Vanilla then (but still do some training). Part of the justification for CC in a primary is that you don't need full-time support to run it and basically trade wages for CC licences. When CC4 is stable which may or may not be SR1, I'd be surprised if you found more than an average of days work a week to keep it ticking along.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 10th June 2009 at 10:22 PM.

  7. #52

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    I do understand what you're saying, but im also not some random person that's walked in off the street.

    Ok, they're not Server qualifications but i am an MCDST and an A+ Technician or whatever it is. My next step is some is some sort of server qualifications.

    Also im not planning on doing this on my own. I shall be paying for the server to be set up whilst i shadow the engineer. This isnt something i've decided to do on a whim, i've had an LA consultant in to talk through what i was planning and a lot of thought has and will be put in to this now and until it is complete.

  8. #53

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    Little-Miss, have sent you PM.

  9. Thanks to Lee_K_81 from:

    Little-Miss (11th June 2009)

  10. #54

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    im also not some random person that's walked in off the street.
    You wouldn't be here if you were. The bit I didn't properly appreciate is that this is fundamentally about choosing between:

    a) Windows with RM's standard config & management tools
    b) Windows with ANOthers standard config & possibly scripts & probably one or two 3rd party tools.

    As in you would not be doing the inital domain config yourself.

    In that case server training isn't so urgent, but I'd keep that on the to do list anyway. The only key point for both then is do you get sufficient documentation and training on the ongoing management? What's the support like if something goes wrong in "their" bits. etc.

    Could be wrong, but around here I believe RM don't sell a primary a system unless the school's routine support person has been trained in or is signed up to a CC management course.
    Last edited by PiqueABoo; 11th June 2009 at 12:47 PM.

  11. #55

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    No rm will sell a primary system to primary tech scheme or no tech scheme. They do have primary tech scheme but will sell an rm system to someone not on it. Mainly aimed at those who support multiple schools.

  12. #56

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    You need to look at the long term view for the school (not for you). If you go vanilla, everything you do will need to be documented so that whoever takes over from you can walk in and manage the network from day one, this will probably be one of the most time consuming aspects of the job.

    You will also need to consider that as the network grows, there will be more and more calls on your time and as such, at some point the school may need to get in a tech to solely manage the network. Can they afford this?

  13. Thanks to HarryMonkey from:

    Butuz (19th June 2009)

  14. #57
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    Whilst I have never used / abused / managed an RM network there are alternatives to it, one of the Network Managers at another school near me, has inherited a Ranger network, which he is in the process of moving away from.

    Or rather he is able to change the Group Policies, etc, beneath the Ranger system, to improve it, and if he does manage to break something he always has the backup of being able to just revert to the Ranger system.

    I don't know if you would be able to do the same with RM, although I suspect not.

    If you want to have a quickly set up system that has most of the security running, etc, then Ranger/RM /whomever else would do that. ANd then ideally you could subvert things out of the managed network onto a Vanilla-style one, perhaps keeping some of the stuff from Ranger (et al) that you want, but dumping others.

  15. #58
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    Interesting thread, we're in the same sitatuion our CC3 network is due for replacement, we are looking at CC4 and a plain setup from our LEA.

    I'm at two schools, one already has the LEA Plain network - for a year now - and as people have said it has some advantages over RM, and CC3 has advantages over the plain one.

    Just to say it again, the decision needs to be taken which is best for the school. The CC3network I'm barely on site for 15hours a week, so if we go to a vanilla setup I could be spending the best part of that keeping the network in check and have less time for everything else I need to do such as MLE training, supporting lessons as needed etc.

    It also means that if I am away for whatever reason, another member of staff can take hold of the network and do basic implementation of various tasks thanks to the management console. They wouldn't have a clue how to do it on a vanilla setup.

    I find at the end of the day the decision will need to be taken by the Head & ICT Co-Ordinator, I can give pros/cons of both systems, but they need to decide what is best for the school and the daily teaching and use of ICT rather than what is best for me.

    Even on the vanilla setup, a year in, we are still tweaking GPOs and settings to stop the kids finding loopholes in the system - admittedly the children are younger on the CC3 site - but we've had less security issues in the 4 years of CC3 than in a year on the vanilla setup. Although not saying thats a selling point for RM, part of it is down to the setup and configuration of the server initally!

    Also it might come down to support, our LEA has a bad reputation for support, they only have something like 8 support technicians and it can take hours, sometimes days for someone to come to the site. Ours are very good at the "oh you have a go, and if it doesn't work we'll send someone out" attitude. They also supply Dell computers, the other issue is that Dell's technical support - although improving - can be an issue too. Seems to depend who you get and what level of service support you have with Dell.

    I find the issue for switching also comes down to software, at the CC3 site they use a fair bit of RM software, if they want to continue using this and buy licences for the software it gets expensive and brings up the cost of the vanilla network.

    I've calculated that RM would cost around 12,000 for our site including support and licences. The vanilla setup on hardware is just 8000, but by the time you've added the LEA support (1000) plus potential software licencing for some RM software (2000 or so) we are pretty much near the same price point!
    Last edited by magicpatch; 19th June 2009 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Updated

  16. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by User3204 View Post
    he is able to change the Group Policies, etc, beneath the Ranger system, to improve it, and if he does manage to break something he always has the backup of being able to just revert to the Ranger system.
    Not sure if you mean that in coming away from Ranger he is able to take this course or that in general day to day he does this. If the former then no, RM is fairly well entrenched & I wouldn't try removing it as it could leave all kinds of legacy bits. If the latter then yes that is possible as we do it fairly regularily, best example was when RPC or something similar went tits up on our main server, this meant we could not log on to the server & the RM tools were flaky, so we fired up AD and could manage everything no problems. We also adjust some GPOs and work on parts of the AD.

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    After a long time to think about it, we've taken the decision to leave RM behind and go for the standard setup from our LEA. Although its far from perfect, its a lot less resource hungry than RM and I'm still tweaking the other LEA setup a year after it was setup, so although it will take longer to get right we can eventually tweak it to our requirements via GPOs rather than being forced what RM think is right for us.

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