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Network and Classroom Management Thread, From CC3 to......something else in Technical; Thanks. Apologies for jumping to that conclusion...
  1. #31

    webman's Avatar
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    Thanks. Apologies for jumping to that conclusion

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    mb2k01 (13th January 2010)

  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dexi View Post
    *snip* but the new head teacher wants all their computers to look like a home computer, not with RM Explorer making it look simplified or dumbed down.
    Stop using RM Explorer *shrug*... we don't use it at all at our place. Besides the logon screen / logout button, everything looks and behaves like a standard GPO-restricted vanilla machine as far as the end-user is concerned - fully CC3'd tho.

  4. #33
    mb2k01's Avatar
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    I've just gone back and read your reply to my earlier post, so can understand why you might have automatically assumed the negative rep was from me, but I can assure you it wasn't.
    If it's something an Admin can verify I'd be happy for them to look in to / confirm.

    It does look like my previous post touched a nerve though? Quite a passionate response!
    Can you honestly say that you've never had trouble installed software on an RM CCx network?
    You've never had to repackage MSI's or go hunting for RM specific MSI's?
    Last edited by mb2k01; 13th January 2010 at 10:08 PM.

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    webman (13th January 2010)

  6. #34

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    Yes, it probably did Will just put it down to jealousy of such a good team (bossman and I) running such a good network :P

    Yeah we've used RM Blueprints before, we've had to contact vendors before, and we've also experienced one or two hurdles; but those are minor in comparison to the rest of the software we have installed. The majority just work, some need minor tweaks, and some need re-building.

    Who, on a vanilla network, can honestly say they have had zero problems allocating/deploying software?

  7. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marci View Post
    Stop using RM Explorer *shrug*... we don't use it at all at our place. Besides the logon screen / logout button, everything looks and behaves like a standard GPO-restricted vanilla machine as far as the end-user is concerned - fully CC3'd tho.
    Yeah, I said that too. Apparently because the programs list still shows the programs in groups and not like home where you have to browse through all the manufactures to find the right software is a bad thing. I think it was more of a clutching at straws comment to explain why she wants away from an RM network, without the knowledge of what she is saying for a decent reason.

  8. #36
    mb2k01's Avatar
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    I don't think any one on any flavour network could honestly claim zero issues - besides, if that was possible we'd be out of a job!

    The flavour debate is often fuelled by personal experience, which is partly where I'm coming from -I've had a strong background in RM c2.2/2.4 to cc3 and also transitions to CSE and Vanilla from RM products. I've experienced first and second hand some awful support and shakey products / services.

    The second part of the debate is often cost. Again, because of my background I've come across multiple situations where there has been a choice to make, or advise upon. The fact is that side by side, a non-RM network (let's not even say Vanilla - pretty much any non-RM network!) will often be considerably cheaper than one with an RM stamp on it!

    The cost savings in many cases may be something you can therefor reallocate to services which you otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford - like Smoothwall for example (because another RM product, RM SafetyNet Plus, doesn't work the way you'd want it to either!)

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    What an interesting thread (apart from some of the b1tching).

    I am in a similar situation - looking for a replacement for CC3 that is not CC4 for schools which are planning on upgrading their systems this year.

    I look after quite a few Primary schools, and the CC4 SR1 schools are all unstable in one way or another, and take much more time to look after than the CC3 networks. RM Support is also rather poor. IMO CC4 is the Vista (or ME) of school network systems.

    I am surprised there is not many (if any) decent easy to use reliable solutions for systems for the primary school market, that are affordable and suitable. I am sure if someone was to develop one, they would make a small fortune out of it and a lot of happy people.

    I will have to look into CSE - it might be the solution I am looking for. Does it also provide a feature for imaging/building workstations and allocating MSI packages, and if not what are the people who use CSE, use for this?

    No one seems to have mentioned the most recent release of Ergo Free2Teach on here, and it is a product I have asked about on here before, but did not get many replies. Surely someone must have used it at some point?
    Free2Teach - Ergo Computing - Full-scale ICT solutions provider

  10. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommodoreS View Post
    I will have to look into CSE - it might be the solution I am looking for. Does it also provide a feature for imaging/building workstations and allocating MSI packages, and if not what are the people who use CSE, use for this?
    I'm not sure how accurate this is based on their current product as I left a few years ago, but they used to use a re-badged version of Ghost for Imagaing, and Prism Deploy for package creation / distribution.
    When we essentially de-CSE'd our network and went vanilla we actually continued using Prism and Ghost for a while as we paid support for those seperately.

  11. #39
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    Hi all,

    I just caught the tail end of this thread, and have a suggestion for the OP.
    The idea that the RM server hardware is creaking seems to be one of your main concerns - this would quite easily be fixed - You could buy a new server and then it would cost £995 for RM to then perform a hardware migration for you. On face value, nothing on the system would have appeared to have changed (unless you factor in the nice extra hard drive space, raid, etc, you'd put on the new server, etc.)

    RM Community Connect 3.1 (Server 2000 based) has planned support until at least July 2010.
    (if you have this, then I'd say consider all options... but... )
    RM Community Connect 3.2 has planned support to at least 8th April 2014

    So, if you have CC3.2 then you could upgrade your hardware via the hardware migration, and give yourself another 4 years to consider all your options.
    (which isn't a bad thing, given all the changes in OS, etc, at the moment)
    Your new hardware could be then used in the future for any solution you may consider.
    (so effectively, you're paying the £995 for the convnience of carrying on with a system you already know)

    I had a hardware migration carried out when I had a server moved from CC3.1 to CC 3.2 - despite a little apprehension (there's a lot of scare stories out there) it went like a dream - and the network from a user point of view looks and feels the same, bar a huge speed boost - the system feels more responsive)

    I personally am holding off from a changeover to CC4 or vanilla, as there's so much confusion with the new OS'es, etc. I'll wait for things to settle down, and carry on using a tried and tested solution.

    Hope my ideas help,

    Chris Norman aka Chunky
    RM Communities Moderator

  12. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chunky View Post
    Hi all,

    I just caught the tail end of this thread, and have a suggestion for the OP.
    The idea that the RM server hardware is creaking seems to be one of your main concerns - this would quite easily be fixed - You could buy a new server and then it would cost £995 for RM to then perform a hardware migration for you. On face value, nothing on the system would have appeared to have changed (unless you factor in the nice extra hard drive space, raid, etc, you'd put on the new server, etc.)

    RM Community Connect 3.1 (Server 2000 based) has planned support until at least July 2010.
    (if you have this, then I'd say consider all options... but... )
    RM Community Connect 3.2 has planned support to at least 8th April 2014
    The problem with this solution is that you then have again bought into RM again with RM Server Hardware and a RM Maintenance Contract for it.

    While RM may continue to sell XP compatible machines, it is going to get more difficult to obtain 3rd party machines with XP Licences, and I expect XP Drivers will stop being produced at some point. Only a problem if you buy RM equipment, but there is some much better and cheaper kit out there with better support.

    System development is also as important as support and RM seems to have stopped this when CC4 was released, apart from the Security Updates some of which are withdrawn shortly after they are released, and then releasing 3 months worth at once. I am sure they could have developed Vista and Windows 7 clients for CC3, but have not done so to get people to buy CC4.

    Now Windows 7 has been released, that seems to be the way to go, and I am going to be looking for systems which support this.

  13. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommodoreS View Post
    The problem with this solution is that you then have again bought into RM again with RM Server Hardware and a RM Maintenance Contract for it.

    While RM may continue to sell XP compatible machines, it is going to get more difficult to obtain 3rd party machines with XP Licences, and I expect XP Drivers will stop being produced at some point. Only a problem if you buy RM equipment, but there is some much better and cheaper kit out there with better support.

    System development is also as important as support and RM seems to have stopped this when CC4 was released, apart from the Security Updates some of which are withdrawn shortly after they are released, and then releasing 3 months worth at once. I am sure they could have developed Vista and Windows 7 clients for CC3, but have not done so to get people to buy CC4.

    Now Windows 7 has been released, that seems to be the way to go, and I am going to be looking for systems which support this.
    I, nor the OP saw any problem with his current solution - obviously he's using CC3 and also has CC4 in his considerations. I'm coming from an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of place - I don't like spending muh either, and am in pretty much the same boat, so that's what I did.

    From RM's Roadmap document, They will continue to support Windows XP Machines, and supply PCs with the option of windows XP licences until 2014 (which if you go for standard machines, aren't that pricy, and it's always good to haggle on prices with them anyway)
    The stopping of supply isn't only a problem if you buy RM equipment - no idea why you think that RM makes its own parts - they buy in boards from Tier 1 and rebadge on most stuff - hence guaranteeing their support. XP will eventually die off, but that's not to say it's impossible to buy new kit for it to run on.

    Technically, there was no way of supporting Vista on CC3, as the underlying methods used in the CC3 system differ from standard - that's all. To accomodate fitting in vista clients, RM would have had to remodel CC3 almost completely. Not a financially feasible option. (and no point possibly causing problems with a large base of CC3.x users when the CC4 platform was being developed for just that) When CC4 was released (personally, I'd have liked to have seen more testing) it did suck away some of the support - but that doesn't detract anything from CC3 and the solution it provides.

    I'm merely saying, in laymans terms for you, if you're running CC3.1, then yes, look at the alternatives now - but remember you may be rushing into a solution (if you make a snap decision). But, if you're running CC3.2, consider a hardware migration (you're going to be buying new server hardware anyway) and save on the knock on costs of liences for workstations, etc.
    I personally decided CC3.2 works well enough for me, and that CC4 isn't quite mature enough to move to - it's what works best for you. (and also what's financially viable)

    For example, the OP could save the money he would have paid for Ranger or CC4 or similar licences and puth it into the planned infrastructure upgrade. To me, it' was a no-brainer, especially in the current financial and technology development climbate (ie, the OS'es).

    It may be that you have the technical ability to create your own vanilla Win 7 / 2008 server network - but consider the time needed to create/retrain/manage the new system. (and also the current tech's technical ability, and that of the staff that will be using it) Is NOW the right time to make these decisions?

    Chris Norman aka Chunky
    RM Communities Moderator
    Last edited by Chunky; 22nd January 2010 at 12:47 PM.

  14. #42

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    @all:

    Just want people to know that yes there are differences of opinions on which platforms one should run with and there is always going to be a well debated discussion about who thinks there setup is the best, it is only natural for people to defend what they are used to.

    On a lighter note isn't it great that our community can still beg to differ in a responsible manner and not let it slip into gutter level, I often sit and ponder what we all would be doing without EG.

    @mb2k01:

    I like the cut of your jib young man, as you have said you have gained quite a lot of experience based on your time spent working on different platforms, I too have been Microsoft trained but only after I took up the role of technician with this school, I then took over a network which was on the point of collapse and brought it bang up to date at that time 8 years ago.

    Having looked at what was on offer at that time (CSE, Ranger, Toshiba, Microsoft Vanilla, RM and a few others) RM was the one product that stood out from the crowd for the management tools and as I was on my own at that time, I chose not to have my time taken up by finding other tools to manipulate the network with.

    8 years later (Still same servers) different workstations (not purchased from RM) the RM platform win2k sp4 is solid in it's performance. Login times for new profile (even when network fully loaded) 25 secs and if the student logs out and then logs back in it's 5 secs, they have remote access to their own work area, VLE (Moodle), staff have remote Sims and helpdesk 24/7/365 everything that they require to service their teaching and learning.

    I know I could have acheived this with a Vanilla platform but would have taken me far longer to realise with time restraints. I am Microsoft acredited and Cisco acredited and I am fully aware of what I could do with a Vanilla platform the only reason I run with RM is that it does what the school requires with the minimal of fuss and expense.

    In all the 8 years, our actual IT downtime is just 3 hours and all it has cost was the initial expense of the hardware 2 Servers and MIS Server and workstations (not purchased from RM) we have no SLA agreement with anyone as we do everything in house (no cost except our time) as the network has grown we have just added to using the knowledge we have gained both with Microsoft and RM.

    I don't think it comes down to the platform, but the person who manages it from the initial design of the network to the upgrades and migrations. We are all very knowledgable people in our own right and we all deserve a hearty pat on the back for the daily use of our networks from the customers who use them.

    I say good day to you all and keep up the good work have a good weekend.

  15. 4 Thanks to bossman:

    Chunky (22nd January 2010), mb2k01 (22nd January 2010), vikpaw (15th February 2010), webman (22nd January 2010)

  16. #43
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    @bossman

    I give thanks not only for the fair and balanced post, but for using the term "cut of your jib" which has often given me funny looks when used myself!

    It sounds like we were faced with similar paths, as I made the choice for CSE at a time when I was alone too. As my previous posts summarise, I made the choice for different reasons, some personal, but the majority for the good of the school at the time.

    There definitely isn't a right or wrong choice to make if it's RM vs. Other large / reputable supplier (or decent in-house team used to managing Vanilla from design upwards). It is all down to informed decisions and what works best for the school and the team. RM just didn't work for me or the school at that time, and it was certainly a school decision rather than just an mb2k01 decision!

    Although I can't really give much detail, I'm actually actively working with RM now in my latest role, but to replicate a lot of the positive aspects of our system to a new co-designed network installation co-implemented between RM and myself. They're not all bad and I can see a decent way forward on this project, but their off-the-shelf connect packages definitely aren't what I’d recommend to anyone looking at alternatives like the OP.

  17. Thanks to mb2k01 from:

    bossman (22nd January 2010)

  18. #44

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    @mb2k01:

    It's good to communicate at whatever levels and this is what makes people so special, it is kind of you to relay your thoughts in such a way and I thank you for this.

    Have a good weekend

  19. #45

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    I am surprised there is not many (if any) decent easy to use reliable solutions for systems for the primary school market, that are affordable and suitable. I am sure if someone was to develop one, they would make a small fortune out of it and a lot of happy people.
    Developing one isn't *that* hard - I've got an ace one I prepared earlier right here which has more attention to detail that most people have had hot dinners, but with no bloat whatsoever. The reason I'm not sipping cocktails on a beach between typing sentences is all the other stuff: To make your fortune with that system you need the document writers, the graphics designers, the marketing, sales, support blah-blah-blah and those things put costs up. Meanwhile RM get to amortise their costs across quite a large customer base i.e. charge a lot of people less than they would if it were a few.

    RM are obviously expensive compared to d-i-y (subject to your daily cost), but I don't think the system alone is that expensive. It's the other factors like the CC4 workstation hardware requirements i.e. they all need to be pretty good, the support that you really do need because yes that bloated software isn't "there" yet, the too-much-time you spend managing the management software instead of just using it.

    I am sure they could have developed Vista and Windows 7 clients for CC3, but have not done so to get people to buy CC4.
    Technically, there was no way of supporting Vista on CC3,
    RM made something called "Client Connect" ages and ages ago so you could run Vista on CC3. Don't know how well that worked, but you can find it on their web-site.

    there's so much confusion with the new OS'es, etc.
    Quite. I had an interesting time considering the options last summer, but left that above system at 2008+XP. Now is still too early, but by the summer it's probably got to be 2008R2+Win7.

    But if I was a school with a happy, meets-the-requirements 2003+XP right now, then I can see sense in wanting to stick with that until 2013 and moving to the next Windows (repeatedly rumoured to release in 2012). If nothing else, more of that really crap old curriculum software might have gone away and thus make the change less traumatic.



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