The reason RM costs so much for some schools is that they buy everything with it including the hardware and support, that is the reason for all the extra cost.
@OP Have you outlined your issues to RM to see if they can help in any way? If you are prepared to dangle a 40k future investment under your account manager's nose (s)he might be able to work out a solution. If you are replacing your current servers then I guess the cost is for hardware and commissioning? Bear in mind that these servers could then be used for a future CC4 system and thus the hardware cost comes from your future 40k investment anyway is won't be an additional cost.
If the difference is then down to the commissioning cost of the CC3 servers to keep you going until the CC4 commissioning then they might be some wiggle room from RM on the cost. I find that account managers have a certain amount of play on the prices if you haggle and if you are close to a deal the senior managers can sometimes sort something out as well.
On a more general note, I do take offence at the suggestion that CCx is for people who can't run a vanilla network. I run CC3, CC4 and vanilla networks and am competent at each and know many skilled NMs and Techs who run CCx networks. Personally I enjoy running a CC4 network as it gives me more time to concentrate on developing other areas of the network than either my vanilla or CC3 sites allow.
webman (9th June 2010)
If you tell RM you are thinking of moving away then they will probably give you a lot of incentives to stay - certainly did at my last school when we ditched them :-)
RM will allow you to split the cost over 2 years, interest free (my account manager informed me of this this morning, as we are in a similar position). That makes the upgrade to CC4 much more manageable if it was just the initial price that's putting you off.
And as the others have said, keep haggling!!
Ranger for Networks is ok if you want a mix of both.
You get all the handy tools like being able to distribute software over networks with very little effort, teh ability to manage user accounts in a friendlier manner.
It depends on the size of your installation but i do loads of school installations and it takes me around 12 hours to get it all installed, workstations images, users created etc.
The biggest benefit i find is you can use a lot of the vanilla features of windows alongside it, it doesnt just totally take over your network like CC3 \ 4 etc
We used Ranger for a couple of years until I could get enough staff to go Vanilla. It's now owned by RM but as far as I know they are still a seperate entity.
Why not have a play with Learning Network Manager?
There is no ongoing development and no support available for LNM.
1) The terminology really sucks in this thread and I'm pretty sure none of you are running what's usually meant by "Vanilla" i.e. what you get on the installtion CD/DVD with no added extras. What everyone appears to be talking about is:
a) Do-It-Yourself (DIY) which has all the config and bits you added
b) Off-The-Shelf (OTS) which has all the config and bits someone else added.
And of course the OP want opinions on an OTS besides CC4.
2) If a DIY system require significantly more time to manage than a CCx then IT IS NOT A GOOD ONE and/or you're not nearly as clever as you think you are.
ijk (18th June 2010)
I dont really have anything at all 3rd party Server 2008 R2 has mostly everything I need all I think I have is WinInstall, UltraVNC thats it really
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