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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Which Network Management Software to go for...? in Technical; I was lucky enough to take part in some work by Prof Trevor Kerry a few years back that looked ...
  1. #46

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    I was lucky enough to take part in some work by Prof Trevor Kerry a few years back that looked to that growing role of associate staff (this was pre-workforce remodelling and was regarded as *new and interesting* at the time).

    One of the things looked at was the idea that associate staff could be managed better ... by being managed by associate staff. It sounds silly but the idea and the emphasis on developing good policies and procedures relevant to the job was successful.

    One problem that was highlighted then, and is still relevant now, is how you measure the impact of what a member of associate staff does. It is difficult and it varies from school to school. You have initiatives that come out of Becta that get shot down, you have Business Managers and Bursars still being regarded as the people who just looka the books ... you have the idea that support staff have no impact on what goes on the classroom.

    Changing that perspective in schools is hard work ... and so far there are few schools that try things radically differently. I know there are those at various Quangos, many companies that provide support and services in schools and many LAs that truly do respect what we do ... but we do not have a big closed shop system for associate staff ... many admin staff are not in a union at all. A good number of support staff only join unions because their job comes under threat ...

    Part of the issue with the system is that, in general, it still works ... grades continue to go up ... kids leave school knowing more than when they went in ... and most of us are cynical about any major changes because we think it will be a disaster (KS3 tests, BSF .... )

    Trying to find somewhere to start is hard. I know that the comments are not personal ... I just wanted to put them into context and to try and show that this is not something new but has been going on for the last 9 years to my knowledge ...

    I keep saying that we need examples of good and bad practice ... we need to try and get case studies of schools where they have invested more money and it can be shown to have a positive effect in the classroom.

    I am open to any offers on this ... and believe me that when I say that there would be a lot of people interested in them.

  2. #47

    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    One problem that was highlighted then, and is still relevant now, is how you measure the impact of what a member of associate staff does.
    Yes this is a tricky area. But why is it important to measure the impact of support staff to teaching and learning? There are certain jobs (cleaners, site staff/caretakers and us IT people) that don't have an impact at all or only have a small impact on T&L - but that doesn't mean we are any less important. We do a vital role in supporting the people who teach.

    Like Bossman said, the system is archaic and only recognises the people infront of the kids.

  3. #48


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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    I am open to any offers on this ... and believe me that when I say that there would be a lot of people interested in them.
    IMO all these training/buying inappropriate stuff/etc problems would be solved if school managers were actually accountable to somebody -in almost all other sectors (including Local Authorities,NHS) good practice like CPD/Training/procurement/FITS etc are already in place, but in many schools they seem to be 'forgotten' and nobody takes responsibility. Example - If one of my technicians just randomly decided not to support $piece_of_new_software, there'd be very little that could be done - at an employment tribunal an employer couldn't repremand or sack somebody because they (the employer) hadn't offered appropriate training.
    IMO first steps would be to make FITS and Becta's technical specification mandatory and punishable by fines. Ofsted could inspect and the schools should have to provide examples of appropriate continued proffesional development training for support staff, procurement procedures etc. Like I said, local government ICT is already accountable to the government - why not schools. I appreciate BSF is trying to do all the things mentioned, but I think it can be done without BSF - but only with some accountability of management.

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Brand new here but this seemed like a good place to post.
    LanView Server and client are pretty popular in education as a free solution. It was recently deployed at the school where I work and the techies and admins like it but.....
    I can find little information on its actual bandwidth requirements and how much ARP traffic it actually generates being run administratively on more than one server/laptop at one time.
    Anybody use LanView? comments appreciated.
    Thanks and regards
    RJa

  5. #50
    budgester's Avatar
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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    And do people prefer to build linux boxes themselves or use Karoshi?
    My current build process for a Linux box is:

    Stick Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server on it.
    Do the boring things all Linux boxes need on them (samba, winbind, nscd, ntp).
    Surely thats what cfengine is for ?

  6. #51
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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by WITCH
    please note that the original questioner is a part-timer, like me, and would probably not have the time to suss out how to do it all on a vanilla, never mind the time to do it AND all the rest of the stuff in 12 hours a week.
    And as for training - it just doesnt exist for a lot of us, especially those down at the primary/part-time level.
    I am also Junior School, was 12 hours and now 15 hours (being a TA to all ICT classes included in these hours), sole tech support person. Minimal training, some at my own expense.

    We were Viglen Classlink, but changed to vanilla with Learning Network Manager in the summer when we bought a new server and additional workstations. When we first put out to tender for the new stuff, training and some kind of network management software were specified as a requirement. It was amazing to read, despite all of them visiting us to discuss our requirements, the wide range of solutions provided. One company expected to cover all my training needs in an hour and didn't think any network management software was necessary, as I could do it all in AD. And the term network management software covers a whole host of options, as reading this thread would seem to indicate.

    Would I go back to a setup like Viglen out of choice? No, because, as stated elsewhere, it is integral to the setup of the network, so you have to do everything their way and only with lots of time spent on their support line (that's putting it mildly ](*,) !). Is vanilla easy to use? No, but Edugeek is making it a bit more bearable. Learning Network Manager? Allows me to manage users easier, including adding users in bulk if I need it. Software is deployed with Ghost images. (It's a lot more than that I know, but that's the main bit I use). LNM sits on top of a vanilla setup and can be removed if I don't want it anymore. Like other software that is around.

    Phan, hang on in there! The going is tough, but you are only doing your best under difficult circumstances. I am constantly feeling out of my depth at the moment. Choose something that will help YOU for YOUR needs, but try and avoid tying yourself down to something you can't get rid of if you need or want to. Be prepared to make mistakes and don't feel guilty when you do. Primary techies are somehow expected to be all things tech support rolled into one on part-time hours and lower pay.

    And you won't be the first person in a school to spend money on a piece of software only to find out it doesn't do what it says on the tin!!

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Thanks to all for your replies

    Having read these and done further research, I am coming round to the idea of a Vanilla setup!!

    I installed LanView 3 last week and love it. It has many of the features of expensive NMS but without the expense!

    I am now looking into MSIs and remote (from the server that is) software deployment. This I understand is fairly easy with w2k3, but to be honest is baffling me :? Do I need to install something onto the workstations first - such as 'Support Tools'?

    Also what is Microsoft Management Console and should I have it?

    I need to look again at this 'Learning Network Manager'.

    So many questions and not enough time 8O

    And sorry if this should be a new thread!!

    Phan

  8. #53
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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    I'm currently working with a CC3 network and whilst I have my dislikes about it, most of the time i get on ok with it. Its easy to understand, easy to manage (so long as you are prepared to read the manual that comes with it) and just about anybody could manage network - it really is that easy.
    You don't have to go with RM's look - you can remove RM Explorer 2, change the desktop backgrounds, change the logon picture; and pushing out packages is a doddle - the only problem is when you realise there's not enough space left on the hard disk for it to install as it partitions your hard disk in half (for managed mode/local mode).
    I have previously worked with vanilla builds (in fact i set up about 6 different schools with vanilla builds) and to be honest, i find managing the rm one much easier as its easier to set restrictions/program sets/create new profiles etc etc.
    The only thing i don't like about rm is that when you do get a problem it can be quite hard to fix and also when packaging software you have to have a clean build for it.
    but all in all its much easier to manage. if you can wait til november they are bringing out cc4 which will support cross-platform xp/vista, and some of the management tools will be tweaked so that they are much more stable (or so i was told on wednesday by my account manager at rm).
    hope this is of some help to you. amy

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    I use Ranger. It wouldnt be an issue for me to go vanilla but I think ranger is a great middle road between CC3 and vanilla it doesnt cost anywhere near as much as CC3. Ranger Tends to make many things that little bit quicker.
    But to be honest I rarely touch Ranger anymore now its been configured other than creating user acounts and spying on kids.


    I have seen script logic used in Salford that looked a nice soloution too but they deploy it from the LEA. Its quite cheap too about 6pounds a licence but that was a few years ago.

  10. #55
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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    We are about to buy LanSchool and heres why: -

    Its simple to use. Why do we need all the fancy features (that confuse first time users - and take ages to learn) when our networks do most of these things already?



    BTW - Can we move the school manager / support staff stuff to another thread?

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    My school networks are set up like this

    winsuite( great 'user add' to active directory program )

    active directory for user policies ( its not that hard honestly)

    fortresgrand central contol and cleanslate- stops machines from getting messed up

    I use local default user profiles ( this is where the work is ) rather than network profiles/desktops.

    the main work saving is to have lots of computers built to the same spec so that images deploy well, and to make sure all software is bought with a site licence so that it can be installed on all computers.

    i believe that the shared computer toolkit from microsoft is almost as good as cleanslate, but i intend to do some testing soon.

    i also am going to try and test the universal imaging utility software to see if this can overcome problems with image deployment across differing hardware on machines.

    i dont use .msi files unless i cant avoid it, and i usually roll out 2 or 3 images (ghost) per year to desktops. I don't try and do something from a server if it can be done from a workstation, i get off my backside and get on with it.

    sorry if i sound smug, but after working in various places, i think i have a solid network setup.

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    My school networks are set up like this

    winsuite( great 'user add' to active directory program )

    active directory for user policies ( its not that hard honestly)

    fortresgrand central contol and cleanslate- stops machines from getting messed up

    I use local default user profiles ( this is where the work is ) rather than network profiles/desktops.

    the main work saving is to have lots of computers built to the same spec so that images deploy well, and to make sure all software is bought with a site licence so that it can be installed on all computers.

    i believe that the shared computer toolkit from microsoft is almost as good as cleanslate, but i intend to do some testing soon.

    i also am going to try and test the universal imaging utility software to see if this can overcome problems with image deployment across differing hardware on machines.

    i dont use .msi files unless i cant avoid it, and i usually roll out 2 or 3 images (ghost) per year to desktops. I don't try and do something from a server if it can be done from a workstation, i get off my backside and get on with it.

    sorry if i sound smug, but after working in various places, i think i have a solid network setup.
    I use the same policy for deploying images and use local user profiles and its very stable and works a treat.

  13. #58

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    My school networks are set up like this

    I use local default user profiles ( this is where the work is ) rather than network profiles/desktops.
    Why not use a mandatory network profile? As you say, there's work involved in maintaining local user profiles - that's just not there if you put them on a central server. If you really don't want a mandatory profile then at least put the default profile in the netlogon share - that will then get used on each machine so if you need to make changes you make one change on the server and at next logon all users pick this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    the main work saving is to have lots of computers built to the same spec so that images deploy well, and to make sure all software is bought with a site licence so that it can be installed on all computers.

    i also am going to try and test the universal imaging utility software to see if this can overcome problems with image deployment across differing hardware on machines.
    Are you using sysprep before you take the image? If you do then you ought to find that the same image will work on just about anything. We have a single image which has coped with a wide variety of motherboards over the past 4 years (earlier MBs were not properly ACPI if at all and needed a different HAL)
    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    i dont use .msi files unless i cant avoid it, and i usually roll out 2 or 3 images (ghost) per year to desktops. I don't try and do something from a server if it can be done from a workstation, i get off my backside and get on with it.
    Don't understand this at all! Why avoid MSI files? They're designed to make it easy to deploy software to as many machines as you need in a managed fashion. Not all software comes as MSIs and not all can be repackaged but I can't imagine trying to install machines without using MSIs! I'm also intrigued at the idea that you don't do the work from the server (unless you mean that you don't work at the server console but use a workstation). The idea of having to go to (say) 200 machines to do the same task is completely mad when all the machines are networked and can easily be managed through the network!

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Quote Originally Posted by srochford
    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    My school networks are set up like this

    I use local default user profiles ( this is where the work is ) rather than network profiles/desktops.
    Why not use a mandatory network profile? As you say, there's work involved in maintaining local user profiles - that's just not there if you put them on a central server. If you really don't want a mandatory profile then at least put the default profile in the netlogon share - that will then get used on each machine so if you need to make changes you make one change on the server and at next logon all users pick this up.

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    the main work saving is to have lots of computers built to the same spec so that images deploy well, and to make sure all software is bought with a site licence so that it can be installed on all computers.

    i also am going to try and test the universal imaging utility software to see if this can overcome problems with image deployment across differing hardware on machines.
    Are you using sysprep before you take the image? If you do then you ought to find that the same image will work on just about anything. We have a single image which has coped with a wide variety of motherboards over the past 4 years (earlier MBs were not properly ACPI if at all and needed a different HAL)
    Quote Originally Posted by farmerste
    i dont use .msi files unless i cant avoid it, and i usually roll out 2 or 3 images (ghost) per year to desktops. I don't try and do something from a server if it can be done from a workstation, i get off my backside and get on with it.
    Don't understand this at all! Why avoid MSI files? They're designed to make it easy to deploy software to as many machines as you need in a managed fashion. Not all software comes as MSIs and not all can be repackaged but I can't imagine trying to install machines without using MSIs! I'm also intrigued at the idea that you don't do the work from the server (unless you mean that you don't work at the server console but use a workstation). The idea of having to go to (say) 200 machines to do the same task is completely mad when all the machines are networked and can easily be managed through the network!
    Because you re-image your machines regularly you dont need to worry about the local profiles as they will be wiped frequently.

    MSI files are great if someone needs something then and there. But I prefer to keep as much of the install in my image. which is what i think farmerste was aluding to.

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    Re: Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Thanks for all your input on this topic.

    I have today ordered the RM CC3 Network. I am glad to have finally made the choice and feel confident that it is the right choice for our school.

    RM were very competetive on price, even coming in cheaper than one of the Ranger reseller quotes.

    Thanks again,

    Phant 8)

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