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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Which Network Management Software to go for...? in Technical; Hi All I'm an IT Technician at a Junior School. We have 80 machines, including laptops and teacher laptops and ...
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    Which Network Management Software to go for...?

    Hi All

    I'm an IT Technician at a Junior School. We have 80 machines, including laptops and teacher laptops and one server.

    We plan to buy a new server and are looking into Network Management software, at the moment we run Windows Server 2003 'vanilla' and all the workstations are XP Pro.

    We have had quotes from RM and Ergo (interestingly no-one on here seems to mention Ergo). The money is potentially there for either of these, and so far RM are the favourite. I feel very reluctant to go with RM, basically 'cos of the cost, but also I've heard that several schools in the area are taking RM out! I worry that we will spend alot of money for something we can get cheaper and maybe better.

    I have read about Viglen and Ranger on this forum and the Ranger Primary looks particulary appealing - the fact you install it yourself appeals and there seems to be alot of features that you would pay extra for with RM.

    I'm a little unsure about Rangers software deployment method, it doesn't use MSI files but seems to take images or something similar.

    Does anyone have any experience of any of the mentioned Management software or any info at all that could assist in the decision of which to choose.

    I feel I'm going round in circles and getting nowhere, and there is pressure to get on with it - but I don't want an expensive mistake!!

    Thanks

    Phan

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

    Removed Viglen Classlink and RM from several primary schools here. They are all running vanilla w2k3 based networks now.

    What features of a 'managed' solution do you feel you need that are not provided by a vanilla w2k3 setup?

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

    Geoff asks: "What features of a 'managed' solution do you feel you need that are not provided by a vanilla w2k3 setup?"

    I would like everything to be easier!!

    In particular:
    software deployment, I have never got to grips with MSIs in w2k3 plus I like the idea of being able to pick and choose where to deploy and when.
    permissions and shares
    monitoring network usage
    managing accounts and profiles
    remote switch off

    I have only a very basic working knowledge of w2k3 and feel I our network has survived through hard work and luck - I would like more organisation and the feeling that I am in control!!

    Phan

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

    All the points you've raised are solvable with a vanilla network. If you wish to go through specific examples of problems your having I'm sure the edugeek crowd can help you through them.

    Personally I think the pot of money you have would be better spent on training you up so you were more comfortable with the W2k3 system you already have. Rather than buying a prepackaged solution.

    However if you are still dead set on going with a managed system like RM or Viglen offers there are several users of the site who can offer you their experiences. russdev for example has a RM based network.

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

    phantomphan: I have run RMCC3 for 5 years now and could not be happier. It does everything i want it to do and more plus the service from RM is second to none. Across the road from me there is a Catholic school who have to date had four systems put in place including vanilla 23k and they are now looking to put an RM solution in place. As a measure of the RM system just have a browse through this forum and see how many problems are RM related i think you will find vanilla 2k3 problems awash. This could be because there are more vanilla systems than RM but you get my point. Anyway you decide as it is you that will have to run it. If you want any more info just PM me.

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

    NetSupport Manager for me. It does everytrhing I could want nad more +you get NetSupport School (for teachers to manage classes) included for free. Go to their site and get a free trial version. Its by far the industry benchmark for such systems.

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

    Thanks for your replies guys,

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    Personally I think the pot of money you have would be better spent on training you up so you were more comfortable with the W2k3 system you already have. Rather than buying a prepackaged solution.
    Trouble is that then the knowledge stays or goes with me. Plus the emphasis would be on me to retain the information in my rapidly shrinking brain, where it would be vying for space with husband, children and mother!! :cyclopsani:

    Quote Originally Posted by bossman
    As a measure of the RM system just have a browse through this forum and see how many problems are RM related i think you will find vanilla 2k3 problems awash.
    I'm not knocking RM, I have a lot of respect for their product and company, but I'm worried we are 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'. For such a small network, do we really need all that RM has and the associated cost?

    Phan

    PS I only work 12 hours a week ](*,)

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

    phantomphan, the big benefit of RM CC3 is that it is a packaged product which works without much tinkering and is therefore very supportable and reliable as well as easy to manage.

    The down side is that it is expensive, I think about £90 per workstation plus all the server and network support.

    It's down to your priorities.

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

    The CC3 client licences are cheaper if you buy in bulk (50 at a time I think and it goes down to about £70 but don't quote me on that )

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

    I have true vanilla and the primarys I support have that as well, the song Anything you can do I can do better springs to mind for some reason Anyway, I do use NetSupport Manager though to help support and do some tasks but thats it, NSM, Group Policys, RIS for Installation and thats it.

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

    I have no probs with vanilla, but like i said how many RM related problems do you get on this forum if any. I have not ever posted a problem but have answered quite a few 2k3 probs which have been prolific on this forum.

    phantomphan: You are either gonna have to learn at a very steep angle or as you said get system which will give you the time to learn. RMCC3 is not just about RM you can do almost everything you want and adapt to your environment.

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

    We used to run Ranger Seconday here - in fact we were one of the first schools in the country to run Ranger.

    We got rid of it in favour of a vanilla config and our network is now much much better.

    I do not know much about the primary version, but I think basically it is the same.

    Of the five primary schools we have / do support here we took RM out of two of them and tiny manager out of another all of which now run Vanilla MS and the schools are moving forward much quicker than the one school who still has RM and will not get rid of it because of the amount of money they have invested in it.

    When you say you are worried the knowledge will leave with you - I think more people in the world are familiar with a vanilla set up than would be with Ranger or RM.

    Incidentally Ranger is now owned by RM so the choice may not be around forever!!!

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

    RM networks just like the others are just management interfaces strapped on top of vanilla therefore any problem that a vanilla network can suffer from so can an RM one?

    Ben

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

    Yes it is vanilla, but CC3 gives you the addtitional tools to do a lot of things you have to hack scripts for on a vanilla. I don't know exactly why we don't have as much problems as with a vanilla, but I'm just glad we don't get them

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

    Quote Originally Posted by limbo
    Of the five primary schools we have / do support here we took RM out of two of them and tiny manager out of another all of which now run Vanilla MS and the schools are moving forward much quicker than the one school who still has RM and will not get rid of it because of the amount of money they have invested in it.

    When you say you are worried the knowledge will leave with you - I think more people in the world are familiar with a vanilla set up than would be with Ranger or RM.
    Why did you take RM out of two of them? What problems were they having? My fear is that we will be in the same situation as your school which won't get rid 'cos of financial investment. And in what way are the others moving forward quicker?

    If/when I leave, I believe the school would not be able to recruit someone with much w2k3 knowledge, 'cos the post is only part time (12 h/w). With a reliable and simple Network Management System in place, someone with limited experience could take over fairly quickly.

    We are slipping towards RM at the moment, partly because no-one else in a decision making position knows anything about NMS and partly because they like the RM One all-in-one PCs #-o !!!!!! To be honest, I am going in that direction too, simply because I don't know what other alternative to suggest.

    Vanilla is not an option for me.

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