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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Moving from CC3 to Vanilla..... in Technical; Hi all I have read all the debates on here and whilst it has provided excellent information I dont want ...
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    Moving from CC3 to Vanilla.....

    Hi all

    I have read all the debates on here and whilst it has provided excellent information I dont want to go down the which is better route. Instead im after information from those who have moved from CC3 to a Vanilla setup.

    I have inherited a network manager and a CC3 network for 400 desktops at a secondary school and they want me to investigate the possibility of upgrading this to Vanilla over the next year. I have no experience dealing with a RM network and instead come from a Vanilla background. I also dont start until next month but wanted to do some research beforehand to try to get up to speed with how big the task is. I have met the network manager who seems very clued up and a nice guy so will utilise him a lot and get his feedback as well but have seen how many people here have gone CC3 to Vanilla so want to utilise this knowledge.

    To maximise the upgrade im looking at also upgrading desktops to Windows 7 from the existing XP setup, and my initial thoughts are to go down the Windows Server 2003/2008, AD, DHCP & DNS Server, an ISA server and also SCCM to manage the desktops/software deployment etc. Utilising MDT 2010 for custom OS creation and deployment using PXE server. Also looking at Symantec Endpoint as a Virus/malware solution.

    Has anyone previously gone down a similar route? What new hardware/software did you use for the server setups? How did the process go? would you change anything? what security measures in addition to standard Server security permissions were introduced? etc etc.

    Im particularly after any specific plans with regards to the schedule of the upgrade - testing done, information regarding the migration of the existing RM server AD info etc to the new servers that kind of thing. Forgive me if im appearing to want to be spoon fed but with limited knowledge of RM networks im just trying to get my head around the upgrade path.

    As for the potential new servers - is it worth implementing 2008 R2 over say 2003? It would be an ideal oppurtunity to embrace the new OS' and with Windows 7 id like to provide a more future proof solution. But im also aware of some of the functionalities/software provided on current RM servers may not be available on 2008?

    Im also very keen to introduce a new backup procedure, currently tapes are used but capacity is getting full and so when the new network is up and running (or maybe before) id like to have a new more efficient backup in place and am looking at SAN or NAS setups. Id love to hear of other people's backup strategy and systems they have in place.

    Sorry for the long post!
    Thanks
    Mc

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    maark's Avatar
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    Hi,
    have not gone to windows 7 but have previously gone from cc3 to xp - with help of consultants who botched it and left it to me to sort out!
    Main advice - forget RM active directory and start afresh - there are bound to be things in there customised by RM which will cause problems. You can still base your new AD around the same OU's and layout if you want but just create your own.
    Time scale is difficult - depends on your experience - it is really a summer job - so looks like you may be too late for this year.
    Also windows 7 - you really need server 2008 R2 - but look at the posts on here - some schools have it working but a lot are holding off still - there are quite a few things to iron out regarding printers, backgrounds, profiles etc.
    Good luck :-)

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    mcnallyfc (22nd July 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by maark View Post
    Hi,
    have not gone to windows 7 but have previously gone from cc3 to xp - with help of consultants who botched it and left it to me to sort out!
    Main advice - forget RM active directory and start afresh - there are bound to be things in there customised by RM which will cause problems. You can still base your new AD around the same OU's and layout if you want but just create your own.
    Time scale is difficult - depends on your experience - it is really a summer job - so looks like you may be too late for this year.
    Also windows 7 - you really need server 2008 R2 - but look at the posts on here - some schools have it working but a lot are holding off still - there are quite a few things to iron out regarding printers, backgrounds, profiles etc.
    Good luck :-)
    Thanks for the info

    Windows 7 would be ideal but will look more into the issues schools have had with it, most important part is getting the servers up and running if we do go vanilla.

    What is your server setup? how many do you have? how did you find the moving from CC3 to Vanilla was it worth it?

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    maark's Avatar
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    Am in a different school now - so server setup different - got about 14 servers as school is bigger - but moving these over to virtual using MS hyper V. Depends on your budget - virtual servers are best if you are getting new servers - either a SAN if you have plenty of money or i am using 2 dell R710 rack servers. You can probably wipe and re-use the old RM servers - you have to be careful about what data needs saving e.g. home folders, shared stuff, mail.
    Definitely worth going to a vanilla sytsem - not only cost savings but control over what you are doing as you have experience of vanilla. RM CC3 works ok but you can do everything yourself on vanilla if you have knowledge. Also means you can go to windows 7 when you are ready without shelling out for CC4 which has had teething issues.

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    Are you going to be the line manager for the NM?

    A couple of things to look at as you go along.
    1 - many school use middleware (RM CC3/4, CSE, Classlink, etc) to reduce teh amount of technical work which is needed ... reducing the amount of technician time and the need to employ more support staff. Some schools will use it to release some of the support staff to do more hands-on work in the classroom or development (resources and materials for lessons, systems dev, etc). You need to find out whether either of these apply to your new school. You may find that you are saving money in one area but losing it elsewhere.
    2 - Sit down and look at all the features you get with your middleware. Make sure that if you are moving to a vanilla system that you can cover every feature if needed. You can guarantee that the one you miss of is the one someone makes a big fuss over.
    3 - Where possible set up the new system side by side with the old one so you can train people on the new look and feel (I know and you know that there is not much difference .. but people will want training and some will *need* training).
    4 - Make sure that all the software you presently run is happy on a vanilla system with the versions you have already paid for.
    5 - When it comes to Windows 7 you have 2 choices. You can go for a step change ... get people used to a vanilla system on XP which will be pretty similar to CC3 ... and it might even have some performance improvements since it no longer has the client on the machines too ... giving you a chance to take stock of the system to make sure that the school and the support team (is it a team or just the NM?) can handle the increase in work (if there is any) and then do more training to move staff onto windows 7 later ... or you can bite the bullet and work on windows 7 now, accepting that it will be a larger jump and could be a bit too much. it will depend on the staff at the school and how much thy rely on technology. The students will need support too, but they are more likely to cope with the change IME.

    HTH

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    mcnallyfc (22nd July 2010)

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    Maark - Virtual Servers are a high priority - definately would look to introduce them into the new setup but does depend on budget constraints.

    Thanks for your help

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Are you going to be the line manager for the NM?

    A couple of things to look at as you go along.
    1 - many school use middleware (RM CC3/4, CSE, Classlink, etc) to reduce teh amount of technical work which is needed ... reducing the amount of technician time and the need to employ more support staff. Some schools will use it to release some of the support staff to do more hands-on work in the classroom or development (resources and materials for lessons, systems dev, etc). You need to find out whether either of these apply to your new school. You may find that you are saving money in one area but losing it elsewhere.
    2 - Sit down and look at all the features you get with your middleware. Make sure that if you are moving to a vanilla system that you can cover every feature if needed. You can guarantee that the one you miss of is the one someone makes a big fuss over.
    3 - Where possible set up the new system side by side with the old one so you can train people on the new look and feel (I know and you know that there is not much difference .. but people will want training and some will *need* training).
    4 - Make sure that all the software you presently run is happy on a vanilla system with the versions you have already paid for.
    5 - When it comes to Windows 7 you have 2 choices. You can go for a step change ... get people used to a vanilla system on XP which will be pretty similar to CC3 ... and it might even have some performance improvements since it no longer has the client on the machines too ... giving you a chance to take stock of the system to make sure that the school and the support team (is it a team or just the NM?) can handle the increase in work (if there is any) and then do more training to move staff onto windows 7 later ... or you can bite the bullet and work on windows 7 now, accepting that it will be a larger jump and could be a bit too much. it will depend on the staff at the school and how much thy rely on technology. The students will need support too, but they are more likely to cope with the change IME.

    HTH
    Yes ill be their LM

    Thats great info thanks - points 2 and 4 are key here, i need to work out what the school uses in CC3 and find out if Vanilla setup can provide same or better function.

    Also you make a good point about Windows 7 - possibility of going to Vanilla and W7 may be a jump too far but again ill have to meet those who will be affected by it.

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    IMHO there should be no real problems migrating from CC3 to Vanilla, (RM Connect 2.4 was a bit of a nightmare but that was based on Microsoft NT Server which was always a pain to migrate to 2003 anyway) Most of the technician friendly tools can be replaced with off the self solutions if you need to provide them but I would look at investing in training for your technicians if that is a requirement to run a vanilla network.

    I would start by introducing a new 2008 DC and create a new domain and OU structure. Some of the RM tools trigger scripts so I would also block all RM GPOs and start from a blank canvas. It is pretty straight forward.

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    mcnallyfc (22nd July 2010)

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    Two angles I'd be looking to take.

    Ask upwards why they want to make this change. (I'm not looking for people to say 'because RM sucks' etc, I imagine SLT have a reason, finances perhaps (likely with talk of a CC4 upgrade), limitations of the solution etc)

    Ask the NM how he feels about it afterall he'll be managing it day to day.

    What's your role? (IE, is it fully technical or strategic?)
    Last edited by kmount; 22nd July 2010 at 11:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djm968 View Post
    IMHO there should be no real problems migrating from CC3 to Vanilla, (RM Connect 2.4 was a bit of a nightmare but that was based on Microsoft NT Server which was always a pain to migrate to 2003 anyway) Most of the technician friendly tools can be replaced with off the self solutions if you need to provide them but I would look at investing in training for your technicians if that is a requirement to run a vanilla network.

    I would start by introducing a new 2008 DC and create a new domain and OU structure. Some of the RM tools trigger scripts so I would also block all RM GPOs and start from a blank canvas. It is pretty straight forward.
    Thanks for info - thats what i think i would do, create new 2008 DC, try to replicate the OU structure and setup a few test desktop clients for testing etc.

    As for actual migration, like maark mentioned above would the RM AD structure easily move across or cause issues? It is just Win2k3 Server underneath so would hope the process wouldnt be that hard?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmount View Post
    Two angles I'd be looking to take.

    Ask upwards why they want to make this change. (I'm not looking for people to say 'because RM sucks' etc, I imagine SLT have a reason, finances perhaps (likely with talk of a CC4 upgrade), limitations of the solution etc)

    Ask the NM how he feels about it afterall he'll be managing it day to day.

    What's your role? (IE, is it fully technical or strategic?)
    Hi kmount

    Spot on with reasoning why they looking at change, firstly there was the XP support issue in CC3 (although slightly abated now with Microsoft's XP downgrade announcement) but other reasons included the tightening of finances (sure they probably fainted with CC4 upgrade costs) and also the limitations of the solution as you mentioned.

    The NM will be extremely important for me, first thing i will be doing is sitting down with him and going through the entire system and getting his input into it. Like you said he will be the first point of call supporting this so need to make sure he on board with it all. Assuming he is then ill be pushing for training to add to his existing knowledge.

    My role will be a bit of both, strategic and technical. I'd like to be as hands on as possible especially in the design and setting up of the network but will also be required to plan other projects as well.

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    kmount (22nd July 2010)

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    Sounds like an interesting role and I'm sure with the way you're thinking at the moment the NM will be thoroughly well involved and utilised. Get him on Edugeek

    Good luck with the developments, there's a wealth of knowledge on this forum and every single person counts in the contributions both ways.

    Cheers,

    Kim

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    mcnallyfc (23rd July 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnallyfc View Post
    As for actual migration, like maark mentioned above would the RM AD structure easily move across or cause issues? It is just Win2k3 Server underneath so would hope the process wouldnt be that hard?
    The RM OU structure should move across fine and you will be probably be surprised how easy the process is. In my experience It’s often the internal politics of the migration for the client that can be the most difficult to iron out not the client devices!

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    We're also considering this, we were planning on moving to CC4 but that looks like it isnt going to happen now.
    I'm from a vanilla background and as much as i love some of the RM features (printer/software deployment, outlook profiles, etc) i think it'll be doable without RM.

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    Great help so far but now looking for more info with regards to network setup specific to Vanilla. How have people got theirs setup? and how long did the process of change take from CC3/4 to Vanilla?

    The setup I have been looking at is as follows:

    2 x DC's with AD, DNS & DHCP with split scopes
    ISA/FTMG Server for filtering/security
    Radius Server for Wireless Authentification (behind ISA/FTMG server)
    File Server
    Print Server
    Apps Server (Sims etc)
    SCCM Server (to inc WSUS, and act as Deployment Server - MDT 2010)
    AV Management

    Exchange is not needed, and am also tempted by adding DPM server as part of backup solution but have never used it before.

    Interested in any similar setups especially if running Virtualised servers as would like to know what are run virtually and how that is going.
    Last edited by mcnallyfc; 23rd July 2010 at 12:21 PM.

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    Your Server list looks fine.

    Which Server(s) you run virtually will, to a certain extent be dictated by the specification of the physical hardware and choice of hypervisor deployed.
    I have worked with Academies that have fully populated c7000 blade enclosures deployed and run their entire server farm virtually and other schools who have chosen a more phased approach.

    One Major advantage as far as your setup goes is that Exchange is not required.
    Last edited by djm968; 23rd July 2010 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Update

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