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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Burconix - BCX Management Tools in Technical; I have used CSE at two schools for some years and to be honest it was reasonable it could be ...
  1. #16
    Steven_Cleaver's Avatar
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    I have used CSE at two schools for some years and to be honest it was reasonable it could be a bit sluggish on older PC's the back end Database getting corrupt at times, I had some major issues when I converted to the .Net version but I was one of the very early schools and in the end reverted back to the older version and as someone has mentioned the Recovery Manager tool was very good although we now use Shadow Copy. I have now moved to the BCX tools at my previous school and my present one as I have found these tools much better and never looked back, no performance issues much stabler and any minor issues resolved extremely quickly (Excellent Support) I have also looked at BCX's version two of the tools and even these have improved adding extra functionality so will be moving to version 2 over Easter.

    To be totally honest I have used RM, CSE and Burconix BCX as well as Vanilla and prefer BCX as they give me a set of tools that are easy to use reliable and that don't effect performance. By using a set of tools instead of Vanilla it just gives me more time to develop other things within the school as rolling out applications, shortcuts, printers and rebuilding machines is done with ease using these tools, built on top of the Microsoft technologies and working with these seamlessly which I don't feel is the case with CSE or RM's tools.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    One thing I didn't quite understand in my demo of BCX (and it was only after they'd left that I realised how little I understood it!) was the "tasks" which you create to allocate applications and shortcuts. Let's imagine I want to allocate an application to the IT Suite, Library, Science classrooms with shortcuts which only appear for GCSE students and Science teachers - what would be involved in doing that? My recollection is that this would be quite a mission with BCX...

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    Steven_Cleaver's Avatar
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    If say the computers and users are in groups (OU's) then you simply select the Application or shortcut click in the right hand side and add these groups of stations so say IT Suite, Science Classrooms etc, then select the group of users the same. If not in groups you can multi select the users and computers. To be honest takes a few second if using groups and a minute or two if that if you have to multi select.

  4. Thanks to Steven_Cleaver from:

    enjay (29th March 2011)

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Thanks Steven. I would then repeat that process for each of my other 100+ applications, right? Okay, that's slightly more straightforward than I thought.

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    With the groups of users, could I do it to "Year 10 Students" and have that setting automatically apply to next year's Year 10, or would it apply to the students by name once I'd selected the OU group which contains them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    @powdarrmonkey - how recent is your experience with CSE?
    About 18 months, IIRC.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    One thing I didn't quite understand in my demo of BCX (and it was only after they'd left that I realised how little I understood it!) was the "tasks" which you create to allocate applications and shortcuts. Let's imagine I want to allocate an application to the IT Suite, Library, Science classrooms with shortcuts which only appear for GCSE students and Science teachers - what would be involved in doing that? My recollection is that this would be quite a mission with BCX...
    You:
    - create or import the shortcuts
    - import the associated packages, and associate them
    - choose to deploy to specified users on specified machines (by OU, group, individual object or a combination of these)
    - make coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Thanks Steven. I would then repeat that process for each of my other 100+ applications, right? Okay, that's slightly more straightforward than I thought.
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    With the groups of users, could I do it to "Year 10 Students" and have that setting automatically apply to next year's Year 10, or would it apply to the students by name once I'd selected the OU group which contains them?
    OU/group memberships are calculated at logon. If you change the members of an OU in Active Directory, the resulting shortcut/printer/wallpaper settings are applied at next logon.

  8. Thanks to powdarrmonkey from:

    enjay (29th March 2011)

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    We use CSE, was in place well before I got here. It has its issues, but generally has been good for us.

    We migrated over to Windows 7 last year, and we sat down and seriously looked at going Vanilla because of a few issues we were having. However, we worked with CSE to resolve some issues, and looked at what it does for us and what it would cost to do those same things with other products. In the end we've stuck with CSE. We did however ditch the Workspace Explorer bit as you can use the Network Toolkit to build your own start menus so the users get a proper Windows Desktop Experience that we can centrally manage.

    For us, the pros are this:

    1. As mentioned above, we can build start menus based on type of user logged on and machine group (or individual). For example, a SIMS Icon is accessible to Staff whereas it isn't for Students.
    2. You can control licencing of apps as well, so it can track how many copies of a particular app is running and make sure you don't go over your licence count.
    3. Printer deployment, again can be based on user type and location.
    4. Application Deployment; as mentioned it uses the Prism Suite which works I would say 9 times out of 10. We've had a few issues with it, but generally we prepare our packages on freshly imaged machines (with no AV, etc) and test, test and test them again. I'm finding on Windows 7 we do have to edit the package manually to ensure nothing goes down that will upset other models. Ones that don't work we look at alternatives way to deploy. If we re-image a machine, we just leave it a lone for a couple of hours and all the necessary software will just get redeployed automatically.
    5. Recovery Manager - I can't really say valuable this is! Uses a form of Shadow Copying; tracks changes that students make to files and dumps them to another server (we've located ours away from the main server as a form of disk backup of home drives) and students can use the CSE Recovery Manager to preview and restore previous versions of a particular file.

    You also get a fully FITS compliant help desk as part of the package now (I believe). We've been looking at it but haven't implemented yet due to time contraints, but it does look good and they now use it themselves for support calls.

    The user manager tool is also a useful additional for creating multiple users, which can all be based on templates.

    Certain elements we don't use because we've had issues with, these being their Room & Asset Booking as we prefer the Devizes Booking System - however a big update is apparently forthcoming with this so we will keep an eye on it. Presentation Manager we find a bit flaky, so don't really use it anyway (prefer Xibo). Start and Shutdown tools are useful (can be scheduled), but again we don't really use them as we tend to use Impero for that sort of thing.

    I have to be fair, its not perfect; there are a few bugs, but it does a good job overall for us. Issues we've had are dealt with, but I do find the development and bug fixes a little slow forthcoming. I do however have a good relationship with their Engineers and our Account Manager which I do use to my advantage; It is handy having the backup of a company that has a team of highly knowledgable and qualified engineers. I know if I've got an issue with my servers as a whole they will offer guidance and help.

    Just want to address the balance of this thread a little. I know there are other tools out there that could do the same job, but its like have different models of cars; they all get you from A to B.

    Pete

  10. 2 Thanks to FragglePete:

    enjay (29th March 2011), Steven_Cleaver (30th March 2011)

  11. #23
    Steven_Cleaver's Avatar
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    You would need to repeat the process for the 100 Apps to be honest we had 480 (Apps, Shortcuts. etc) at my last place but just had Burconix on a couple of machines moved the Apps before we fully moved over we moved a few over as we went along if that makes sense, but to be honest Burconix might have a better way of doing it, obviously a bit of work but once this is done it is easy to add in new Apps shortcuts etc.But I don't know your current setup, I have tackled this two ways to completely move last place I had the summer and knew my setup really well and(moved from CSE) been their a few years so re-imaged all my machines re-deployed all the Apps with Burconix's help the reason I did this is so the machines were clean and was worried as regards issues with left over CSE components on machines.Current job didn't have as much time or have as much knowledge of their infrastructure applications etc. and it was Vanilla so created images of various machine types with Burconix help but just deployed their software and am only re-imaging machines where required, which is only occasionally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    With the groups of users, could I do it to "Year 10 Students" and have that setting automatically apply to next year's Year 10, or would it apply to the students by name once I'd selected the OU group which contains them?
    As Powdarmonkey has said would depend on OU Memberships.

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    Thanks guys, really helpful.

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