I know this has probably been covered before, and I don't want to turn this into a Vanilla vs Vigilin/RM etc fight, but what are the Pros and Cons of going Vanilla as opposed to a management system?
With the tools available I don't really think there's a need to pay out for silly management systems. Small investments in a decent licensing system (EES) and MS's management system (SCCM) should do the trick for you. Set up some VM's and have a play with the trials available, it'll probably surprise you at how powerful and simple it is. We're planning to do this after successful virtual tests possibly this summer - going entirely Windows 7, with Server 2008 r2 servers running SCCM, with 2 full time techs and a digital media technician on a split site large secondary. A little prep goes a long way.
depends on your skill set really, how you can manage a network. Vanilla is cheaper and is alot easier to manage - if you need help with RM you have to call them up and get a ticket for them to help you and usually you have to wait - Vanilla you help yourself lol I'd save yourself the headache and the money and go with Vanilla. You have more control over Vanilla, use what programs you want and choose which management programs you want.
Management Systems or Overlays are still a sensible option for those institutions that do not have the resources or inclination to engage or develop an in house IT department.
I have seen many cases where a school has invested thousands in a controlled system only to later engage a capable IT Professional who's sole objective is to remove it!
CSE, Viglen and RM are designed to keep the user locked in to their respective vendors where possible which in itself is not an issue but more of a business strategy.
These networks can be easily managed centrally without the requirements for expensive on site technical teams and are still the preferred method of some control freaked local authorities.
The advantages on the surface are few...
Requires fewer, less skilled IT orientated staff.
A common model/template provides a simple low cost deployment for the vendor whom then has a controlling influence over the subscriber.
Better suited to schools that can work easily within the one size fits all IT framework where change needs to be controlled and the network refreshes can be afforded in regular 4/5 year life cycles.
Useful when the school cant justify or doesn't want to bear the cost of a highly skilled technician on staff.
Well suited to primary and junior schools that are happy to live with a fixed cost over a given term.
I think that most secondary and higher institutions will agree that the huge differences in Technology requirements from school to school means that the one size fits all approach is impractical and for the majority unworkable, the great BSF IT debate of the last few years says it all.
I say the same thing time and time again, there is not a single business that I know of that has 1200 users sharing 300 PC's, educational computing especially in current times is a far more skilled job than many corporate systems realise.
You need to be able to adapt and change quickly to embrace these rapidly evolving technologies into the educational sector and I'm afraid that this is not easily done when the underlying infrastructure is locked down by a specific vendor.
A vanilla architecture allows the school to draw from an ever increasing pool of talented people and open systems and to put all of your eggs into one basket and limit scope for development seems short sighted and counter productive.
To coin a phrase, "Where do you want to go today" is always an option with a vanilla system, with a management overlay it's always "back to where I was yesterday".
Hey, but that's how some people prefer it to be!
mcnallyfc (4th May 2011)
Thanks for your replies Guys, food for thought.
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