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Network and Classroom Management Thread, RM CC4 Anywhere or Vanilla (Windows Only) Network in Technical; Hi Guys, We are just about to go through a BSF Build we have 1.5 million to spend on ICT ...
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    RM CC4 Anywhere or Vanilla (Windows Only) Network

    Hi Guys,

    We are just about to go through a BSF Build we have 1.5 million to spend on ICT. The supplier is RM. We are attempting to get the best for the school, and as and IT Department (we are not teacher we are technicians) we would like to see a Vinilla network. As most other schools in the UK we have had our dudget cut, and I don't think we could continue to afford the RM Kit and the Licecnce costs.

    We currently have CC3 and where we can't afford RM'S computers that have a heigh enough spec to run the application we use we have start6ed to buy Second had machines which have been installed fine. We only have basic support with RM and find that some application are not supported or just wont install on our network. What I would realy like to know is what people think about going vinilla? Leaving RM wile we have the chance

    Also i would like to know what people think of RM CC4 Anywhere? and what people have done/use with a vinilla network.

    Just realy interested in people throughts on this realy!

    Thanks for any feedback on this would be helpfull.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    Simple answer, leave RM and go with Vanilla - you can build the Network how you want it.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I would firstly invest heavily in grammar and spelling classes (I am dyslexic and I found your spelling and grammar too difficult to understand - the mrs had to read it and tell me what it was about).

    Go for a Vanilla network. RM CC4 Anywhere is good, but I would look at a lightweight product if you want to view the machines (VNC or iTalc will do the job fine), or something like Impero (this is where @russdev can help). I would also look at a good filtering system as well. With 1.5mil you could redo an entire schools infrastructure and PCs and have money to spare, even if it is with RM!!

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @thomaspark:

    It's entirely your decision is it not?

    You already have CC3 so it will be the cost of an upgrade license for your clients, how many do you have?

    As for your servers you can go down the virtual route now with your servers being 2008R2, a good friend of mine and a fellow edugeeker has gone down this route his addy is @Sylv3r he will give you the costings for his school which is quite a large RC secondary.

    As for your client machines, well you don't have to purchase them from RM as you get a perfectly decent spec unit with TFT monitor hard glass for around 395 with a 5 year warranty to boot.

    We only purchased the software from RM and commissioned the servers ourselves through a third party the only hardware we purchased from RM was the NAS box, LT04 auto loader and a Hitachi 6Tb SAN for user storage and all this came at cost price which saved us a fortune.

    You will still have to purchase the licenses for your Vanilla network Servers and clients which will cost so the choice is yours to make.

    I did look at the costings of both and you will be surprised that the RM coatings came out cheaper for us and since we migrated to the CC4 platform with Windows 7 clients we have not looked back it has been excellent.

    if you need any more info just PM me or @Sylv3r
    Last edited by bossman; 12th August 2011 at 09:45 PM.

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    Chris_ (14th August 2011)

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    Steven_Cleaver's Avatar
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    Vanilla with some software tools on top to make managing a large network easier, heres what I would suggest.

    Windows 2008 R2 Virtualised Server infrastructure ( Citrix Xen Server Virtualisation (Free upto certain extent)) one Physical server.

    WDS for imaging machines. (Free)

    WSUS for Windows updates. (Free)

    Burconix BCX Network Management Tools and PRISM Application, Printer,Shortcut, and Desksop deployment, User and computer management etc. (Very reasonable for all its functionality.)

    ABTutor for various remote control of PC's Internet, shutdown, policies and more. (Very reasonably priced)

    Papercut for managing printer credits generating reports etc. (Very reasonably priced)

    Home Access Plus for remote access to douments for users (Free)

    Anything else give me a shout.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    For the most part I would agree with @Steven_Cleaver however instead of WDS and WSUS, I would use SCOM and SCCM combined as it is much more powerful than WDS and WSUS

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    Steven_Cleaver (13th August 2011)

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    Steven_Cleaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    For the most part I would agree with @Steven_Cleaver however instead of WDS and WSUS, I would use SCOM and SCCM combined as it is much more powerful than WDS and WSUS
    Thanks Nephilim I might give SCOM and SCCM a look now I have a bit of time over the Summer.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    Another vote for vanilla. I wouldn't work on another RM network if you tripled my wage!

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    We only have basic support with RM and find that some application are not supported or just wont install on our network.
    I've often thought that most people on these forums are probably MCP/MCSA/MCSE trained and RM networks in my experience accomplish managing the network slightly differently to a standard vanilla network. If you have the skills and knowledge as an individual or team of people to configure/setup a Domain Controller along with Active Directory and Group Policy, then you're well on your way to managing the network yourself. There is always 'some' learning curve with any new network, but clearly you're unsatisfied with RM's offering and so I also would recommend a vanilla setup.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Michael:

    You are right in your assumptions that most people on this forum are Microsoft trained and yes RM managment software does integrate with the Vanilla installation but in the same way as other management software does i.e. Impero, Ranger, CSE, etc.

    The RM management system is usually a little behind the latest Microsoft technology but still utilises the basics, AD, DHCP, DNS, WSUS and WDS, as for those people who have had problems using it then all I can say is that you haven't got the infrastructure nor the installation setup correctly.

    I would have gone down the Vanilla route myself had it offered me anything different by way of managing the school network any better or quicker for that matter and also the cost was a factor which I have mentioned in other posts.

    @thomaspark: All we can do is give you the constructive benefit of our experiences so you can make the choice. You have already said that you would prefer to go down the Vanilla route so what has made you change your view and ask the question?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    You are right in your assumptions that most people on this forum are Microsoft trained and yes RM managment software does integrate with the Vanilla installation but in the same way as other management software does i.e. Impero, Ranger, CSE, etc.
    The thing is if I paid my hard earned cash becoming RM or Ranger qualified, this would never apply to a business environment. Also in my experience, immediate cost and future costs are extremely important to any customer. As soon as you mention to a school you'll save x amount without additional RM or Ranger client licenses, it's pretty much a done deal.

    I personally do not see what advantages an RM, Ranger or WinSuite network can offer a school. What can these do that a 2008 R2 vanilla network cannot do?

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    They simplify matters. And I have seen businesses (Renault motors in particular) that use Ranger.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Michael:

    Time is money in the business world and if you can cut this down then you are actually saving money for that company, the IT team can then concentrate on developing the end users experience which also helps the company make even more money by saving even more time from working smarter, not learning how to utilise apps which are difficult to use and require masses of training, these can be simplified and create even more profit for the company involved.

    With a Vanilla system there are requirements for management tools which are not always free and don't always work to the advantage of the end user.

    I have seen all kinds of management tools which on analysis have not been worth the money as the end product has not always delivered.

    If whatever system you commission develops that particular company, gives the end user the feel good factor, which in turn helps create that companies end product at a fraction of the cost then this is the required result.

    Its how this is managed strategically for future growth and development and if this is not attained then the company fails.

    Schools require stable 24/7/365 systems and this can be whatever system works best for the school in question, if schools require SLA's from external companies then this is what takes the costs higher, paying for a third party to manage your systems, why do schools pay good money for technical people then pay for SLA's from either the LA's or other third parties this is a question I often ask myself.

    I have known other schools and businesses spend absolute fortunes on systems only to change them a couple of years later at great cost because of bad technical advice.

    A school in question from our County has had 5 new systems over the past 10 years including 2 managed services and the HT and SLT are still not happy with the results.

    The answer to the initial question is:

    You design the system based around the end users needs and requirements not what the technical staff require as they can be trained to deliver whatever system is designed for that particular business whether educational or private.

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    russdev's Avatar
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    It is always a difficult choice to leave a network solution like RM however to say one is better than other is something no one can answer. As it is what solution is best for you? I always remind sales staff here at Impero you need to provide a solution that fits the problems that they are having be that a technical or financial one. Also People will argue for what they know vrs what is useful if you know Vanilla they will argue for that.

    As some else said reason people use network management tools such as Impero and alike is that they free up time and simplify matters. I think that you need to get balance of both that is where less intrusive tools than RM might be useful. However to say one way or another is better is dangerous road to go down.

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    Time is money in the business world and if you can cut this down then you are actually saving money for that company, the IT team can then concentrate on developing the end users experience which also helps the company make even more money by saving even more time from working smarter, not learning how to utilise apps which are difficult to use and require masses of training, these can be simplified and create even more profit for the company involved.
    I agree time is money, but I don't think it's very smart for a school to hire a technician and then that technician spends all day on the phone to a company like RM who then refuse to assist because the school haven't paid for technical support. It's a waste of time, money and phone calls when you have the KnowledgeBase articles at Microsoft.

    With a Vanilla system there are requirements for management tools which are not always free and don't always work to the advantage of the end user.
    Could you give an example of this?

    Schools require stable 24/7/365 systems and this can be whatever system works best for the school in question, if schools require SLA's from external companies then this is what takes the costs higher, paying for a third party to manage your systems, why do schools pay good money for technical people then pay for SLA's from either the LA's or other third parties this is a question I often ask myself.
    There are legitimate reasons why schools pay good money for technical people and to LA's. The difference being (in my above example), RM and the technical person are essentially trying to do the same thing, whereas with an LA, they typically solve problems I do not control - for example MIS upgrades, internet connectivity and/or proxy issues to name a few.

    I have known other schools and businesses spend absolute fortunes on systems only to change them a couple of years later at great cost because of bad technical advice.

    A school in question from our County has had 5 new systems over the past 10 years including 2 managed services and the HT and SLT are still not happy with the results.
    I cannot comment specifically why this has happened as I do not know what systems they have used or why, or what their goals were or are. I must make it clear however, that every vanilla network I support is slightly different from the other because I listen to their requirements and working with staff, I deliver what they require. I don't use any 'special' third party tools.

    You design the system based around the end users needs and requirements not what the technical staff require as they can be trained to deliver whatever system is designed for that particular business whether educational or private.
    I don't fully agree with this. Primarily what the end users requirements are is most important and what technical staff want is also important. This thread started because thomaspark is using RM CC3 and clearly despite having a service agreement, it hasn't worked out quite to the schools needs. If a software application doesn't run and the staff and pupils need it, this really isn't smart at all and quite rightly he's decided to ask other people's opinions. If you're expected to manage a network then it makes good sense that you're using tools you're most familiar with

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