Network Management Options - advice needed
I am a school governor for a small primary school (in the UK - I am not sure if this forum is used globally or just in the UK?). The school is in desperate need improvements to it's IT infrastructure and they are somewhat lost in an unfamiliar world of technology.
They currently get some IT support from a local senior school (in the form of support from their IT technician for a handful of hours per month), but that time it short, and to be honest, they are struggling with defining their fundamental requirements at the moment and he seems to be more of a do-er rather than someone who might give strategic guidance to them.
The school currently has about 7 PCs running from an RM CC3 system. They have been given a number of extra RM PCs, and some laptops. The plan is to use the laptops on a wireless network in classrooms, and put the extra RM PCs with the other 7. RM have told them that they must upgrade to CC4 and get Win 7 on all the machines, and that the CC4 small school system won’t be sufficient if they wish to integrate the laptops onto the network.
In big picture terms , they basically need to support 20 PCs in a IT classroom, 20 laptops connected wirelessly, and 7 teacher PCs - one in each of the main classrooms.
So, my questions are:
- It seems to me that there are other, more flexible approaches to network administration (in terms of the number of users and the usable hardware and the costs) than RM. Since the school has NO technical knowledge, and their access to IT professionals is limited, what sort of system would be ideal for them, whilst minimising their costs (of course)? (clearly the transition will require a significant effort, but I am thinking of the longer term maintainability and cost of the system)
- Would it not be cheaper to just have some centrally located data storage on a non-RM server running Windows Server (potentially with some 3rd party administration software) for the user and PC management? The school could then keep the RM support contract money in the bank as a risk fund? This route would be far more upgradable in the future too?
- Are there any amazing solutions out there which the school should investigate?
Thanks for your help